The association “SIGN – Italian Scientists in Germany Network” was founded on October 13th, 2022, at the Italian Embassy in Germany.
Promoted by Ambassador Armando Varricchio, “Sign” aims to support Italian scientists in Germany. SIGN will also be a think-tank aimed to facilitate the transfer of experiences and practices elaborated in Germany to Italy and thus stimulate a “brain re-gain” in favor of the Italian system.
The network’s founding members include fifty leading scientists active in Germany. The President of Italy’s National Research Council, Prof. Maria Chiara Carrozza, also attended the inauguration.
“Scientific cooperation is one of the pillars of the relationship between Italy and Germany, which can already count on the valuable contribution of Italian men and women to German academia and research,” Ambassador Varricchio said.
“Now,” Mr. Varricchio continued, “we need to rebalance the flow of knowledge and talent. Thanks to the investments provided by Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), we will make our country’s scientific ecosystem more competitive and attractive.” As the ambassador explained, technological knowledge and innovation are determining factors for the future competitiveness of Italy, Germany, and Europe.
Following the opening remarks, a panel moderated by journalist Isabella Bufacchi discussed the prospects of Italian-German cooperation. The director of the German Center for Higher Education Research and Science (DZHW), Prof. Monika Jungbauer-Gans, the head of the internalization at Freie Universität Berlin, Dr. Herbert Grieshop and Prof. Gianaurelio Cuniberti, professor at Technische Universität Dresden and executive director of SIGN, were also part of the panel.
SIGN’s potential emerges from the data on the Italian presence in Germany in the scientific field. More than 3800 Italian scientists work at German universities, and 1100 are employed by public research institutions.
Moreover, many scientists and technicians are part of industrial research programs, and approximately 9,000 young Italians study in the country thanks to student exchange programs.
At the institutional level, there are more than 750 individual agreements between Italian universities and German counterparts, in addition to the agreements between the CNR and the German public research institutions Max-Planck, Helmholtz, and Fraunhofer.