Round Tables

Round Table meetings are evening events where Academy members give scientific talks on varying subjects that are then followed by an informal debate and exchange of ideas. They take place regularly on the 3rd Monday of the month. During semester breaks, the event does not take place.

On occasion, Round Tables are held in the form of an excursion with on-site lectures. In the past, some of the places visited were the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and JGU’s Faculty 06: Translation Studies, Linguistics and Cultural Studies in Germersheim.



As a way to support young scientists, the Gutenberg Academy sees itself closely linked to JGU, the Gutenberg Research College (GRC), Gutenberg Council for Young Research (GYR) and the Gutenberg Teaching Council (GTC), which were established to improve teaching and research. At the same time, several senior members of the Academy are also members of the GTC or the GRC. With this in mind, a cooperation event between the Gutenberg Academy and GRC and GTC takes place once a year. Selected topic areas in science and academia are discussed, depending on the chosen focus.

In contrast to the Academy’s normal meetings, the Round Table meetings provide a space for both active and alumni members to get together and maintain contact and play a role in the organization through the guest lectures.

Discussion on "The Dual Face of AI: Illuminating Opportunities and Challenges in Academia and Work" (06.05.2024)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be found in many headlines nowadays. However, the impact of the increasing integration of AI in the world of work is rarely considered. Smaller, supplementary tasks in particular are increasingly being replaced by AI-supported programs. But new job opportunities and possibilities for additional income are also opening up, for example to provide financial security during the qualification phases. In a round table discussion, we dissected these positive and negative aspects of the integration of AI into everyday working life and job opportunities in and outside academia.

Both senior and junior members of the Gutenberg Academy Honors Program participated in this event. There were also two keynote presentations: The first keynote by Dr. Andrea Klein shed light on AI’s potential influence on academia, which comprises the upcoming changes in research as well as in teaching. The second lecture by Janis Ebert showed two sides of Artificial Intelligence, the benefits in pathology and especially cancer research and also societal challenges in the context of modern daily use of "social" media and the recommended algorithms.

Participants had the opportunity to discuss different aspects of these topics and ask questions to the experts in the plenary session. The event took place in English.


Discussion on "Activism in Academia" (24.05.2023)

The emergence of new (old) crises, such as the climate crisis, not only calls on large parts of the population to actively and committedly advocate for change, but also repeatedly confronts scientists with the question of how they should position themselves with regard to current movements and developments. These and several more questions were discussed by and with our guest speakers Prof. Dr. Sebastian Seiffert (professor for physical chemistry of polymers at the JGU and climate activist with Scientists for Future) and Nathália Antonucci Fonseca (social anthropologist and founder of LGBT+Movimento, research on affects and governance among venezuelan LGBTTQIA+ migrants and refugees in Rio de Janeiro, Phd student at UERJ & JGU Mainz). In telling his own story Seiffert showed how quickly communicators of scientific facts are implied to have hidden political agendas. He declares that everybody is an acitivist to some degree, wether one is aware of it or not. The inevitability of being an activist becomes even clearer through Fonseca’s telling of her journey. As a part of the LGBT+ community there is never a choice of pursuing activism, due to how personal and direct one’s connection to the cause is. Collaboratively through this round table it was established that the expectations toward scientists of total neutrality are wholly unrealistic.


Discussion on " The War of Aggression against Ukraine - What Does It Mean for Us as a Scientific Community?" (25.05.2022)

Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, which was launched in February, confronts the world with an unknown situation and far-reaching consequences. In view of this, the questions arise: What can we, as a scientific institution, do in this situation? What does the war mean for us as a scientific institution? What is our responsibility as scientists? These and other questions from the panel were discussed by our guest speakers. Igor Mitchnik (founder and former director of the civil society centre "Drukarnia", former fellow of the Mercator Program for International Affairs) and Dr. habil. Olena Strelnyk (sociologist with a research focus on the situation of women from national minorities, visiting scholar in the Programme for the Promotion of Ukrainian Scientist at TU Munich) presented Ukraine-specific perspectives, while Dr Dani Kranz (DAAD long-term visiting professor at Ben-Gurion University Israel) offered an international perspective. At the beginning of the Round Table, Igor Mitchnik gave a comprehensive overview of the historical and political developments of the conflict. Dr. habil. Olena Strelnyk, with her expertise in gender studies, equality and human rights, and her personal experience as a Ukrainian scholar, was able to provide information on the impact of the war on women. Dr Dani Kranz provided an international perspective on asylum laws and regulations. Round Table took place online.


Discussion on “Globalization and international networking / opportunities ” (07.02.2022)

With the continuing globalization it has become more and more common for researchers to spend at least a part of their career abroad. This poses unknown challenges for young researchers and raises questions, especially with regard to international networking: How can we bridge the differences between different research and academic cultures? How can we "market" ourselves as researchers in an international market?How can we best build an international network for ourselves? And what resources are there for international researchers when they go abroad?

These and other questions from the plenary were discussed by our guest speakers. Dr. Nicole Birkle (EU Officer of the EU Office Research and Technology Transfer JGU, member of the speaker team of the working group ROSE: Research on Societies in Europe) and Dr. Nina Straub (Research Manager EU Funding Department Research and Technology Transfer JGU, FIT Forthem) offered university-internal and Europe-wide insights into the topic, while Ms. Valentina Rabanal (Officer of YESS, Master student at the University of Buenos Aires) provided an international perspective. Professor Peter Gröschler (Chair of Civil Law and Roman Law) shared his personal experience of international exchange opportunities in an interesting keynote speech. The round table took place online.


Discussion on "Balancing Family Life and an Academic Career" (17.05.2021)

How compatible are family and academic career? What are the national and international experiences regarding this? How is the issue addressed by local initiatives, international donors and the university? What measures can be taken and how can the topic be discussed to improve the situation for young scholars? These and other questions were discussed during the round table with the two guest speakers Prof. Dr. Katja Schupp, Professor of Journalism at JGU Mainz, co-founder of the initiative "Parents in the Gutenberg Academy" and Danilyn Rutherford, PhD, Anthropologist, President of the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Interesting keynote speeches highlighted national, university-wide and international perspectives. The round table was held online.


Discussion on "Strategic and Conceptional Development Lines of Digital Academic Teaching" (16.11.2020)

Following the impressions of the current situation, the Corona pandemic, and against the background of expreriences form the summer term 2020, this round table looked into the topic of digital teaching and raised various perspectives on what the long-term implications will be and how it should be dealt with.  To elaborate two guest speakers shed light on state-wide and university-wide perspectives in interesting keynote speeches: Dr. Konrad Faber, Managing Director of the Virtual Campus Rhineland-Palatinate (VCRP) and Dominik Schuh, member of the team of the Vice President for Studies and Teaching at JGU. The round table took place online.


Discussion on "Scientists4Future – Obligatory Positioning? Scientific and Political Perspectives" (18.11.2019)

Interesting keynote speeches were given by Volkmar Wirth, Institute for Atmospheric Physics at the JGU Mainz, and Katrin Eder, Department for Environment, Green, Energy and Transport in Mainz. The biggest questions of the night were: How researchers can, must and are allowed to postion themselves regarding this movement? How can researchers impact the recognition of  climate change? Which challanges might arise in political discussions?
>> To the Gallery


Discussion on "Science 2.0: Chances and Challanges of the Open Access Model" (28.05.2018)

Interesting keynote speeches were given by Marko Knepper (Digital Library Services, JGU) and Prof. Ulrich Pöschl (MPI Chemistry Mainz, Initiator und co-chair of global open access initiative OA2020) .The biggest questions of the night were: How can we ensure the free acess to knowledge without impacting the quality of the publications and upping the costs? And what potential does the publication with Open Access have for different departments?


Discussion on "Research Transfer and Scientific Communication" (19.06.2017)

This Round Table had the following subjects:  How do complex scientific theories and results find their way from the lecture hall into the public discourse, from the science magazines into the daily newspaper?  Which topics  in the natural sciences and humanities are relevant even beyond the academic and university limits? Who costructs the limits of relevance: the public opinion, the university, the media?  How do we cope with the societal need for easy solutions? Can the broad public be only reached through post facts? Which forms of media are suitable for mediating and spreading scientific content? Furthermore: how do difficulties in scientific communication present themeselves from the medias perspectives and the perspective of the  research institute itself?  Dr. Manfred Lindinger (Editor at Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung in the department nature und science) and Dr. Patrick Schollmeyer (curator at the Schule des Sehens at JGU) were invited for this purpose and to discuss those questions.


Discussion on "Academicisation of our Society ? Consequences of Rising Student Numbers" (20.06.2016)

Two keynote speeches were given: Firstly by Dr. Kerstin Burck (Head of the Department Planning und Controlling at the JGU Mainz) and secondly by Prof. Dr. Tanjev Schultz (Professor at the Journalistic Seminar at the JGU and a longtime editor of the Süddeutschen Zeitung as well as co-publisher of the collective volume „Die Akademiker-Gesellschaft. Müssen in Zukunft alle studieren?“). The following questions were posed: Can the trend of an "academic society" be proven empirically? Which challanges might arise from the increasing numbers of students at universities? What consequences would an increase in graduates have on the labour market? What does this development mean for the apprenticeships? What opportunities does academisation offer for society?


Discussion on "Freedom of Science in Germany" (03.07.2023) – in Cooperation with Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

On the 3rd of July 2023 a Round Table about "Freedom of Science in Germany" was organised and hosted in a cooperative effort with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC).
The first guest speaker, Prof. Dr. Richard Traunmüller is professor for empirical studies of democracy at the University of Mannheim. In his contribution he asked the question, wether the buzzword ‚cancel culture‘ threatens freedom iin the sciences in Germany. In his talk he established, that neither of both commonly held opinions on the polarising issue of 'cancel culture' are usually supported by evidence to a satisfying degree.
The second guest speaker, Prof. Dr. Klement Tockner, is the general director of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research and further holds a position as professor for eco system sciences at Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main. His contribution mainly dealt with the underlying statistical data surrounding the topic of Freedom of Science in Germany, especially, when compared to global standards of scientific freedom. For example, he outlined the comparison of financial funding, that science programs get through different governments, companies and institutions.
After both of these informative and interesting talks, a lively discussion was sparked among both members of Gutenberg Academy and Gutenberg Research College about many of the statements, that were made in the presentations, but also about more questions surrounding the topic of Freedom of Science in Germany.


Discussion on "Roles of Scientists in Political Decision-Making" (14.12.2022) - in cooperation with the Gutenberg Nachwuchskolleg (GNK)

At the end of the year, the annual "Christmas Round Table" took place again as an online format in cooperation with the Gutenberg Nachwuchskolleg (GNK). The question of how (young) academics can get involved in policy advice was discussed. Three speakers could be won for this purpose, who gave different theoretical and practical insights with their keynote speeches. Mr. Tome Sandevski (Head of the Mercator Science-Policy Fellowship Programme at the Goethe University Frankfurt a.M.) gave a practically oriented overview of instruments of policy advice. One focus was on what scientists can do to bring their expertise into the political arena as effectively as possible. Afterwards, Professor Norbert W. Paul (Head of the Institute for History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine at the JGU) reported on his experience in providing advice at the request of politicians, e.g. in connection with the Transplantation Act or the prioritisation of Corona vaccinations. He stressed the importance of distinguishing (as well as maintaining scientific independence) between the role of a scientist who provides a scientifically sound analysis and recommendations based on it and his own person when advising. He engaged in policy advice as a global citizen who had the opportunity and therefore the responsibility to make a difference. This was also the view of the third speaker, Mr Roland Bednarz (co-coordinator of the Scientists4Future group at JGU). In his concluding keynote speech, he addressed how scientists can communicate topics and aspects related to the climate crisis in a comprehensible way to the public and stimulate discussions. He invited participants from all disciplines to participate in Scientists4Future. After the keynote speeches, the participants exchanged their personal positions in four groups and discussed the "moral obligation" to as well as the challenges and possibilities of policy advice, but also of the exchange with the interested public in general. Finally, in the plenary session, possible approaches for training offers for (young) scientists were discussed, including guidelines for good scientific practice in policy advice, ethics and rhetoric courses as well as offers to train media skills and science communication.


Discussion on "Science and Entrepreneurship" (20.06.2022) - in cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

The topic of alternative careers in science is frequently discussed nowadays. Thus, the question of translating a scientific research project into a business start-up is one of the topics with which doctoral students and young academics deal sooner or later during their research process. Professor Petra Ahrweiler (Institute of Sociology, JGU) gave an introductory presentation on external factors and the university framework conditions that can promote or hinder innovation management and entrepreneurship. The speakers Christine Göhring and Alexandra Fischer (Startup Center, JGU) provided insights into the internal university processes and support services that assist scientists in creating a start-up at JGU. Further interesting impulses were given by Dr. Rebecca Matthes and Dr. Philip Dreier (founders of Advylop), who described their path from their doctoral thesis to the upcoming spin-off company. Among other things, the following aspects were discussed in the presentations and in the subsequent discussion: What skills do PhD students and young academics need to start a business? Is entrepreneurship an indicator of academic excellence? What is the Startup Center and how does it support young scientists in founding a company? Does JGU provide any further assistance in this area?


Discussion on "Under pressure: Early Career Researchers and Parenting" (13.12.2021) – In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers (GYR)

To conclude this year, we held our traditonal "Christmas Round Table", once again, in cooperation with the Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers (GYR). We discussed question of what the JGU can do for young reseachers with childern to take off the pressure which they face. The aim was to collect ideas which possibly can be implemented in the future. In two groups we discussed the challanges which young researchers with childern face and plausible solutions were developed, such as: bringing more visibility to this topic, cultivating a family friendly culture at the university with regard to work and support arrangements, planning events and meetings in regards to the needs of parents, and facilitating  dialogue between young researchers with children. The Round Table was held online and with the participation of the JGU Family Service Office.


Discussion on "Academic Integrity " (15.11.2021) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Graduate School of the Humanities and Social Sciences (GSHS)

Regarding the data infrignement scandals of recent years, which also affected renowned scientists and top politicians, academic integrity continues to be the focus of higher education policy discussions. Dr. Jeanne Ruffing (Managing Director of the GSHS), Prof. Dr. Cornelis Menke (Director Studium generale) and Prof. Dr. Martin Michel (Head of the Genitourinary and Cardiovascular Pharmacology Working Group) provided general and subject-specific information about the underlying quality assurance processes during supervision and review. In the presentations and in the subsequent discussion, the following aspects were discussed: What are the differences in knowledge production between the humanities and the natural sciences? To what extent do discourses on genius and originality encourage scientific misconduct? What does it mean to create "knowledge" in my discipline, with my particular subject matter and with the methods I use?
>> Presentation by Dr. Jeanne Ruffing
>> Presentation by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martin Michel
>> Presentation by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Cornelis Menke


Discussion on "Research Data Management " (14.06.2021) – In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

Regarding the organisation, publication, archiving and subsequent use of research data uDr. Johannes Liermann (Department Chemistry at the JGU, Co-Speaker at  „NFDI4Chem“-Consortium) and Jun.-Prof. Dr. habil. Stefanie Acquavella-Rauch (IInstitute of Art History and Musicology, associate member of the Gutenberg Academy) gave comprehensive general and subject-specific insights. Among other things, the following aspects were discussed in the lectures and in the subsequent discussion: How do I store and structure my research data? What security and legal aspects need to be considered? What software can I use? How can I make my research data available to other researchers?


Discussion on "Between „Improving” and „Impeding”: The COVID-19-Pandemic and its Impact on Teaching & Supervision, Research, and Career Development" (14.12.2020)- In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers (GYR)

Within the format of a collegial exchange, the participants of this round table reflected upon the past year and some of the challanges with which we, as a society, were confronted in 2020. Especially, the COVID-19-crisis and its effects on teaching, research and career development  at an academic level were disussed,  as well as the subsequent digitilisation. The participants hereby were considered experts of the university. The aim of this round table was to be able to implement the ideas and experiences into future decision of the JGU. The event was held online and in cooperation with the Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers (GYR).


Discussion on "Communicating Science“ (15.06.2020) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Verena Brinks (associated member of the Gutenberg Academy) gave a presentation on the communication of experts in crisis sitiations. Prof. Dr. Matthias Schott (member of the Gutenberg Research College) provided insights into the possiblities of scientific communication outside of the universiterian boundaries (e.g. videos, bars, etc.). An open discussion followed this which included current examples form Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten and his methods of scientific communication.


Discussion on "German (Ways to a) Professorship in Transition" (16.12.2019) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers (GYR)


Discussion on "Ethics in Research" (17.06.2019) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

The keynote speeches were given by Prof. Dr. Norbert W. Paul, Professor of History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine at JGU and Chairman of the Clinical Ethics Committee of the University Medical Center Mainz, and by Dr. Stefan Berti, Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology and Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the Institute of Psychology at JGU. The moderator was Eva Ellen Wagner, Academic Counsellor at the Chair of Public Law, in particular Communications Law and New Media Law at the JGU and Network Officer of the Gutenberg Research College.


Discussion on "Academic Carrer Path after the Doctorate" (10.12.2018) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers (GYR)

The keynote speech this year was given by Prof. Dr. Martin Winter, Head Centre of the Network of Music Universities for Quality Management and Teaching Development (previously from 2007-2014: Institute for Higher Education Research (HoF) at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg). The introduction to the topic was given by our junior speaker Katharina Kunißen.

The impulses given by the speaker and the discussion were dedicated to different qualification paths (junior professorship, junior research group leadership, habilitation) in a comparison of subjects. In addition to general information on the spread of career paths, subjective perspectives of those affected were also addressed.


Discussion on "Internationalising Teaching" (19.11.2018) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Teaching Council (GTC)

The keynote speeches were given by Dr. Markus Häfner (Head of the International Affairs Department of the JGU) and Dr. Pia Nordblom (Research Assistant in the Contemporary History Department of the History Department of the JGU). Professor Dr. Philipp Harms (Speaker of the Gutenberg Academy) chaired the discussion. The plenary discussion enabled a further exchange of experiences, perspectives and the meaning of 'internationalisation' at the University of Mainz.


Discussion on "How does Big Data Change the Academic Space?" (18.06.2018) -In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

The impulse lectures were given by Professor Dr Stefan Kramer (Professor of Computer Science) and Dr Sascha Dickel (Junior Professor at the Institute of Sociology; area: media sociology). Professor Thomas Hieke (Professor of Old Testament at the Faculty of Catholic Theology; Director of the GRC) led the discussion, with questions on the opportunities and consequences of Big Data in particular stimulating the discussion.


Discussion on "Reviewing Publications" (10.07.2017) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

Two impulse presentations by Professors Stefan Hirschauer (Institute of Sociology) and Hartmut Wittig (Institute of Nuclear Physics) gave an interesting insight into the subject-specific differences in the process of reviewing publications. The subsequent discussion in the plenum enabled a further exchange of experiences with this significant aspect of scientific work.


Discussion on "Interdisciplinarity- Opportunities and Challanges" (18.07.2016) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

This round table was dedicated to the question of interdisciplinarity: How can interdisciplinary research work, what are the risks and side effects and how does it harmonise with the respective scientific community? Specific projects were presented and these questions explained within the framework of three keynote speeches and a plenary discussion.


Discussion on "International Scientific Carrer Paths" (20.06.2015) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

The event was dedicated to the topic of international careers in science. First, three exemplary biographies of academics who have spent parts of their careers abroad were presented. This was followed by a plenary discussion.


Panel Discussion on "Third-Party Funded Research: How Free is One in Research?" (21.07.2014) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

In recent years, third-party funded research has gained in importance for the financing of universities. This opens up new opportunities for highly qualified research; on the other hand, academics express criticism of the restriction of research content. The joint round table dealt on the one hand with the changed role of third-party funding for the work of universities and (possible) consequences for the freedom of research, and on the other hand with the question of direct or indirect influence by third-party funders. The following topics, among others, were addressed in the panel: Effects on the selection of research topics, consideration of third-party funding and its acquisition as an assessment criterion for scientific performance, especially for young researchers, and as a criterion for the performance-oriented allocation of funds. The demand for transparency in third-party funded research at public universities was also critically discussed.


Discussion on „Competency Profiles of Researchers“ (17.06.2013) - In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

The cooperation event was dedicated to the questions of what competences are expected of researchers - especially towards the end and after the doctoral phase - and
what career opportunities are available after the doctorate. There were two keynote lectures and a plenary discussion.


Disussion on „Good Supervision of Scientific Work“ (19.11.2012)- In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Teaching Council (GTC)

The event dealt with the topic of teaching at universities from the aspect of supervision of scientific work. The content of the joint event was an exchange of experiences in which different perspectives were to have their say in order to discuss the topic of supervision in several respects or on several levels. The aim of the cooperation event was to stimulate a discourse across disciplines and status groups, the results of which were to lead to a recommendation for action.


Panel Discussion on „Good Scientific Practices“ (16.01.2012)- In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

The Gutenberg Research College and the Gutenberg Academy for Young Academics at the Johannes Gutenberg University came together to contrast central aspects of good academic work on the one hand and academic misconduct on the other in a panel discussion. Scientific misconduct was not only discussed under the aspect of violating the rules of good scientific work and the possibilities of sanctions; there was also a debate about adequate supervision of young scientists and a critical discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of doctoral training. In the course of this, central questions of the significance of the value of independent scientific work in different disciplinary cultures and cultures were also addressed, as well as broader questions of authorship and intellectual property.


Lecture on "Luck in Scientific Carrers" (16.05.2011)- In Cooperation with the Gutenberg Research College (GRC)

The event was dedicated to happiness in scientific careers. An introduction to the topic was provided by short presentations by the following speakers: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Falter, Prof. Dr. Walter Bisang, Dr. Tobias Preis and Tobias Boll.