OST Scientist Network and ASciNA Activities

bridges vol. 28, December 2010 / News from the Network: Austrian Researchers Abroad

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

Encouraged by the OST, an independent association - ASciNA (AustrianScientists and Scholars in North America) - was founded in 2002 withlocal chapters being established throughout the US and Canada. Forfurther information about ASciNA please visit: www.ascina.at

ASciNA Chapter Activities

ASciNA Chapter Greater Boston

(c) ASciNa Greater Boston
Boston Chapter Christmas party.
(c) ASciNa Greater Boston
Conversation over mulled wine.
At the beginning of September, Patrick Trojer gave an exceptional entrepreneurial talk about building up his company Constellation Pharmaceuticals.

Later in the month, ASciNA Greater Boston had the opportunity to meet Austrian President Heinz Fischer at a Townhall meeting at the Kennedy School of Government. In October, the chapter had a glass of wine and a wonderful discussion with Emeritus Prof. Gerald Holton about the opportunities for immigrants in the United States. At the November meeting, Marc Kerenyi gave a fascinating talk about epigenetic changes during hematopoiesis; and in December, the chapter wrapped up the year with its legendary ASciNA Christmas Party at the MIT Eastgate building penthouse lounge.

If you would like to be informed about the activities of our chapter, please subscribe to our mailing list at: www.ascina.at (section Greater Boston).

{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} ASciNA Chapter Pacific South

(c) Schernhammer
Chapter Pacific South at the Getty Museum. From left to right: Cecilia Favre, Eva Schernhammer, Johann and Sabine Schredelseker, Eva and Hans Zima, Christian Huemer, Christoph Haselwandter, Irene Maier, Gudrun Reiterer with husband, Mike, and son, Elias, and Andreas Lins. (Click here to enlarge.)

The Chapter Pacific South began its 2010 fall term with a meeting at the Getty Research Institute hosted by Christian Huemer, who talked about the Provenance Index. This interesting presentation and tour through the Getty Research Institute ended with drinks and music after sunset in the courtyard of the Getty Museum, which coincidentally hosted one of their "Saturdays off the 405" evenings that day.

In November, General Consul Dr. Karin Proidl hosted an ASciNA Thanksgiving celebration at her residence, which was accompanied by a talk by Martin Raubal, who was spending his last few days in California before heading back to Europe. He talked about "Geoinformation Engineering for our mobile lives."

In December, the chapter hosted a talk by Johannes Czernin, director of the Nuclear Medicine Institute at UCLA.

Monthly talks continue to be scheduled for the upcoming months. Please visit the chapter's Web site for more information or to be included on their email list for regular email invitations to ASciNA events:  

In the fall, some personnel changes also took place in the ASciNA Chapter Pacific South. Eva Schernhammer, who spearheaded the group throughout the last year during a sabbatical at UCLA, returned to the East Coast and handed over leadership to Cecilia Favre, Britta Lassmann, and Christoph Haselwandter. In addition, a "cousin chapter" has been formed in San Diego under the leadership of Harry Quendler of the Scripps Institute. 

ASciNA Chapter Washington, DC

The last ASciNA talk of the year 2010, held at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, was given by the "honorary" chapter member Sabine Herlitschka on the topic of EU research grants. Herlitschka, the director of the Division of European and International Programs at the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, FFG, is currently on a Fulbright Scholarship at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

In total, ASciNA Greater DC held eight talks over the year 2010 and several additional social outings. The first event in 2011 will be the traditional ASciNA Holiday Brunch, which will take place January 9 at 10:30 a.m. in Bethesda, MD. Send an email to:  greater.dc[at]ascina.at if you want to join and for further directions.

ASciNA Chapter Greater Pittsburgh

Contact: Franz Franchetti at franzf[at]ece.cmu.edu
Earlier this semester, ASciNA Chapter Head Franz Franchetti received a campus visit by a delegation from the Austrian Consulate General.Located in New York, the consulate's jurisdiction covers Pennsylvaniaand eight other states in the northeastern US, plus Bermuda. Thedelegation stopped to visit Franchetti, an Austrian scientist workingat Carnegie Mellon's Electrical & Computer Engineering Department.

Franchetti hosted the group, which comprised Consul General Peter Brezovssky; Stephanie Jakobisch, attaché from the Austrian Consulate General in New York; and Edgar Braun, Pittsburgh's honorary consul from the Republic of Austria. During their visit, the delegation toured campus and met with university Professor Jose Moura and Associate Department Head James Hoe. The representatives discussed the future of computing technology and its impact on society with Ph.D. and undergraduate students, and Franchetti delivered a brief presentation on the history and future of computing technology.

ASciNA Chapter Austria

(c) Sybille Eberhard, Fulbright
Discussion after the presentation of the ASciNA Mobility Study. From left to right: Ulla Kriebernegg (University of Graz), Andreas Stadler (Austrian Cultural Form NY), Peter Ertl (ASciNA), Friedrich Stadler (chair) and Elke Wagner (ASciNA).

One of the ASciNA Chapter Austria goals is to promote academic mobility by providing information, exchanging experiences, and conducting various activities including workshops and mobility studies. Academic mobility is considered one major component for societal advancement and economic prosperity. Future scientists will have to obtain global competencies early in their career, including an openness to engage in transnational research activities and a heightened awareness of international academic trends.

Earlier this year, ASciNA Austria launched a mobility study that set out to capture the opinion of Austrian scientists currently living in the United States of America, Canada, and Austria. The ASciNA mobility study was aimed at understanding the impact and relevance of academic mobility and global competency, the role that Austrian governmental organizations and policies play in academic mobility, and the problems associated with academic mobility. Initial results of this study were presented at the Fulbright Conference "Does Academic Exchange Matter" on November 18 - 19, 2010, in Vienna.

A comparative analysis examined the similarities and differences between Austrian experts and government officials and the ASciNA network in their perceptions of academic mobility and international education. While the main recommendations from the Austrian mobility experts were concerned with structural changes such as raising scientific funding or increasing the variety of mobility programs with return possibilities, participating ASciNA members highlighted the need to foster international cooperations and to monitor achievements in academic mobility. They also noted that an increase in the number of scholarships available for junior scientists will help establish the necessary international networks for future academic mobility. In addition, ASciNA members pointed towards a need for more transparency in the way academic positions are advertised, including a stronger emphasis on international experience as a vital component of a successful scientific career.

The complete conference presentation is accessible at either the Fulbright or ASciNA Web pages.


All ASciNA Chapters wish you happy holidays and a successful year in 2011!