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FRIAS is Promoting Networks of Young Academies

Young Academies offer first interdisciplinary work opportunities to Early Career Researchers. FRIAS is committed to helping Young Academies further extend their networks and establish themselves in the research landscape.

The Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) is intensifying its efforts to encourage networks between researchers in the early stages of their careers (Early Career Researchers). One such effort includes the promotion of Young Academies and their diverse national and international ties. Young Academies are interdisciplinary networks that focus primarily on the promotion and support of PostDocs. They generally provide a platform through which Early Career Researchers can learn from each other and receive funding to set up joint research projects.

"Societal challenges are becoming more complex and require researchers to bring together the perspectives of different disciplines - a challenging undertaking that necessitates new ideas and formats," says FRIAS Director Ralf von den Hoff. "Young Academies help researchers to network with each other at an early stage of their careers and to learn not only to think outside the box, but also to develop new cross-disciplinary ways of thinking and common languages."

There are currently around 15 Young Academies in Germany, employing around 300 people in the scientific and administrative fields. The Young Academy for Sustainability Research (YAS), the world's first Young Academy in the field of sustainability research, was launched at FRIAS in 2021. The YAS is funded by the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation, which recently extended the YAS funding period for another three years until 2027.

In the second funding phase, the YAS wants to contribute to stronger international cooperation. Based on a strategic partnership between the University of Freiburg and Nagoya University, representatives and members of the YAS and Tokai Pathways to Global Excellence (T-GEx), a Nagoya-based research hub that brings together Early Career Researchers and political and economic representatives, met in February 2024 for the workshop "Overlapping crises and pathways to solutions". You can read the report on the workshop here. In the next funding phase of the YAS, two researchers from Nagoya University will be welcomed as associate members of the YAS. "The visit to Nagoya has shown how enriching it is to bring different disciplinary and national perspectives on global challenges into conversation with one another," says Dr. Michael Vollstädt, coordinator of the YAS. "I am therefore delighted to be able to continue this dialog during the research meetings at the YAS."


Coordinators of the Young Academies visiting FRIAS (left to right: Georg Wolff, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities; Katharina Welling, Johanna Quandt Young Academy at the Goethe University Frankfurt; Benjamin Schönfeld, Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities; Aglaia Schieke, Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz; Michael Vollstädt, YAS; Peter Finger, Young Academy TUM)

Through the YAS, FRIAS is also involved in the networking of the Young Academies in Germany, whose coordinators met for the seventh time in February 2024. "The Young Academies' networking efforts are starting to bear fruit," says Vollstädt, host of the most recent meeting at FRIAS. "You can sense the potential that is unleashed when the Academies collaborate with each other rather than each Academy working on its own." At the Freiburg meeting, the focus was on how former members of Young Academies can stay connected with each other in alumni networks and how Early Career Researchers can be supported in the field of science communication.

[published on 28.02.2024]