A close-up of interdisciplinarity

The first Conference on Interdisciplinarity of the Leibniz PhD Network at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology (LIN) in the beautiful city of Magedburg was a full success. For two days, highly motivated doctoral researchers from all Leibniz institutes and experts in the field of interdisciplinary cooperation shared ideas on how to find the whole in the sum of the parts of different disciplines and scientific approaches in order to move towards the best of all possible worlds.

Day 1

The event started with a warm welcome from the head of Science Management and Public Relations at LIN Prof. Dr. Constanze I. Seidenbecher, followed by Dr. Christian Stein who introduced everybody to the concepts of interdisciplinarity.

In the proceeding Leibniz section-specific talks, we got a deeper knowledge on how interdisciplinarity is applied in the Humanities and Educational Research (Dr. Susanne Fuchs), Economics, Social and Spatial Sciences (Dr. Athanasios Mazarakis), Life Sciences (Prof. Dr. Heribert Hofer), Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Engineering (Dr. Dimitra Gkogkou). In a coffee break together with the poster session, doctoral researchers shared their projects and had a gainful time for networking within and between the different research sections.

poster session
Poster session

In the same afternoon, Dr. Nadine Thiel introduced her expertise in working in an interdisciplinary project giving us hands-on all advantages and challenges of working in a group with professionals from different areas and different perspectives engaged into the same goal or research question. Subsequently, we had the pleasure to hear from the experts Prof. Dr.-ing. Matthias Kleiner, Mrs. Anne von Fallois, and Prof. Dr.-ing. Lutz Mädler how to approach interdisciplinarity to boost our scientific careers in a very productive panel discussion.

Panel discussion with Matthias Kleiner, Anne von Fallios, Lutz Mädler moderated by Martin Schmidt.

After an intensive learning day, there was a moment to have a refreshing evening including of course, good food, beer, humor and science. The highlight of the night was the science slam moderated by Daniel Meza. Doctoral researchers went on stage to present their research projects in a humored and entertained way. It was definitely a very joyful evening!

science slam
Science slam awards

Day 2

Our passion to gain knowledge on interdisciplinarity continued. We had the great opportunity to participate in workshops with brilliant speakers. How to improve the impact of science (Dr. Marcel Hebing), scientific policy advice (Christian Kobsda), startup engineering (Dr. -Ing. Stefan Werner Knoll), healthy ageing (PD Dr. Stephan Getzmann, Dr. Oliver Kobald, Astrid van der Wall) and how to work interdisciplinary (Dr. Stefan Kroll) were the main topics discussed in five workshops. The day was concluded by a constructive group discussion on the future plans and interests of the participating doctoral researchers.

It is time to say “thank you”!

We are very grateful to LIN to have supported and hosted the conference and to the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg for the great support and collaboration. We are very thankful to all the amazing speakers for kindly sharing their expertise on interdisciplinarity. Thank you to the organization team to have successfully brought on board the topic of interdisciplinarity. We also thank the Leibniz Association for the financial support and to encourage the development of the interdisciplinarity conference.

Organization team: (from left to right) Katarzyna Stoltmann, Marie Urbicht, Martin Schmidt, Mohammad Al-Wahsh, Gerta Shema, Marcel Brosch, Delsi Altenhofen, Sebastian Samer, Fernanda Adietz, Theresa Weidner, Marta Brocka, Gisela Cabral. Missing on the picture: Christian de Wendt, Clara Franco.

We learned that interdisciplinary work brings many creative advantages to our research. However, it can be very challenging to bring up a common research question. Working together in a very respectful way is definitely a key to develop the best of all possible worlds!

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