Samantha Lister is back with the second and final part of her blog from Berlin. Samantha is Assistant Registrar at the University of St Andrews and is currently attending The British Council’s Going Global conference in Berlin. This year, 12 Scottish universities are participating in the annual conference for leaders of international education where local, national, regional and global agendas meet.
Thursday 16 May 9.00pm
After a successful wrap up to Going Global 2019 yesterday afternoon, many of the Scottish representatives stayed on here in Berlin for a packed schedule of Connected Scotland events in the British Embassy today. The day started with a research roundtable, while this afternoon we discussed ways in which to support and foster innovation in German-Scottish partnerships. This evening we welcomed alumni from all of the Scottish institutions to the Embassy. It was great to have our alumni welcomed by Richard Lochhead, Scottish Government Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, and for the Minister to be able to join the sessions today.
This morning’s event was a research roundtable, focusing on Scottish-German research connections, case studies and opportunities. The session was chaired by Professor Dame Anne Glover, and included a presentation from Professor Andrea Nolan on Scottish research strengths, as well as case studies from a number of Scottish institutions, and our German partners. It was great to hear from Dr Christian Müller, Deputy Secretary General of the DAAD, and colleagues from several German institutions, including Humboldt, Leuphana, Bonn and Hamburg. It was clear from all of the talks and the Q&A that our research connections with Germany are longstanding and founded on shared intellectual traditions, but also innovative, productive and high-quality. What was also apparent was the excellent personal and institutional relationships that not only make these research connections successful, but also good fun for those involved.
We also discussed the importance of research and collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, as well as science, particularly in understanding some of the societal challenges we face today and in finding new ways for academic research to engage with the wider community.
Another clear and important point made this morning, through all of the case studies but also Professor Charlie Jeffery’s presentation on student mobility post-Brexit, is the integral link between research collaboration and student mobility. So many of our most successful partnerships are founded on (and dependent on) student and staff mobility, as well as shared research projects. Protecting opportunities for students post-Brexit must be a priority for the sector, both in terms of ensuring that students from Scotland are supported and enabled to enrich their academic experience by studying abroad, and that European (and other international) students and scholars know that they are welcome in Scotland.
The afternoon’s focus was on innovation, collaboration and the frameworks to support both. Again, there were a number of really interesting case studies presented which highlighted the strength of Scottish research and the fundamentally European and international dimension to research and innovation.
Despite the challenging context of Brexit, I thought that there was a huge amount to be positive about in all of today’s discussions on our Scottish–German partnerships and friendships, and I found them both highly interesting and inspiring.