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Thematic Tables

The Thematic Tables will be hosted by organizations/foundations and are intended to bring together participants for networking and for an informed discussion on a specific topic. The tables will take place during the extended lunch break on the first day of the conference. The outcome of the tables will be used in the further course of the conference and will feed into the closing session.

How can big science contribute to capacity building in economically less developed countries?

Research infrastructures are important knowledge hubs that offer strong opportunities for scientific communities. Through scientific and technological advancements, they contribute to pressing solutions of our societies and have strong impacts on the socio-economic developments. However, almost all research facilities are concentrated in economically well-developed regions of the world. The synchrotron radiation source SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East), located in Jordan, represents a most notable exception, and another facility under planning is the African Light Source (AfLS), which is being designed to drive science, innovation and technologies for the regional needs in Africa. In this thematic table we discuss how research infrastructures could better contribute to capacity-building in economically less developed countries and how a transatlantic partnership could help to foster these developments.

Co-Host: Rolf-Dieter Heuer SESAME
Co-Host: Sekazi K. Mtingwa AfLS (African Light Source)
International Benchmarking in Basic Energy Science

Recently, the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC), on behalf of the DOE, published the report “Can the U.S. compete in Basic Energy Sciences?”. The report focuses on five forward-looking critical areas in which other nations are investing heavily and are constructing and upgrading facilities. These comprise Quantum Information Science, Science for Energy Applications, Matter for Energy and Information, Industrially-relevant Science for Sustainability and Advanced Research Facilities. In order to enhance the U.S. position in comparison to its global competitors the report also recommends four broad strategies: Increase investment in basic energy sciences research; Boost support for early-career and mid-career scientists; Enhance opportunities for staff scientists at advanced research facilities, and Better integrate energy sciences research across the full spectrum. The goal of this Lunch Table is to discuss the consequences of this report for transatlantic relationships.

Host: Jürgen Mlynek Chairman of the Wilhelm und Else Heraeus Foundation
Mobility of Scientists - Challenges and Perspectives

Europe and Germany in particular maintain an intensive exchange of knowledge and people with the U.S.A. To name just a few numbers: The US are among the TOP 5 destination countries (and the first among non-European destinations) for German students going abroad. US-Students going abroad choose the UK and Canada as their top destinations, where they do not face language barriers. Germany follows directly as the third most attractive destination for study abroad. And the US are one of the five most important countries of origin for international researchers and lecturers at German universities. But the mobility of scientists is currently facing a number of challenges. And that's not just the pandemic and the current war in Ukraine. German exchange organizations such as DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation are currently being disproportionately affected by federal budget cuts. On the American side, the attractiveness of the research sector is affected, e.g. by restrictive visa regulations. Increasingly, universities are reporting difficulties in recruiting international scientists. At this lunch table we want to discuss the challenges and perspectives for mobility of scientists with experts from both sides of the Atlantic.

Host: Jörg Maxton-Küchenmeister Joachim Herz Foundation, Director Program Area Science, Hamburg, Germany
Science Diplomacy

Science transcends national boundaries and international scientific partnerships are essential for breakthrough discoveries that advance science and contribute to economic growth for the benefit of all people. Moreover, the great challenges of mankind, global warming, renewable energy sources, nuclear threat and many more can only be tackled by science in international cooperation. In its long history, science has helped bridging cultural diversity and fostering mutual understanding across political and ideological divisions even in times of serious political tension. Today, science is increasingly considered part of politics and government policies directly affect scientific exchange, mobility and international collaboration. Scientists are facing serious daily challenges as to whom to collaborate with, under which conditions, in which fields etc. This thematic roundtable will discuss how scientists can work together to develop and formulate a new international science diplomacy aiming at addressing globally shared challenges, facilitating international science cooperation and, thus, improving international relations between countries.

Co-Host: Jonathan Bagger American Physical Society, CEO
Co-Host: Joachim Ullrich German Physical Society, President