A German Chancellor Fellowship goes to Kleve: Science Communication Research in Russia

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences will act as host institution as part of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s international fellowship programme for future leaders.

Kleve/Kamp-Lintfort, 22 July 2016: Dr Alexandra Borisova, Editor-in-Chief for the science channel of the Russian news agency TASS, was recently awarded a prestigious German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to investigate the relationship between science and society in Russia.

Dr Borisova’s research marks the first substantial investigative studies into this area worldwide. From October of this year, Dr Borisova, who holds a PhD in Chemistry, will be mentored in her research by Alexander Gerber, Professor of Science Communication and the head of the undergraduate degree programme “Science Communication & Bionics” at the Faculty of Technology and Bionics.

“I'm very excited to contribute my professional experience gained in Russia as scientist, science journalist and science communicator to the high-level team of Professor Gerber. I believe that together we broaden the expertise in the field and will be able to put Russia on the map of science communication in Europe, coming up with a viable strategies which will help Russian science to find its way into the fruitful international collaboration,” said Dr Borisova regarding her German Chancellor Fellowship and future collaboration with Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences.

Professor Gerber, who is increasingly active in Russia and is currently supporting the establishment of the first Science Communication degree programme in the country, has experienced on numerous occasions the invigorated spirit emerging in the field of public communication of science and technology in Russia: “The role of academia in Russian society is without a doubt a very sensitive subject politically, particularly where press and research freedom are concerned. Our joint research efforts with Dr Borisova will be, in many ways, pioneering work with the potential to have a lasting impact on the Russian research policy landscape.”

Professor Gerber, who in April was elected to the governing body of the International Network for the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), recently welcomed to Rhine-Waal University three guest researchers from China and a doctoral candidate from Mexico. In mid-July he also welcomed some 50 international participants to the first Science Communication Summer School in Kleve. “It’s fascinating to see how the unique, international selling point of our University is able to draw experts from all over the world to the beautiful Lower Rhine region. In terms of our research and teaching, this provides us with a uniquely comparative, systemic and transcultural perspective towards our field,” said Gerber.

Each year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awards German Chancellor Fellowships to 50 talented researchers from Brazil, China, India, Russia and the United States, so that they can spend a year conducting collaborative research in Germany on a self-proposed project.

The Fellowship, which is awarded under the patronage of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, is intended to provide young, highly qualified researchers from these countries with the opportunity to forge lasting relationships between their home country and Germany on the basis of amicable contacts and personal experience. Each year, a new group of German Chancellor Fellows are afforded the chance to implement a project of their own design at a host institution in Germany while also intimately acquainting themselves with current social, political, cultural, economic and historic realities of Germany through a series of joint programme events.

“We are currently hosting two guest researchers as ‘Humboldtians’ at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences: Professor Dr Kamal El-Siddig (Sudan) and Dr Romaric Vihotogbé (Benin),” said Professor Dr habil. Jens Gebauer, Humboldt Coordinator and Vice-President for Research and Outreach at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences. “I’m very excited to soon welcome Dr Alexandra Borisova as our third Humboldtian.”