Large-scale international research infrastructures

On 21 March, Antje Vollmer from LEAPS idea joined our Open Forum to shed some light on two aspects of diversity, which are the prerequisites of scientific and societal prosperity.

Creation of an atmosphere of acceptance, respect, and trust might be seen as one side of a coin, while paving the way to barrier-free cooperation at eye level is the other. Her presentation will therefore comprise two parts: activities and actions on inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-discrimination as well as the role of science in lowering barriers for inclusive cooperation.

Read the summary of what was discussed during the presentation and the important topics that were brought up in the discussion.

Large scale international research infrastructures: inherently diverse?

When: 21 March 10-11:30 CET
Where: Online
Speakers: Antje Vollmer

LEAPS idea - inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-discrimination

LEAPS, the league of the accelerator-based photon sources in Europe, is attentive to all dimensions of diversity. Fighting any kind of discrimination and promoting for equal opportunities and inclusion is an uncompromising commitment of all LEAPS facilities. Although science is ruled by objectivity and rationality, expected to be impervious to discrimination, the reality is that researchers still face systemic inequality or limited opportunities. Discrimination, embedded socially and culturally in all our interactions with others, mostly occurs unintentionally and non-deliberately. Openly displayed acts of discrimination, racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia or homophobia, to name a few, are rarely seen in science; unconscious bias, however, happens day-to-day. It is necessary and urgent to unlearn unconscious discriminatory behavioral habits and set up safeguards in our scientific institutions to make them more inclusive, fairer, and as a result more creative and successful. LEAPS IDEA wants to discuss Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-discrimination, gives an impressive number of best practice examples from the LEAPS facilities and provides a tool box to tackle the IDEA ideas.

Overcoming social and economic imbalances by research, development and higher education

Globalization brings us all closer together, the internet allows a free flow of information around the world, global challenges can be addressed jointly. At the same time, we face a lack of equal opportunities around the globe, disintegration, national self-interest, and in part a breaking apart of international cooperation. Networks of research facilities can bring together a very diverse international scientific community where the mission of the advancement in science is finely intermixed with a firm societal commitment. The importance of international collaboration as a peace-keeping and societal waypaving vehicle is illustrated in the project “Lightsources Meet Their Responsibility – Out-Reach To And Inclusion Of Africa”. Large scale facilities have always been multi-disciplinary, multi-national melting pots and are therefore the perfect crucible for this task. They are often the crystal nucleus for political and societal cooperations and the source point for international activities, for interdisciplinary work and for global teamwork.

About the speaker

Antje Vollmer studied chemistry at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München and obtained her doctorate in surface science from the Free University Berlin. In addition, she spent one year in Stanford USA and 3 years in Cambridge UK, before she joined BESSY. 8 years at the experimental floor preceded her current position in science administration and management at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB). Her particular focus is in supporting excellent science as well as promoting international cooperations.

In 2020 she launched and became Head of the Task Force IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-discrimination) of LEAPS, the League of the European Accelerator-based Photon Sources and is a member of the Research and Development Board of LEAPS. In 2021 she became head of the working group “Training, Outreach and Dissemination” of LEAPS, which merged with LEAPS IDEA in 2022. In 2021 she became the facility speaker of BESSY II.


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