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Postdocs, doctoral students and Master's students from more than 40 countries currently research, teach and study at the Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP) of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Many of them are here for a few months like e.g. visiting professors, and others stay in Jena for years. "Our international guests are of utmost importance, regardless of the duration of their residence in Jena," says Dr. Christian Helgert. "They are an essential part of the ACP philosophy. We are convinced that research and teaching on an international level will only be sustainable if our staff and network is also internationally oriented", emphasizes ACP's chief executive officer.

Some former scholars and students of the ACP and the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy have now visited Jena again on 26 November. They shared their professional experience from different backgrounds in the context of the first international "Photonics and Physics Alumni Workshop". The workshop - organized by the ACP and supported by the central alumni initiative of the university JenAlumni - aims at all current and former students, doctoral candidates and scientists in the fields of optics, photonics and physics as well as the interested public. "Our goal was to show the diversity and challenges of different career paths and options after completing one's studies and doctoral studies," explains Dr. Dorit Schmidt, who takes care of the doctoral students and the alumni programme at the Abbe School of Photonics. "Together with the speakers and participants worked out models and tools which strengthen the connection between the university and its alumni and from which both sides can benefit." Moreover, at the workshop three ACP scientists were distinguished with dedicated awards.

The alumni workshop is part of a project funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for international alumni work. The ACP and the University of Jena are among the eight winners of the first round of the competition "Research Alumni Strategies" which was announced last year by the foundation. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). "We want to provide our alumni work not only on students and doctoral candidates but also give more attention to devoted research alumni," says Dorit Schmidt. The international exchange of scientists as well as maintaining the contacts for longer than the actual guest stay offer added value for both sides: On the one hand, the scientists benefit from researching abroad for their future career. "At the same time, they are valuable multipliers who inform others outside Jena about the university. They play a key role for the exchange of doctoral students and the initiation of new projects," adds Christian Helgert.

Impressions from the ACP Photonics and Physics Alumni Workshop on November 26, 2014 in Jena.

>> review on the workshop including the speakers' slides

>> link to the official press release issued by the Friedrich Schiller University Jena

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