Open Access Biosciences STARBIOS2

Open Access in Biosciences seen by the University of Bremen, Germany

Olga Open Access, RRI

How do you understand Open Access in biosciences research?  Besides scientific publications of research results, the free access to databases for sequences of bio molecules like DNA, RNA and proteins is crucial for the field of biosciences. Whereas the access to most genomic databases is already free, the Open Access to research publications is still on the way. “If I saw further than other men it was because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.” This quotation from Isaac Newton shows that research is always based on the results of previous research. The access to scientific publications is a prerequisite for any research activity. Open Access provides the free and unrestricted access to scientific publications via the internet. This is not just a benefit for the research community itself, but also for the society as a whole: every interested person has access to scientific research results. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Open Access in your University and in your country? The “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” from 2003 is one important milestone in establishing Open Access in the German science system. All big science institutions in Germany – e. g. Max Planck Society, Helmholtz-Association and German Research Foundation– are among the first who signed in the declaration. Up to date more than 550 German and international institutions have signed in and admit to support and foster Open Access. The University of Bremen sets up an Open Access …

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Gender in Biosciences Research, University of Bremen

Olga Gender, RRI

How do you understand Gender in biosciences research? Women are under-represented in research generally, and in STEM occupations specifically. The explanations for these patterns vary from discrimination of women and “glass-ceiling” effects, to implications of gender differences in household and family, and to modern men and women making different choices due to different life values and life priorities. Historically, natural science has been perceived as a male domain. Today, gender in biology study programs is balanced up to and including the doctoral level (see Figure 1 – the proportion of men and women in Faculty 02 Biology and Chemistry at the University of Bremen). The critical point is the retention of women in and after the postdoctoral career level. In average, in academic biosciences in Germany only 15 per cent of Professors are female. The “leak” of women from the science pipeline means a regrettable waste of expertise. Gender diversity enriches scientific enquiry, promotes excellence, and opens the horizon for societal contextualized questions and research. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Gender in the University of Bremen? The Action Plan of Science 2020 of the Senator of Science and Research of the Federal State of Bremen states the need of cultivating a more gender-balanced environment at the institutions of higher education. Gender inequality in scientific careers undermines the principles of fairness, equality of opportunity and social justice. Therefore, structural principles to cover gender-political measurements are in the core of the recently launched Diversity Strategy of the …

STARBIOS2-SCM Oxford - partners

Steering Committee Meeting of STARBIOS2 partners in Oxford


  On the 4th – 5th of October 2017, all the partners of the STARBIOS2 project came together for the Steering Committee Meeting at St Hugh’s College of the University of Oxford. Each of the partners presented their updates on the project and plans for the future on implementing 5 key issues of RRI (ethics, education, open access, societal engagement, gender) at their institutions. There are 12 partners involved in the STARBIOS2 project, including 6 Universities, implementing Action Plans, 3 support teams and 3 international partners. The coordinator of the STARBIOS2 project is Prof. Vittorio Colizzi from the University of Rome – Tor Vergata (UNITOV). Work Packages Each of the partners are responsible for different Work Packages within the project: WP Number WP Title Lead beneficiary Country WP1 Ethics Requirement UNITOV Italy WP2 Action Plan for RRI of the University of Tor Vergata UNITOV Itay WP3 Action Plan for RRI of the University of Oxford UOXF UK WP4 Action Plan for RRI of Primorska University UP Slovenia WP5 Action Plan for RRI of the University of Bremen and related road map Uni-HB Germany WP6 Action Plan for RRI of Agrobioinstitute Sofia ABI Bulgaria WP7 Action Plan for RRI of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG & MUG, UG UG Poland WP8 Technical Assistance LSC Italy WP9 Learning Process on RRI implementation in biosciences and set-up of a RRI model UNITOV Italy WP10 Monitoring and Assessment AU Denmark WP11 Communication and Dissemination SPARKS & CO France WP12 Project Management UNITOV Italy Formal …

Ethics in Biosciences, seen by the University of Bremen, Germany

Olga Ethics, RRI

University of Bremen – Faculty of Biology & Chemistry Dr. Doris Elster – Head of the Department of Biology Education at the Institute of Science Education. How do you understand Ethics in biosciences research? The term “research ethics” comprises a set of values, norms and institutional regulations that support and regulate scientific activities. Research has a fundamental ethos, namely the search for truth. At the same time, research ethics emphasizes that research has a – more general -responsibility for the society. In this area of tension between researcher’s curiosity and responsibility towards humans and the environment research ethics in biosciences occurs. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Ethics in the University of Bremen? At the University of Bremen ethical issues are determined within the “Regulations assuring good scientific practice” (German Research Association) and complied within the “Principles of good scientific practice”, adopted by the Academic Senate on February 23, 2002. The nine members of the “Committee for the Investigation of Allegations of Scientific Misconduct” are elected by the Academic Senate of the University of Bremen and investigate and evaluate any concrete suspicion of scientific misconduct. What are you aiming for with the implementation of the STARBIOS2 actions towards better Ethics standards for the Faculty Biology and Chemistry at the University of Bremen? Our aim is to raise awareness of ethical issues in general and to promote good research practice based on already existing and guidelines as well as further specific guidelines for the biosciences.  At the University of …

Education in Biosciences, seen by the University of Bremen, Germany

Caroline Education, RRI

University of Bremen – Faculty of Biology & Chemistry Dr. Doris Elster – Head of the Department of Biology Education at the Institute of Science Education. 1. How do you understand “Education” in biosciences research? Science Education is one of the six policy keys within the normative framework of RRI. The core focus is the enhancement of the current education process to better equip citizens (students, teachers, interested laymen) with the necessary knowledge and skills so that they can participate in debates about Research and Innovation (R&I) and can make decisions as scientific literate persons. A further focus of Science Education is to develop and implement educational programs to raise interest in and awareness of responsible research to increase the number of researchers and promote scientific vocations. 2. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Education in the University of Bremen? The University of Bremen offers services for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers within the educational center BYRD (Early Career Researcher Development). This is a central hub for early career researchers to foster their independent research skills and to provide the means for individual development as well as career paths. The qualification program for doctoral researchers covers workshops such as academic writing and publishing, presenting and networking, research methods, or career orientation and job application standards. The BYRD program for postdocs and advanced researchers comprises qualification workshops and support services in the following fields of competences: research, teaching and instruction, internationalization, networking, transfer and science communication, and gender and …