OST Scientist Network and ASciNA Activities

bridges vol. 26, July 2010 / News from the Network: Austrian Researchers Abroad

The OST network of Austrian scientists & scholars abroad was established by the Office of Science & Technology (OST) at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC, and focuses on the outreach of government-related agencies to Austrian scientists in North America. Its main objective has been to support the scientific community with information and specific advice wherever necessary and requested.

Encouraged by the OST, an independent association - ASciNA (Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America) - was founded in 2002 with local chapters being established throughout the US and Canada. For further information about ASciNA please visit: www.ascina.at

ASciNA Now Accepting Applications for the Mentoring Cycle 2010 / 2011

By Susanne Pangratz-Fuehrer, head of the ASciNA Chapter Bay Area, California

ASciNA passed a major milestone in its Mentoring Project earlier this year: the inaugural “ASciNA Mentoring Kick-off Meeting.” The coldest weekend this winter didn’t stop all ASciNA mentors and mentees from meeting up for a two-day program in Boston. During these two days, the value of mentoring relationships for effective career planning was discussed. ASciNA received some useful feedback on its program that will help improve ASciNA Mentoring during the next mentoring cycle, which will start in October 2010.

mentoring_2_logo_small.jpg Three months into the pilot phase of ASciNA Mentoring, ASciNA was eager to hear about the experiences of its first mentors and mentees. All the mentees were excited about the opportunity to discuss their career choices with their mentors and get an unbiased second opinion on career plans from an experienced scientist outside their immediate field. Mentors, on the other hand, were highly energized to support their mentees in any way they could, offering advice on general career development strategies or getting down to the nitty-gritty details of planning experiments and data analysis. This feedback was a huge motivation for the ASciNA board to continue working on ASciNA Mentoring and to make it the best mentoring program for young Austrian scientists and professionals. Philipp Marxgut, of the Office of Science and Technology, made his way to Boston from Washington, DC, while Stefan Eichberger and Melanie Csida of our partner, brainpower austria, flew in from Austria. They worked hard interviewing mentees and learning about their research. Thanks to brainpower austria and the Office of Science and Technology, mentors and mentees were also invited to a brunch that topped off the great two-day program.

ASciNA Mentoring is accepting applications for the 2010/2011 mentoring cycle from NOW through July 15th

The next mentoring cycle will start October 2010 and run through September 2011. In collaboration with brainpower austria and the MUW Alumni Club, ASciNA Mentoring provides financial support, allowing long-distance mentoring pairs to travel across the US for person-to-person meetings.

Application deadline: July 15, 2010
Matching Mentor/Mentee: August 15, 2010
Kick-off Event: September 18, 2010
Start Mentoring Program: October 1, 2010

For more information on ASciNA Mentoring please visit: www.ascina.at or contact us at: mentoring(at)ascina.at

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ASciNA Activities

ASciNA Greater DC News  
With its annual summer BBQ on July 10th at Traudl and Joe Robinson's  house in Silver Spring, MD, ASciNA's Greater Washington, DC, chapter brought a very active and successful academic year 2009/2010 to a worthy end. Over the last year, seven ASciNA talks were held covering topics such as neurogenetics, biophysics, earth observation, air traffic security research, as well as a talk about humanitarian aspects in post-tsunami Indonesia, and an information evening on how to get NIH grants - highlighting the interesting mixture of scientific fields of research covered by Austrian researchers in and around Washington, DC. The last talk of the summer semester was held by Dr. Jürgen Köfinger, a physicist from the University of Vienna, currently a fellow at the NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, who presented his area of research on intracellular protein motion using experimental, simulation, and "common sense" approaches based on the Bayesian probability theory.
The talks will be continued in the new academic year beginning in September 2010. On September 8th, 2010, Dr. Dirk Rupnow, research fellow at the US National Holocaust Memorial Museum and contemporary historian from the University of Innsbruck, will talk about the problems and current projects on exhibiting contemporary history in Austria ("Zeit-/Geschichte ausstellen in Österreich. Probleme, Projekte, Präsentationen", Sept 8th 2010, 6.30PM, Embassy of Austria, Washington DC).

Write to greater.dc(at)acsina.at to join the mailing list!

ASciNA Greater DC annual summer BBQ.

ASciNA Greater Bay Area
Contact: Monika C. Trebo, Susanne Pangratz-Führer at: ascina(at)gmail.com

The Greater Bay Area Chapter of ASciNA enjoyed Professor Hans and Mrs. Judith Steiner's hospitality at their Palo Alto residence for a Heurigen/Tasting of Austrian Wines on Memorial Day weekend. A group of more than 30 members was joined by Consul General of Austria Dr. Karin Proidl, Austrian Trade Commissioner Dr. Rudolf Thaler, and Austria's Honorary Consul in San Francisco Dr. Peter Fredericks, for an informal get-together over excellent wines and food, which lasted well into the night.

ASciNA Greater Bay Area also welcomed to our Heurigen a group of Austrian entrepreneurs, who were chosen to participate in the "Go Silicon Valley" initiative. Sponsored by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, they will spend three months in Silicon Valley to meet venture capitalists and potential business partners, and evaluate their market opportunities in the US.

ASciNa Greater New York
Contact: Maria Binz-Scharf at: greater.ny(at)ascina.

ASciNA Greater New York co-organized a "Science Round Table " with the Austrian Consulate General on February 25, 2010. Panelists were Maria Binz-Scharf (CUNY), Christoph Mikulaschek (IPI), and Boris Hartmann (Mount Sinai School of Medicine). Special guest of honor was former Austrian Vice-Chancellor Dr. Erhard Busek, president of the European Forum Alpbach.
Topics discussed were possible career paths for Austrian scientists and scholars in the US, and the characteristics of US universities as well as their differences from the Austrian university system. A generous reception followed and attendees chatted until the wee hours.
If you are an Austrian scientist or scholar in the Greater New York region and wish to be included on the list, please send an email to: greater.ny(at)ascina.at

Roundtable Discussion at the Austrian Consulate in New York City.

ASciNA Pacific North
Contact: Julius Halaschek-Wiener at: jhalaschek-wiener(at)inspirehealth.ca

The 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver are already history. Many Austrian scientists from the Pacific Northwest visited Vancouver to cheer for our hardworking, Austrian, medal-winning athletes. Twelve members of the ASciNA Pacific North Chapter were invited to the opening of the Austria House in Whistler sponsored by Tirol Werbung. It was a great evening with a presentation about the incredible technology behind the "Passiv House," an example of energy-neutral architecture (see picture below). The women's downhill ski team had their prerace interviews, a trio played traditional Austrian (Tyrolean) music, and of course there was great Austrian food and drinks. Vancouver and Whistler were party towns for the whole three weeks and we were part of it. What a great time to be in the Pacific Northwest!
During the past winter, the scientific community in Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest organized (backcountry) ski trips and gathered weekly at the "Koerner's Stammtisch." Our numbers are fluctuating, as many members have returned to Austria within the last year. We currently have about 12 active members.  
Pacific North scientists' large attendance at past brainpower austria Science Talks and our continuous lobbying efforts were recognized, and the 2010 Austrian Science Talk, together with the award ceremony for the 2010 ASCINA prize, are to be hosted in Vancouver, BC. These events will take place September 17 and 18, 2010.

ASciNA Pacific North Chapter in Front of the Austria Passiv House in Whistler.