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Moderation of the BMBF conference "Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Studies and Science"

Progress, regression, desiderata, data-based findings and best practice - the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) took a holistic look at diversity and equal opportunities in higher education and science at an interdisciplinary conference on 5 and 6 September 2023 as part of its funding focus "Science and Higher Education Research (WiHo)" . Various perspectives and influencing factors were addressed: First generation students as well as permeability, gender (in)justice, health impairments, migration background and much more.

Prasanna Oommen moderated the conference entitled "Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Studies and Academia: Familiar Questions - Better Answers - Best Practice Approaches" and discussed the following questions with participants from academia and practice: What role do monetary aspects play, what contributions to diversity and equal opportunities does digitalisation bring, and what does it look like in other countries? This was always discussed with the aim of asking questions differently and finding as yet unknown answers in order to discover what is new and innovative.

The first day started with a welcome address by Dr. Jens Brandenburg, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. After a keynote speech by the President of the Social Science Research Center Berlin, Prof. Dr. Jutta Allmendinger, the participants were active themselves in parallel sessions on various topics. The first day ended with an Evening Lecture by Prof. Londa Schiebinger (Stanford University) on"Gendered Innovations: Enhancing Excellence in Science & Technology“.

On the second day, Prasanna Oommen first posed a general question to the guests in a panel discussion: "What is the state of diversity and equal opportunities in Germany's higher education institutions and academia?" and then went on to take a concrete look at the topics of digitalised teaching, equal opportunities and knowledge transfer. After a short lecture by Dr. Pedro Pineda (University of Bath) on the"Meaning of Diversity and Faculty Diversity in Higher Education", the participants again entered into parallel sessions. The conference ended with a marketplace where student initiatives, social enterprises, university projects and professional associations that deal with various aspects of equal opportunities in school, study or science presented their work.

Impressions of the Conference can be found here.

Image: © BMBF/bundesfoto/Kurc