Letter from the Editor

bridges vol. 17, April 2008 / Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader,

The goal of successful communication is the exchange of information between sender and receiver. With all the options of information exchange currently available - be it old-fashioned human face-to-face talk, the ubiquitous (cell)phone conversation, or new media blogging and e-mailing - technological progress has made communication richer in possibilities but has increased the risk of potential misunderstandings. As George Bernard Shaw stated at the beginning of the last century: "The problem with communication ... is the illusion that it has been accomplished." An understanding of how human communication works is important for our daily lives and also for the scientific community.

In Austria, a so-called Forschungsdialog (Research Dialogue) is currently being held between the Austrian Ministry for Science and Research and the Austrian academic and scientific community. The ministry has launched this dialogue between major stakeholders in Austria to redefine Austria's research policy for the next decade. As one facet of this initiative, it has commissioned a study on how reforming the organization of Austria's universities can foster the quality of scientific research - reminding scientists "by providing your input, you will help changing Austria's universities and create better conditions for your fellow scientists in all disciplines."  The results of the Forschungsdialog are anticipated with great curiosity and will be presented during the Alpbach Technology Forum 2008 this coming August. In an in-depth interview with bridges, Austrian Science Minister Johannes Hahn talked about the Forschungsdialog and his vision for Austrian science and research as Austria strives to become a knowledge-based society.

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