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Research Lab, research funding, Ph.D. Office, Global School in Empirical Research Methods: Research is a many-faceted area which Dr. Monika Kurath, the Dean of Research & Faculty, took over in October 2016.
"Taking over the team and bringing it together, also in terms of space" was one of her first tasks, she says. After just over three quarters of a year in office, it is primarily two big projects that are currently occupying her: the reorganisation of the faculty, and research funding. Besides the strategic appointment and faculty management, the aim is the strategic unification of research funding in a Grants Office as a central contact point for national and international funding programmes.
Her office in Tellstrasse is pleasantly cool on this hot summer's day. Stefan Graf, the Chairman of the Research Committee, is right next door. Next to him, is the Ph.D. Office, two floors below the Global School in Empirical Research Methods and below that the Research Lab.
"Dual careers are of crucial
significance at the present time"
The reorganisation and reinforcement of the faculty services, as well as a professional welcoming service, is an important aspect, particularly if it comes to attractive international researchers. "Dual careers are of crucial significance at the present time," says Monika Kurath. "There are hardly any faculty members whose partner is not in gainful employment. Added to this, there are queries concerning the location of St.Gallen: Are there any international schools? What about childcare, old-age provision, taxes, etc.?" The HR Department has done good preparatory work here; in operative terms, appointment business has been part of the Vice-President's Board for Research & Faculty since 1 July 2017.
With regard to the Grants Office, the intention is to provide researchers with even more intensive support in the application process. This is again accompanied by questions: "How can we increase the incentives for the faculty?" Particularly if you want to play in the top league, ERC grants, grants from the European Research Council, are important. "As far as the SNSF, the Swiss National Science Foundation is concerned, we would like to try to intensify relations to ensure that we're involved from the very start whenever new topics crop up, for instance for national competence centres in research," says Monika Kurath.
Besides these central projects, there are many more issues that occupied the Vice-President's Board for Research & Faculty in 2016/2017, ranging from the Summer School, which was again staged with great success, and the Behavioral Lab, which has supported researchers in their studies since 2015, to topics like the Young Investigator Programme (YIP) or strategic research partnerships.