Due to the covid pandemic, our second round of ZUKOnnect Fellowships for early career scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America could not take place as originally anticipated, and had to be launched digitally in October 2020. However, as our ZUKOnnect Fellows were able to use the digital services provided by the university, they already had the opportunity to build first research ties before coming to Konstanz. Following the digital fellowship, the Zukunftskolleg was able to welcome most of the 2020/21 cohort in person for the start of their on-campus research stay in April 2021. During the past three to four months, the fellows became an integral part of our community at the Zukunftskolleg and enriched the scientific discussions within our university. We are happy to see that our fellows equally benefitted from their ZUKOnnect experience:
Afrasa Mulatu Urge: “In the scope of the ZUKOnnect Fellowship grant, I gained excellent practical and theoretical experience in doing scientific research in Chemical Biology. I have been generated a crucial result in collaboration with Prof. Dieter Spiteller and Prof. Erika Isono which makes my Ph. D research project more complete. […]. Researching with scientists allows you to start thinking not just about your interest as a researcher, but about the needs of affected community members and stakeholders to develop innovative solutions that address their problems […] being able to connect with national and international scientific communities allows me to look at the bigger picture to make a greater impact.”
Giovanna Rodriguez-Garcia: “During my ZUKOnnect Fellowship, the Zukunftskolleg helped me with many online resources to successfully finish and defend my Ph.D. Also, the international experience helps me to get an offer for a postdoc to continue my research in the next year. The ZUKOnnect Fellowship also helps me to expand my network to European researchers. During my fellowship, I have met new researchers interested in corruption topics, and now I will start some collaborations.”
Josiah Taru: “The ZUKOnnect Fellowship provides a productive space for collaboration, networking, exchange of ideas and interdisciplinary conversations. I greatly benefited from the mentoring I received from my host, seniors academics and the rich exchanges during the Jour fixe.”
Krizler Tanalgo: “Being part of the Zukunftskolleg is an amazing experience, despite the fact that we face the global pandemic. One of the things that instilled in my mind during the Fellowship is the strong support for independence and freedom to learn and explore your ideas, and that we were enabled to learn from others' work and perspectives, which I think are very important strengths for the future of research.”
Vishwanath Varma: “The ZUKOnnect Fellowship for me turned out to be a stepping stone for a longer postdoctoral stint with the University of Konstanz, through an idea I developed with my ZUKOnnect local host and a grant proposal that we wrote and got funding for from the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour. It was also great to talk to people from different backgrounds and hear about the work done across different disciplines at the Zukunftskolleg.”
Although our Fellows will keep their digital affiliation to the university until the end of this year, we want to thank Giovanna Rodriguez-Garcia, Krizler Tanalgo, Josiah Taru, Afrasa Mulatu Urge, and Vishwanath Varma for the great cooperation during the past year and their contribution to the intercultural exchange at the Zukunftskolleg.