The Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning examines socio-spatial interrelationships and developments on different scales: from regional actor constellations (e.g. in the energy transition) to international and global questions such as climate change. To be able to tackle many of these questions, an international perspective is inherently necessary.
As in many other activities, dayto-day research no longer stops at regional or national boundaries. Beyond our joint appointments with Berlin and Brandenburg universities and work in research networks focusing on spatial research, we can observe active collaborations with international scholars, conferences activities within the global scientific community and a growing number of international researchers who come to work at the institute in Erkner. Based on a vision of the IRS as an internationally networked research institution working on globally relevant questions, the IRS defined a number of concrete goals and, moreover, made a strategic effort with its research programme 2012-2014 to increase its international visibility. “With regard to our limited temporal and financial resources, our internationalisation strategy is primarily geared towards setting long-term priorities”, explains IRS director Prof. Dr. Heiderose Kilper. “We have carefully examined the communities and conferences in which we want to be present. Moreover, we have also developed plans to increase the profile of IRS research abroad.”
New strategic forms of cooperation are currently being intensified in North America, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Poland. Each of these regions is home to important research institutions whose profile is complementary to IRS research interests, and research contacts have already been established. Apart from exchanging guest researchers with these partners, the IRS aims to develop joint projects and contribute to conferences and graduate schools. For IRS researchers, this means greater participation in research contexts such as the Association of American Geographers (AAG) (see page 3) or the Royal Geographic Society. The benefits of such work are already apparent. The conferences “Constructing Resilience” (see issue 74) and “Scale in Environmental Governance” (see page 3) brought together internationally renowned researchers and were a great success. Moreover, ten scholars represented the IRS at the AAG annual conference in April 2013 (see page 5).
Finally, it has to be mentioned that the internationalisation strategy has also had an impact on our staff. On 1 June 2013, Dr. Karina Böhm took up employment at the IRS as “Advisor on International Issues”. Her main tasks will be to support researchers in their participation in European research funding programmes as well as to maintain and develop ties with international partners and funding organisations.