On 23 November 2021, L-INSIGHT held the event “Five Dialogues for Future Research and Science with Early Career Researchers” that was organized in collaboration with Kyoto University, Heidelberg University, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
During this inaugural event of this new format, L-INSIGHT fellows and early career researchers mainly from the two German universities engaged in dialogues on trans-disciplinary topics proposed by the fellows in five parallel sessions.
Professor Yokoyama Mika initiated the event with her opening remarks. She is the Director of Kyoto University’s European Center, which as the liaison office for HeKKSaGOn (an alliance of six universities in Germany and Japan) played a central role in organizing this event. Professor Matthias Weidemüller (Heidelberg University Vice-Rector) and Professor Tokitoh Norihiro (Kyoto University Executive Vice-President) also offered a few words of introduction and conveyed their expectations for early career researchers and the objective of the dialogs.
The group dialogues were chaired by the L-INSIGHT fellows Dr. Yamamoto Akihisa (medical physics), Dr. Hongo Shun (conservation science), Dr. Tanaka Tomohiro (hydrology), Dr. Fujii Toshihiro (astrophysics), and Dr. Fujii Yuri (planetary science). Up to four researchers from Heidelberg University and the KIT participated actively in each of these sessions and engaged in lively discussions, as did the audience comprised of individuals from a total of eighteen universities in Japan and overseas.
In the subsequent wrap-up session, the L-INSIGHT fellows who moderated the parallel dialogues shared their insights related to differences and similarities in perceptions between Germany and Japan and between different disciplines. They mentioned for example that due to the trans-disciplinary nature of the topics in the sessions, such opportunities for in-depth discussion are very much welcomed. Also, they offered advice on trans-disciplinary research and approaches to discussions about such research. During the commentary offered by guests from all three universities, Kyoto University Professor Kono Yasuyuki spoke about the significance of asking open questions about what is not known in a research field, KIT Professor Stefan Norra suggested that differences in the historical and cultural backgrounds of researchers can serve as a driving force when resolving scientific questions, and Heidelberg University Professor Tanaka Motomu emphasized the importance of ensuring that questions and solutions are shareable between different disciplines and also relevant to the target. They additionally expressed their hope that this forum would continue to serve as an interdisciplinary discussion platform for early career researchers, and highlighted that it had, in fact, been an opportunity for fruitful discussions that transcended disciplines and generations.
Before the forum closed, Professor Tokitoh Norihiro addressed the early career researchers, and praised their insightful discussions and offered additional words of encouragement. Program-Specific Professor Yoshikawa Minako (Director of the Strategic Development Hub for Early Career Researchers) thanked all those involved, bnefore the event was closed by the moderator, Sabine Schenk of the Heidelberg University Office, Kyoto,
Through the six months of discussions to prepare this new format, L-INSIGHT has surely deepened its ties with people affiliated with all three universities.
The event shall be a starting point for subsequent visit of the L-INSIGHT fellows to Germany to deepen and expand the experiences and discussions sparked through the dialogues.
L-INSIGHT will continue its efforts so perpetuate this program for early career researchers as an open and international platform that transcends generations and disciplines.