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Nobel Laureate Meetings in Natural Sciences 2011 - 2013<br/>with Laureates as Scientific Role Models

Final Report Summary - LIN11-12-13 (Nobel Laureate Meetings in Natural Sciences 2011 - 2013<br/>with Laureates as Scientific Role Models)

Executive Summary:
The project described here covered several measures that that have been realized as part of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, specifically the 61st Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (2011, Medicine/Physiology), the 62nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (2012, Physics) and the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (2013, Chemistry).
The main goal of these measures was to strengthen scientific careers and science in itself by presenting Nobel Laureates as role models to young scientists.

For this purpose, the project included the following parts:
• enabling young scientists to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings by providing fellowships (WP1)
• coverage of travel costs for selected Nobel Laureates that play an especially important role for science-in-society topics and as role models (WP1)
• organization of a session series on “Life and Research Experience” (WP2)
• improved dissemination for the closing panel discussion (WP3)
• organization of an information session by the EC as part of the programme (WP4)

As part of WP1, 60 young scientists, mostly from countries enduring economic hardship, that would have had no other means to participate, were enabled to participate. The participation of 6 Nobel Laureates was realized.
For WP2, a series of sessions, including panel discussions and the newly developed format of master classes was realized, with excellent feedback from the participants.
For WP3, dissemination of contents of the closing panel discussion was improved by means of improved broadcasting, media coverage, and press relations.
As a result of WP4, three information sessions have been realized, which were exceptionally well received by the audience.

In summary, all work packages have been completely and successfully realized.
Project Context and Objectives:
Since 1951, Nobel Laureates and excellent Young Researchers from all over the world meet for a whole summer week in Lindau on Lake Constance to discuss scientific topics, connect to peers and be inspired by each other. When the two Lindau physicians Franz Karl Hein and Gustav Wilhelm Parade first approached Count Lennart Bernadotte, member of the Swedish Royal Family, with the idea of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, they were primarily intended as a European reconciliation project after the Second World War. They understood the importance of international scientific collaboration for fostering global peace and prosperity very early on. Since then, the importance of a dialogue across borders has become ever more clear and widely accepted, and with it the value of exchanging ideas, sharing progress and jointly contributing to a common goal. The European integration process itself provides an example for this spirit of collaboration.

Today, these meetings are organized by the “Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Lindau” (Council) and the “Foundation Lindau Nobelprizewinners at Lake Constance” (Foundation), and they still follow the very same ideals.
The proposal covered the a three-year cycle of meetings in natural and life sciences, i.e. the:
– 61st Meeting of Nobel Laureates (2011), dedicated to Physiology/Medicine
– 62nd Meeting of Nobel Laureates (2012), dedicated to Physics
– 63rd Meeting of Nobel Laureates (2013), dedicated to Chemistry
These three disciplines form the traditional core, and have been covered by the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings since their beginning. In 2000, the first interdisciplinary meeting was held (since then every 5 years), and in 2004, the discipline of economics was added, with a meeting every two years. The interdisciplinary and economics meetings were, however, not part of this proposal.

The focus of this proposal was on strengthening and enabling encounters between excellent Young Researchers and Nobel Laureates, serving as scientific role models. Besides scientific discussions, emphasis was put on topics that relate to the position of science within society, such as:
– motivating oneself for (sometimes frustrating) research
– balancing career and family
– explaining and advocating one’s research
– communicating scientific findings to the general public and the media
– building a network and dealing with competitors

Thus, the following four projects/work packages were included in the proposal / grant agreement:

WP1: Support of the Participation of Young Researchers and Nobel Laureates 2011 / 2012 / 2013
Financial support for the participation (travel, accommodation, boarding) for Young Researchers and Nobel Laureates for the three meetings will need to be acquired from several sources, as the costs are estimated at 476.000 € per meeting, adding up to approx. 1.5 million for all three meetings.
However, it is especially difficult to get funds for Young Researchers coming from economically challenged countries (including Central Eastern Europe), as they are usually not or only in small part supported by their home institutions. Furthermore, the organizers would also like to ensure the participation of Laureates who may not contribute with recent research, but due to their tremendous life and research experience serve as role models and inspire Young Researchers. As these Laureates, as well, have less access to research-related third-party funding, the amount dedicated to this sub-project shall be used with this particular focus.
Objectives: This work package shall enable the participation of specially selected Young Researchers (preferably from European countries enduring economic hardship) and Nobel Laureates in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. The Laureates will act as scientific role models for the Young Researchers.

WP2: Session Series on “Life and Research Experience”
To strengthen the aspect of Laureates as scientific role models, the traditional afternoon discussions, which are strictly reserved for Laureates and Young Researchers, with no access for media, guests of honor, etc., shall be further strengthened and complemented by a series of sessions with innovative contents and formats, that are usually not part of a scientific meetings’ programme.

Science Master Class
Nobel Laureate Roger Y. Tsien has suggested to the Council the introduction of a new session, which shall be realized for the first time in 2011, and then continued: A Science Master Class. Similar to this format being realized with musical students, a selected group of young students will be asked to “perform” (present, discuss) their research before their “master” (the Laureate), who then provides an in-depth analysis and recommendations for improvement. The participants shall be selected based on a) the profiles submitted during application, b) personal recommendations by the participating Laureates, and c) by utilizing the Lindau Online Community at ResearchGATE, where, for example, research projects can be presented, discussed and scored within the peer group. This format is completely unique and has never before been put into realization elsewhere.
Objectives: This session series shall foster the exchange between Laureates and Young Researchers. Special focus is on new formats and contents that do not solely focus on pure science but also on the role of Laureates as models to younger scientists with regards to their life and research experience.

WP3: Interdisciplinary Closing Panel – Improved Dissemination
On the last day of the meeting, all participants embark on a boat trip to the Isle of Mainau, where the inspiring surroundings set the right mood for the Interdisciplinary Closing Panel. This session usually gives especially much room to questions of utmost importance to the planet’s and its inhabitants’ future. Experience from the last years has shown that many Young Researchers challenge the panel, consisting of Laureates and selected experts, with highly sophisticated questions that combine scientific research results with societal and often ethical aspects. Again, especially the Laureates are able to provide insights, offer twists and come up with quite astonishing answers that inspire their young audience.
This session has been a traditional with the Lindau Meetings for several years. The goal within this proposal will be to strengthen the dissemination aspect. The opportunity of bringing together a panel consisting of Nobel Laureates, distinguished experts, representatives from politics and the next generation of researchers, freely discussing topics of global importance in an open, unrestricted atmosphere is a rare. It is thus perfectly suited to be used for the Meetings’ educational video series, for comprehensive international media coverage, and, due its topic, for a wide reception at online discussion platforms and channels.
Increased coverage and reception of this session will support the general goals of this proposal in a manifold way: a) Presenting distinguished scientific capacities as role models to a wider audience, b) contributing to a discussion of important topics based on scientific grounds (i.e. the science communication aspect), c) raising awareness for the Meetings and the opportunity of participation, d) increasing visibility for those involved in participation and realization (e.g. the EU/EC with the requested funding)
Objectives: The interdisciplinary closing panel is one of the signature events, which shall open the discussion beyond research topics to those of societal and global importance. Special objective of this work package is to improve dissemination of this event.

WP4: Information Session by the EC
This WP was added during the grant negotiations at the request of the EC. Formally, it included the provision of a programme slot, pre-event organization, provision of a room, AV equipment, staff, recording, announcement in the programme, distribution of information materials. The content was to be provided by the EC.

Project Results:
As a coordination and support action, the project has not lead to any S&T results in the narrow sense.

It has, however, generated the following results:

It has enabled 60 young scientists and 6 Nobel Laureates to participate in a total of three scientific meetings by means of fellowships & travel allowances.


It has further more led to the organization of the following scientific sessions as part of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings:

– Science Master Class with Aaron Ciechanover on “Human Complex Diseases – From basic mechanisms via social and economical considerations and onto potential personalized cure”.
– Science Master Class with Roger Y. Tsien (no specific title)
– Turning-the-Tables-Session with Peter Agre, Thomas Steitz, Torsten Wiesel and six Ph.D. students.
– Panel Discussion “Being a (Responsible) Scientist” with Harold Kroto, Edmond Fischer, Thomas Steitz, moderated by Adam Smith, Editorial Director at

– Science Master Class with Albert Fert on “Information Storage and Processing with Spin Electronics”. Young Researcher Presenters: Andrew DiLullo (Ohio University), Karin Ever-schor (University of Cologne)
– Science Master Class with William D. Phillips on “Cold Atomic Gases”. Young Researcher Presenters: Emanuel Alves de Lima Henn (Stuttgart University), Azure Hansen (University of Rochester), Kater Murch (UB Berkeley), Claire Thomas (UC Berkeley), André Xuereb (University of Malta)
– Science Master Class with David J. Gross on “Fundamental Physics in the Era of the LHC”. Young Researcher Presenters: Heather Gray (CERN), Steffen Schaepe (Bonn University), Simon Viel (University of British Columbia), Yonit Hochberg (Weizmann Institute of Science), Alexander Mott (MIT), Juan Pedro Ochoa-Ricoux (Berkeley Lab), Jordy de Vries (Kernfysisch Versneller Instituut)
– Science Master Class with George F. Smoot on “Sosmology and Astrophysics: Gamma Ray Bursts and Galaxies”. Young Researcher Presenters: Josh Dillon (MIT), Marianne Heida (SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research), Yingjie Peng (ETH Zurich), Stefania Salvadori (Kapteyn Astronomical Institute)

– Science Master Class with Aaron Ciechanover on “New Frontiers in Deciphering Mecha-nisms of Diseases and in Drug Development”. Young Researcher Presenters: Nathalie Busschaert (University of Southampton), Mahmoud El-Sabahy (Assiut University), Francesca Re (University of Milano-Bicocca), Anke Roth (Yale University)
– Science Master Class with Dan Shechtman on “The Power of Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)”. Young Researcher Presenters: Evelyn Auyeung (Northwestern University), Lindsay Baker (Utrecht University), Thomas Lunkenbein (Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society), Julia Mahamid (Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry), Mehtap Özaslan (Paul Scherrer Institute)
– Science Master Class with Kurt Wüthrich on “Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, Structural Biology and Medical Diagnosis”. Young Researcher Presenters: Axel Abelein (Stockholm University), Cristina Airoldi (University of Milano-Bicocca), Irene Marco-Rius (University of Cambridge), Mirco Zerbetto (University of Padova)
– Workshop with Sir Harold W. Kroto on “Presentation Skills”
– Panel Discussion with Simon Engelke, Walter Gilbert, Brian Kobilka, Sir Harold Kroto, Be-atrice Lugger and Ada Yonath on “Why Communicate?”


Dissemination was supported for the following panel debates:

Closing Panel Discussion on “Global Health”, which was designed as interactive discussion with questions from the young researchers in the audience. The panelists were Hans Rosling (Karolinska Institute), Laureate Harald zur Hausen, Unni Karunakara (President of Médecins sans Frontières, Nobel-Prize-awarded institution), James W. Vaupel (Max-Planck-Institute for Demographic Research), Georg Schütte (German Ministry of Education and Research), and Geoffrey Carr as moderator (Science Editor, The Economist).

Closing Panel Discussion on “The Future of Energy Supply and Storage”, which was designed as interactive discussion with questions from the young researchers in the audience. The panelists were Martin Keilhacker (German Physical Society), Robert Laughlin (Stanford University), Carlo Rubbia (CERN), Georg Schütte (German Federal Ministry for Education & Research), and Geoffrey Carr as moderator (Science Editor, The Economist).

Closing Panel Discussion on “Green Chemistry”, which was designed as interactive discussion with questions from the young researchers in the audience. The panelists were Michael Braun-gart (Founder and Scientific Director, EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH, Steven Chu (Nobel Laureate, Physics Department, Stanford University), Mario J. Molina (Centro Mario Molina para Estudios Estratégicos sobre Energía y Medio Ambiente A.C.) Moderator: Fred Guterl (Executive Editor, Scientific American)


Three information sessions organized by the EC.
Potential Impact:

1) Nobel Laureates as Role Models

Every year, a full-scale quality survey is conducted to evaluate the meeting and identify potential for improvement. The questionnaires that are distributed to all Young Researchers also contain questions with regards to the impact of the meeting to their life and research. Below is a selection of questions with results from the three project years (2011/2012/2013):

Has this year‘s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting succeeded in fostering a dialogue between/that...
Laureates and young researchers 2,0 1,9 1,8
Young researchers from different countries 1,4 1,5 1,3
Young researchers of different disciplines 1,7 1,7 1,5
will influence your scientific career 1,8 2,3 1,9
motivates you 1,4 1,6 1,4
(Best grade: 1; worst grade: 5)

What should the scientific programme of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings put most emphasis on?
Most recent research results 2,5 2,2 2,4
Life and research experience of Laureates 1,5 1,7 1,5
Science in the context of Society 1,6 2,0 1,7
One-on-one interaction (e.g. Master Class) 1,8 2,1 1,9
Panel discussions on current topics 1,9 1,9 2,0
(Best grade: 1; worst grade: 5)

These results indicate the potential impact: Young researchers have been positively influenced in their motivation, in their career choices and in their appreciation of the relevance of science in society by the measures in this project.
With a meeting concept and programme that relied on past experiences and distinctively implemented new measures to further improve the exchange, the Working Programme’s aim of stimulating interest in research careers (in science and technology) by bringing young scientists in direct contact with distinguished scientists was clearly met.

2) Integrating a gender dimension
The meetings were also able to improve its gender balance from 46% female to 54% male in 2011 with a expectable drop for the physics meeting to an outstanding 53% female to 47% male in 2014.

3) Improving (science) communication
The communication work and thus dissemination efficiency has clearly improved over the project period. This affects mainly the meeting’s own communication, but also the awareness of the importance of communication among the young scientists. Especially the 2013 panel discussion “Why communicate?” has significantly contributed to this.

The vast majority of material from the meetings is available online for free at the Lindau Mediatheque:
All lectures by Nobel Laureates are available freely online, many with full text & subtitles (pro-vided that the Laureate has given permission to do so, which is the case for almost all lec-tures).
All scientific programmes including abstracts are available freely online
Documentation on projects such as exhibitions is available freely online
All publications are available freely online (given that we hold the necessary rights), including the annual reports of the Council and the Foundation
Various projects are designed as online projects and are of course available online

WP3 has lead to increased coverage of the discussions in various TV programmes, newspapers and journals, and has also helped to establish and strengthen a series of media partnerships, such as:
- Educational Videos series
- Meeting Blog at
- Nature Outlook publication
- Video „The Spirit of Lindau“
- Webinars (in planning)
Scientific American
- blog cooperation
- extensive coverage
- successful format “30 under 30”, portraying young and upcoming scientists
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
- several articles, including front-cover stories in 2011 and 2012
- special editorial supplement 2011 - 2013
Süddeutsche Zeitung
- special editorial supplement 2014+
Bayerischer Rundfunk
- several television pieces
- science nights (Lindau lectures aired within the evening programme)
Deutsche Welle TV / dradio Wissen / DeutschlandRadio
- airing of several pieces produced in Lindau (e.g. Laureate interview snippets, Lindau lectures)
a new partnership with arte is currently under negotiation
- may include airing of Lindau lectures and material from the mediatheque
- may include live web streams
Spektrum der Wissenschaft /
- production of content for the Lindau Blog / blog channel sharing
Schwäbische Zeitung
- local/regional newspaper partnership for local coverage of events
Le Monde / El Pais
- good relations and frequent coverage of the meetings
- partnership with the European Science Journalist Association improves coverage mainly in Central and Eastern Europe

4) Development of an Alumni Network
In order to use the impact generated in a sustainable way, a project that will be realized in the near future is the establishment of a full-fledged alumni network for the Lindau participants that will utilize the Nobel Laureates’ role model function for further developing science careers among young researchers.

List of Websites:
General Website: