The Berlin University Alliance and the University of Oxford are taking forward their research partnership with the establishment of a Centre for Advanced Studies.
The Centre for Advanced Studies funds cooperating groups consisting of up to ten fellows working together. These cooperating groups are to conduct research on topics relating to the Berlin University Alliance’s Grand Challenge Initiatives. The Grand Challenge Initiatives will be examining particularly relevant global challenges, such as the current issues of global health and social cohesion. The Centre is funded under the Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the Länder by the Berlin University Alliance and improves the parameters for making Oxford/Berlin collaborative research partnership more flexible from an organizational point of view and strengthening the exchange of expertise across national borders.
“I am delighted to see how the cooperation between Berlin and Oxford has grown and evolved in recent years and how researchers are working together to take on the big issues of our time, such as social cohesion and global health,” said Governing Mayor and Senator for Higher Education and Research Michael Müller. “Both Berlin and Oxford are centers of science and research, and they are retaining their close ties regardless of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. Their strong relationship makes an important contribution to German-British cooperation. By the Oxford/Berlin partnership, we are bolstering our city as an international research hub.”
The cooperating groups will collaborate on an interdisciplinary basis and develop joint research ideas. The first group will be starting as a virtual group in 2020 and will focus on questions related to social cohesion. There are plans for a total of three cooperation groups for which the Berlin University Alliance will provide up to 300,000 euros each. The funding is intended to provide financial support for fellows of the centre and their research, as well as to enable summer schools and final conferences. The format is intended to provide maximum organizational flexibility for each cooperation, the structure of which can be chosen by the collaborating groups themselves. Flexible funding opportunities should also promote mobility for researchers and graduate students from Berlin and Oxford working on joint projects.
Prof. Dr. Günter M. Ziegler, President of Freie Universität Berlin and spokesperson for the Berlin University Alliance, highlighted: “Oxford and Berlin are a better match than it might seem at first glance: in top research, diversity of subjects, infrastructure of museums and collections, and at both universities, many outstanding researchers full of enthusiasm for collaborative work and creative exchange – in short, a ‘match made in heaven’. I am pleased that the Oxford/Berlin partnership is now taking this next big step towards long-term cooperation.”
“Oxford University has always valued its status as an international university and, now – possibly more than ever before – we must reaffirm the importance of maintaining international links between academics, researchers and students,” said Prof. Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. “Oxford’s partnership with the Berlin University Alliance has already delivered important advances in research and scholarship, and the formation of a Centre for Advanced Studies promises to achieve much more.”