DFG president emphasizes diversity in science
Science calls for pluralism, for the discussion of ideas, and for international collaboration in order to lead to surprising discoveries, said Peter Strohschneider
By Heitor Shimizu, in Munich
Agência FAPESP – “Globalization is a very complex process and has proven to be essential for scientific research. This is because research needs pluralism, dissent and the discussion of ideas – contrasts between opposing theories because that is what makes discoveries surprising,” said Peter Strohschneider, president of the German Research Foundation (DFG), at the first lecture of FAPESP Week Munich on Thursday (10/16), in Munich.
“We need this pluralism, this ‘disorganization’ of scientific knowledge, so to speak, if we want to create new and innovative knowledge. To this end, the prospects of scientific cooperation beyond borders works best when the diversity of scientific cultures is preserved,” he said.
According to Strohschneider, facilitating this cooperation across regional and national borders should be one of the main tasks of research-sponsoring agencies, but it is a tricky matter because national science and technology systems are very different in terms of their funding organizations, legal requirements, rules, procedures and other things.
“These differences need to be negotiated so they do not compromise the basic diversities of the research partnership. In the beginning, globalization makes scientific cooperation between countries harder instead of easier,” he said.
Strohschneider noted that the search for collaboration that respects these diversities and leads to new knowledge has guided the DFG’s scientific cooperation activities.
“In this scenario, the partnership we have had with FAPESP since 2006 is something we consider special because it allows the creation of new opportunities for collaboration between researchers from Germany and the state of São Paulo,” he said.
Three calls for research proposals have already been published through the cooperation agreement between FAPESP and the DFG.
“São Paulo also has special significance to the DFG because it was there, in the state capital, where we opened an office that targeted Latin American collaboration in 2011,” Strohschneider said.