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Austrian Science Talk and ASciNA Awards Ceremony 2011 Held in New York City

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"

AustrianScienceTalk.jpg 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.

{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick – all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest} A video featuring the highlights of the 8th Austrian Science Talk in the United States will be posted here shortly. Please check back soon to view more impressions of the event.

As in past years, the ASciNA ((Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America) Awards were awarded the evening of the Science Talk by BMWF Secretary-General Friedrich Faulhammer and ASciNA President Peter Nagele in a ceremony that took place this year at the landmark Austrian Cultural Forum New York. Each €10,000 award recognizes outstanding research by a young Austrian researcher working in North America. Initiated by the Austrian scientists' network, ASciNA, and sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research (BMWF), the awards were given out in two categories: Students and postdocs were invited to submit in the "Young Scientists Award" category, and a "Junior Principal Investigator Award" was given to scientists who are more advanced in their career and already leading their own research group (Junior Faculty). Scientists from all research fields were invited to submit applications. An independent jury of renowned international scientists, nominated by the Austrian Research Fund (FWF), reviewed the submissions and selected this year’s two awardees:
Thomas Karl, an atmospheric scientist who works at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, was cited for his paper in Science: "Efficient Atmospheric Cleansing of Oxidized Organic Trace Gases by Vegetation" (2010). The published work describes the role that plants play in removing chemical trace gases called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the atmosphere. These VOC gases play a central role in atmospheric chemistry and climate, influencing the formation of aerosols and clouds.

Georg Stadler, a research scientist in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences Center (ICES) for Geosciences and Optimization at the University of Texas in Austin, was recognized for his work on global-scale modeling of flow in the earth's mantle and its impact on plate tectonics. He was lead author on a paper that was published in Science last year and featured on its cover.

For further information on ASciNA, please visit their new Web site at:  ascina.org

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