You mentioned reforming the Centers Programme. What will the Minerva Centers of the future be like?
My image of the Minerva Centers of the future is as hotspots of science, dedicated to conducting outstanding, highly visible and interdisciplinary science and addressing the scientific issues of the future, while not being restricted to the mainstream research landscape. Centers focusing on the humanities will continue to be of key importance. Other Centers will work on both the humanities and the natural sciences in symbiosis. One example of this is the "Minerva Center for interdisciplinary Studies of the End of Life", inaugurated last year, which bridges the gap between medicine and the social sciences and law.
We want the Minerva Centers of the future to be hotbeds of science: fertile ground for additional cooperation and projects not financed by the Minerva Foundation; but also fertile ground for students in Israel and Germany who feel drawn to the Centers and wish to carry the message of scientific cooperation between the two nations into the next generation.
How do you see the future of cooperation with Israel in general?
Our cooperation with Israel will change in the future. Israel is already an important and successful element in the European research landscape. Its best institutions and universities are the equals of the best institutions in the rest of Europe. For Germany, and especially for the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, it is important to establish a network of outstanding scientific institutions to make sure that Europe occupies a top spot in the Champions League of science over the long term. This objective will also bring both of our countries close together, given that we both feel an obligation to the same goals of scientific excellence.
Do you have a personal wish that you would like to fulfil in this context?
The history of the past decades has shown us that science can unite; it can even unite countries like Germany and Israel, separated after the Holocaust by a deep, seemingly unbridgeable rift. My own personal wish would be for the Minerva Foundation to contribute in a similar way to bring scientists from Israel and its neighbours into a scientific dialogue. New Minerva Centers have very interdisciplinary topics and it would be wonderful if we could establish a transnational Minerva Center.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us!
Interviewer: Claudia Kahmen.