Delegación de la DFG visitó UCR

Germany Seeks to Expand Scientific Collaboration with the Country

César A. Parral

Representatives of the German Foundation for Scientific Research (DFG acronym in German) met with researchers and authorities at the University of Costa Rica (UCR) to explore new possibilities for collaboration between both countries.

The presentation was made by Dr. Dietrich Halm and Dr. Kathrin Winkler, representatives of the German Foundation for Scientific Research (DFG) in Bonn and Sao Paulo, respectively.

The German delegation consisted of Dr. Dietrich Halm, Director of International Cooperation of the German Foundation for Scientific Research for Latin America, (DFG), based in Bonn, and Kathrin Winkler, Director of the Foundation for Latin America, based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

They met on December 7 with researchers from UCR and Dr. Fernando García-Santamaría, Vice Rector for Research, to explain the financing options offered by Germany and to answer questions about the subject.

 Dr. Winkler explained that the visit responds to both the interest of the Foundation she coordinates, and Costa Rican institutions related to scientific research such as the National Rectors’ Council  (CONARE), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT) and the National Council for Scientific Research (CONICIT).

This is the second German delegation to visit the country in just over a year. Last May, a representation of the Max Planck Society was present in the country:  Dr. Bill Hansson, Vice President of the Max Planck Society and director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Dr. Andreas Trepte, Director of the Max Planck Liaison Office for Latin America, Dr. Walter Stühmer, director and researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine,and Dr. Karlheinz Altendorf, researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and professor emeritus at the University of Osnabrück, Germany .

As a result of this visit, several joint projects are already in progress and in January of this year, an agreement was signed between the Max Planck Society of Germany (MPG), the National Rectors’ Council (CONARE), and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT), to strengthen scientific collaboration in joint research projects and research-based training.

Thanks to this collaboration, it was also possible to bring the Science Tunnel to the country, a scientific exhibition that was open from November 2 to December 10, 2017 and which was visited by more than 33 thousand people from all over the country, mainly young people and children.

Available Funding

Dr. Dietrich Halm spoke extensively about the financing options offered by the German Foundation for Scientific Research, the investment he has made and the amount available for international cooperation, as well as the countries with which he collaborates in Latin America, mainly Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Costa Rica.

Dr. Halm explained that the Foundation has individual funding and research training groups for postgraduate students who are going to study for their doctorate and post doctorate degrees.

Resources can be used for travel, program qualification costs, scientific visits, coordination support, research materials (consumables), recruitments, sabbaticals, etc.

Since 2014, the Foundation has collaborated with 15 Costa Rican research projects led by the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (ITCR), the National University (UNA), the University of Costa Rica (UCR), the National Museum, the Tropical Agronomic Center for Research and Teaching (CATIE), EARTH University (former School of Agriculture of the Humid Tropic Region).

The projects or research activities cover topics such as ancient cultures, agriculture, forestry studies, veterinary medicine, education, plant science, water, microbiology and immunology, virology, zoology, history, geology, and paleontology.

According to Dr. Winkler, the idea is that in the future the portfolio of projects can be expanded and a greater scientific exchange between our country and Germany can be achieved. For this, a Costa Rican counterpart must be established, which is why bilateral agreements between both countries are required.

“What we want are collaborative projects in which Costa Rican researchers work at the same level with their German colleagues”, explained the academic.

Opportunities

With regard to the presentation of the German delegation, one of the participants, Dr. Adrián Pinto-Tomas, researcher at the Center for Research in Microscopic Structures (CIEMIC), said that he found it very interesting, because opportunities for collaboration were presented since the creation of the work team until the creation of joint research centers, through bilateral doctoral training programs.

As for researchers who do not yet work in collaboration with Germany, opportunities were discussed to organize workshops to meet, get to know each other, and prepare collaboration proposals.

 “That possibility of personal interaction to create joint research projects is very valuable; these financing opportunities are rarely feasible,” said Dr. Pinto.

For more information, visit pages: www.dfg.de/latinamerica y http://www.dfg.de/en/  Also contact Dr. Dietrich Halm email:dietrich.halm@dfg.de  and Dr. Kathrin Winkler email:kathrin.winkler@dfg.de

The activity was held on December 7 at the auditorium of the National Laboratory for Materials and Structural Models (LANAMME) and was attended by more than 30 researchers from different UCR academic and research units.