bridges vol. 31, October 2011 / News from the Network: Austrian Scientists Abroad
Motto of this year's Austrian Science Talk: "On the Way to Becoming a Leader in Innovation"
The Austrian Science Talk 2011 (AST) took place September 10, 2011, at the New York Academy of Sciences. The conference provided some 130 participants with an opportunity to learn about recent R&D policy developments in Austria as well as new career and funding opportunities, and fostered the establishment of research collaborations between North America and Austria. The conference facilitated discussion and interaction, and also provided an excellent opportunity for networking.
For the first time, the day prior to the AST and in cooperation with the Austrian Trade Commission, the Austrian Science Talk also brought together executives of Austrian subsidiaries in the United States and Austrian scientists based in North America. This was accomplished via a special networking event, "Austria Connects Business and Academia," which was held at the Neue Gallerie in New York.
The morning panel of the Austrian Science Talk, led by Maria Binz-Scharf, an Austrian professor of management at City University of New York, discussed the role of science and innovation in times of economic uncertainty and global changes. Wolfgang Lutz, head of the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global/Human Capital in Vienna, opened the panel discussion by providing data on future population growth and the challenges it poses for society. Tillmann Gerngross, a serial entrepreneur and professor of bioengineering at Dartmouth College, identified the opportunities for entrepreneurs in an increasingly complex world. The panel was completed by Hannes Androsch, chair of the Austrian Council for Research and Technological Development, who explained the role that governments can and should play in creating the right environment for innovation.
The morning panel was followed by a special session on policy frameworks for R&D, dedicated to the Austrian R&D strategy, and presented by Ingolf Schädler, deputy director-general of innovation at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, BMVIT, and Friedrich Faulhammer, secretary-general of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research (BMWF).
A highlight of the conference was the lunch keynote given by Eric Kandel, Nobel Laureate and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Columbia University. He explained in an engaging and witty way the biological basis of memory - that we are who we are because of what we remember.
The afternoon panel focused on Austrian universities and research institutions, which were represented by three delegates who came to New York for the Science Talk: Fatima Ferreira, vice provost for research at the University of Salzburg, Herbert Edelsbrunner, a professor at the Institute for Science and Technology Austria (IST-A), and Wolfgang Knoll, scientific director of the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT).
The lively world café sessions closed a full day of knowledge exchange and networking.
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