The University of Konstanz has been recognized with the Henriette Herz Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for its active recruitment concept for excellent early career researchers from the Global South. With the prize money in the amount of 125,000 euros, the University of Konstanz will seek to actively identify highly qualified individuals from the Global South early on in their academic careers and invite them to spend time at the university's Zukunftskolleg - with the overall aim of building lasting relationships and global research networks. The Zukunftskolleg is the University of Konstanz's Institute for Advanced Study for early career researchers.
The project proposal was developed by the university's Zukunftskolleg, International Office and Academic Staff Development in collaboration with the Equal Opportunity Office, the Research Support unit, the Clusters of Excellence "Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour" and "The Politics of Inequality" as well as the University Alumni Association (VEUK).
Supporting research talent from the Global South
The initiative, which is funded through the Henriette Herz Award, seeks to introduce and facilitate the transition of new talent from the Global South to the German research system and to enable successful candidates to take further career steps. As a result of building lasting relationships with these candidates, the University of Konstanz will benefit from opportunities for cultural and scholarly exchange and for building extended international research networks. The project specifically addresses early career researchers from the abovementioned world regions who are in between the doctoral and post-doctoral stages of their academic careers.
"At the Zukunftskolleg, we are very aware of our achievements in promoting early career researchers", says Professor Giovanni Galizia, director of the university's Zukunftskolleg. "We do have excellent international networks in place, which is one of the reasons we are able to welcome so many international researchers to the university as Zukunftskolleg fellows. However, there is room for improvement with regard to the Global South. We are seeking to address this imbalance with our new recruitment programme, which will allow us to identify, advance and support early career researchers from Africa, Asia and Latin America in particular".
Recruiting highly qualified individuals
The university's Henriette Herz Award pilot project comprises three elements: (1) establishment of new Zukunftskolleg Herz Fellowships, which will be filled based on academic excellence in a gender and diversity-sensitive procedure; (2) introduction of a supplementary Career Kit Plus programme, which will introduce candidates to key practical skills they will need to pursue academic careers at home, in Germany or anywhere else in the world; and (3) formation of a strong alumni network to identify and nominate potential candidates and help integrate them into the University of Konstanz's international academic community. As such, the project adds to and expands on the Zukunftskolleg Konnect Fellowships for early career researchers from Africa, Asia and Latin America, forming part of the university's wider internationalisation strategy, which is based on institutional efforts to achieve even greater inclusion and diversity in university education and research.
Particularly promising candidates will be encouraged to pursue longer-term career perspectives in Germany following their initial fellowship, for instance with funding from a Humboldt Research Fellowship, a Zukunftskolleg Fellowship or through funding provided by the University of Konstanz's two Clusters of Excellence. The first Zukunftskolleg Herz Fellowships, which will include a three to four-month visit to Konstanz and a nine-month online module, are expected to start in October 2021.
"By advancing a vision of active recruitment that is inclusive and rooted in the ideas of equal opportunity and diversity, by increasing awareness of unconscious bias and by identifying new talent from the Global South at an early stage, the project will not only boost the University of Konstanz's ability to compete internationally. By launching this programme, the University of Konstanz also acknowledges and accepts its responsibility towards society as a whole", says Professor Silvia Mergenthal, Vice Rector for International Affairs and Equal Opportunities at the University of Konstanz.
About the Henriette Herz Award
The Henriette Herz Award is part of the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme of the Alexander Humboldt Foundation and presented for the first and only time in 2020. The purpose of the Scouting Programme is to encourage highly qualified early career researchers from abroad to pursue an academic career in Germany. With the Henriette Herz Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), seeks to draw attention to the importance of active recruitment campaigns and to enable interested institutions to carry out pilot projects.
- University of Konstanz receives funding in the amount of 125,000 euros through the Henriette Herz Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for a concept to actively recruit excellent early career researchers from the Global South.
- Based on previous recruitment campaigns, the University of Konstanz will introduce innovative twelfth-month fellowships at its Zukunftskolleg, including a short-term visit to Konstanz, to enable up-and-coming research talent from Africa, Asia and Latin America to pursue academic careers in Germany.
- The concept is part of the university's wider internationalisation strategy, which is based on institutional efforts to achieve even greater inclusion and diversity in university education and research.
- With the Henriette Herz Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), promotes concepts for attracting highly qualified early career researchers from abroad. The award is part of the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme.
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Caption: View of the Zukunftskolleg at the University of Konstanz
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