Voices

Jasmin Bernotat, Bielefeld University, CITEC

Interesting joint projects arose as a result of my visit to Indiana University (IU). We have already done a lot of interdisciplinary research in cooperation with the IU, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and CITEC. Together, we achieved promising findings, which have inspired further research. The visit also brought me closer to the people behind the research,  which enabled easier, more fluent communication.

Birgit Siebe-Herbig, DAAD – Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst / German Academic Exchange Service

I am more than happy that the DAAD – through its Strategic Partnerships and Thematic Networks programme – is able to support participating universities to develop their concepts in line with their own specific internationalisation and cooperation strategies. The Thematic Network on Interactive Intelligent Systems (IIS) is one of our funded projects, working on a highly relevant topic with prestigious partner universities from around the globe. The very positive results and achievements of our diverse projects are both a confirmation of and a stimulus for our future work!

Dr. Thomas Lüttenberg, Head of the International Office at Bielefeld University

For Bielefeld University, the Thematic Network provided yet another great opportunity to showcase its international profile. After already having had very positive experiences with a first DAAD-network at the Faculty of Mathematics, the project led by CITEC provided ample opportunities for us to welcome a variety of international researchers to Bielefeld University – something we always strive for and look forward to. At the same time, it was a wonderful occasion for our researchers to add international experience to their own personal and professional profiles.

Phillip Lücking, CITEC (now: University of Kassel)

Thanks to the Thematic Network, I was able to actively participate in a vibrant interdisciplinary and international environment that brings together engaged researchers from different disciplines and contexts. My research stay in Bloomington, Indiana, which was made possible by the scholarship fund, broadened my horizon in terms of interdisciplinary research, and helped to expand my interests far beyond my original background. During my stay I was provided with sufficient independence to follow my own path, but meaningful advice and guidance from my academic advisor at IU were always readily at hand. In my experience, the network and all its members were highly supportive and I would like to thank everyone for their inspiring work and advice.

Professor Friederike Eyssel, Bielefeld University, CITEC

The Thematic Network has provided early career researchers with a unique opportunity to engage in international research collaborations from early on. Such invaluable experiences are the building blocks for future cooperations at an international level.

Dr. Marlena Fraune, Indiana University Bloomington (now New Mexico State University)

Traveling to Bielefeld and meeting up with my collaborators helped facilitate the communication and coordination to build strong projects for both of our individual labs. By having the time to talk about our plans and walk each other through laboratory setups and study concepts, we were able to design projects that intentionally complement one another. Our research topics on groups in human-robot interaction, for example, have the potential to be very similar and overlap. During our meeting, we decided which aspects of intergroup interaction each respective lab would focus on, and which projects we would work together to replicate. This has allowed us to most efficiently and effectively advance this research area.

Alessandra Sciutti PhD, Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)

The network has helped to establish an international community of young researchers, who are now advancing research on the topic from a multidisciplinary perspective. I look forward to future collaborations with Bielefeld, addressing novel, interesting challenges.

Timo Korthals, Bielefeld University, CITEC

The Thematic Network has made it possible for me to participate in internal Summer Schools. Furthermore, it provided me with new, comprehensive insights into the field and types of research. Intensive exchange, both inside and outside the lab, lends inspiration to one’s research projects, resulting not only in joint publications but also in long-term research partnerships. Getting out of the ordinary, everyday office and lab routine, plus the interdisciplinary work with colleagues in the network, allows you to see your own research from a new perspective.

Dr. Jakub Zlotowski, Bielefeld University, CITEC

In my opinion, the biggest benefit of the Thematic Network is the possibility of gaining new perspectives on research. Network partners not only have different areas of expertise and varied scientific experience, but universities also differ in terms of their research culture and approaches to scientific research in general. The Thematic Network allows participating partners to see their research topics through a different lens, which can help researchers to find solutions for existing problems or even start thinking about untapped research opportunities. None of this would have been possible without exposure to different ways of thinking.

Dr.-Ing. Thorsten Jungeblut, Bielefeld University, CITEC

The thematic network brings together the various complementary disciplines and expertise of strong partners within the field of IIS. It is therefore an ideal base for bridging cultures and establishing very fruitful, long-term cooperations in both research and teaching. 

Ayal Taitler, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

The DAAD-network provides an excellent multidisciplinary opportunity for meeting researchers with similar interests and facilitating potential collaborations in the academic world.

Dr.-Ing. Lars Schillingmann, CITEC (now Robert Bosch GmbH)

I see the added value of the network in the fact that it created linkages between the partner institutions. Researchers as well as students had the opportunity to do medium-length stays at partner institutions.

Ting Han, Bielefeld University, CITEC

From October 2017 to December 2017, I visited the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research at Osaka University, where I conducted my research under the supervision of Professor Kazunori Komatani. The professors and students there are very open and friendly, and I enjoyed discussing research ideas with them. The institute is comprised of several research groups from different disciplines (similar to CITEC), and promotes collaboration with partners from industry. However, the research groups there focus more on physics, chemistry, and artificial intelligence, rather than cognitive science. After the program, I decided to do a postdoc in Japan, and will join AIRC-AIST in Tokyo as a research scientist in December 2018.

Professor Yitzhak (Tsahi) Birk, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

From my own research perspective, I found the combination of so many disciplines under one roof at CITEC exciting. I would also like to try and enhance our collaborations. As a specific suggestion, I think that involving faculty members from the two universities in each other’s thesis committees when relevant may encourage greater  familiarity with each other’s work, and may eventually lead to things like occasional joint supervision of graduate students.

Professor Martin Egelhaaf, Vice-rector for Research, Young Researchers and Equal Opportunities at Bielefeld University

Thanks to Bielefeld University’s extensive international networking, our early career researchers benefit from being able to learn from the best in the field. The Thematic Network has afforded our young researchers with excellent opportunities to work with renowned partner institutions, and has provided them with the chance to develop their research projects on an international scale. In doing so, the Thematic Network has helped them to advance their professional development and prepare them for the next step in their careers.

Francesco Rea PhD, Italian Institute of Technology

The environment in Bielefeld is very warm and welcoming. The researchers and administrative staff are friendly, and it is a great pleasure to work with them. From a scientific point of view, the quality of the network is excellent and multidisciplinary. It is a great advantage to always be able to tap into experts and partners in our field of research.

Lawrence Buckingham, Queensland University of Technology

The Thematic Network provided a unique opportunity for me to meet and collaborate with scientists in Bielefeld. As a PhD student, I was able visit Bielefeld to work closely with researchers there. The ideas that were generated during my visit are now bearing fruit as my PhD draws to a conclusion. I am looking forward to further productive interaction with colleagues at Bielefeld over the coming months.

Daniela Urbansky, Network’s coordinator from 2015-2017

Internationalisation as an effective means to promote both science and scientists has to be more than individuals who cross borders. It includes everything from sharing lab infrastructure to increase the range of experiments, to facilitating discussions with other researchers worldwide (sometimes over coffee) in order to generate innovative or even bold research ideas. The activities of the Thematic Network encompass many important facets of internationalization.