A new research culture for sustainable academia

Within research funders and universities across Europe, there are growing ambitions to value not just what research is done, but also how it is accomplished. This session will explore the boundaries of what is meant by ‘research culture’, the data we have on the working environment of researchers, and the challenges of changing a system. We will hear from institutions that are already making changes to the way they operate, as they aim to build a more sustainable working environment for research staff. 

Dr. Anjali Shah


Co-Chair of the UK Research Staff Association (UKRSA)

Dr. Anjali Shah is Co-Chair of the UK Research Staff Association (UKRSA) and is the UKRSA’s representative on the Concordat Strategy Group. She is passionate about improving research culture and encouraging members of under-represented groups to become successful researchers. She has worked at the University of Oxford for over a decade as an epidemiologist/biostatistician, and recently has completed three years as a part-time Researcher Developer. Anjali’s research is currently focused on assessing the reorganisation of major trauma centres on the outcomes following open fractures and reducing the occurrence of second fractures. Her previous research has been on treatment of shoulder dislocations and hip fractures, trends in childhood leukaemia and brain tumours, reviews of maternal health incidents, and producing National Statistics on adult cancer survival.  


Prof. Günter M. Ziegler

President, Freie Universität Berlin; deputy chair, German U15

Günter M. Ziegler is a Professor of Mathematics at Freie Universität Berlin. His work connects Combinatorics and Discrete Geometry (especially polytopes) with Topology (in particular configuration spaces) and Optimization. He was a founding member of the Berlin Research Center “MATHEON – Mathematics for Key Technologies”, founding chair of the Excellence Initiative Graduate School “Berlin Mathematical School” and he is now a member of the Berlin Mathematics Research Center MATH+.

He is the author of Lectures on Polytopes (1995), of Proofs from THE BOOK (with Martin Aigner, 6th edition 2018), as well as of Do I Count? Stories from Mathematics (2013). His honors include a Leibniz Prize (2001), the 2008 Communicator Award, an ERC Advanced Grant (2010), the 2017 Berlin Science Prize and the 2018 Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition (with Martin Aigner). He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and of the National Academy of Science and Technology acatech, and a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

For 2006-2008 he was the President of the German Mathematical Society DMV. He initiated and co-organized the German National Science Year 2008 and now directs the DMV Mathematics Media Office. He currently serves as the President of Freie Universität Berlin, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Berlin University Alliance, as the deputy chair of German U15, and as a member of the Executive Board of the International Mathematical Union IMU.

Prof. Ulrike Felt

Head of the Department of Science Technology Studies , University of Vienna

Ulrike Felt is Professor and head of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) as well as of the interfaculty research platform ‘Responsible research and innovation in academic practice’ at the University of Vienna. Her research centers on two wider areas: changing academic research cultures and issues related to governance, democracy and public engagement related to technoscientific developments. She is mainly working with qualitative methods and actively engages in developing participatory and inclusive methodological approaches. She has published widely in both areas.

Since 2017 she is president of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST). She is elected member of the Academia Europaea since 2019.

Prof. Jeroen Geurts

Chair, Dept. of Anatomy & Neurosciences, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | Professor of Translational Neuroscience | President of the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research & Development (ZonMw) | Member of the Executive Board, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) | Director, Brein in Beeld Foundation

Jeroen Geurts, Professor at the Amsterdam University Medical Centers and President of the Netherlands Institute for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). Jeroen Geurts studied medical biology at the University of Amsterdam and was awarded his PhD by the Vrije University in the same city. As a VUmc researcher, he was later appointed Professor of Translational Neuroscience and head of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience. He is also a professor in Calgary (Canada). For several years, Geurts served as president of the Young Academy of the KNAW. He is a member of The Health Council of the Netherlands and sat on various committees within the framework of the National Research Agenda. He is the founder of Brein in Beeld, an organisation that spreads knowledge about brains and promotes interdisciplinary brain research. In addition to his research, Jeroen Geurts serves as member of the Board of Directors of the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Dr. Sean Sapcariu

Programme Manager
Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR)

Sean Sapcariu is a programme manager at the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), where he is responsible for the biomedical research domain as well as the coordination of strategic funding instruments. In addition, he develops FNR activities related to research culture and responsible research assessment (such as the development and implementation of a narrative CV across FNR programmes), with the goal of promoting and incentivizing a positive research culture.

Dr. Brian Cahill

Responsible for the Researcher Mental Health COST Action at Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology

Dr. Brian Cahill works in the Learning and Skills Analytics Lab of the Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology as Grant Manager of the COST Action CA19117 on Researcher Mental Health. He is a Member of the Governing Board of EuroScience and was Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association. In these roles, he engaged with early-career researchers on topics ranging from researcher career development, innovation, research funding, science communication, researcher mental health, science policy, researcher pensions, research integrity, and responsible research and innovation. Brian studied Mechanical Engineering in Ireland and moved to Germany in 1998 to work at Hewlett Packard/Agilent Technologies. He received his PhD for work in electrokinetically-driven fluid flow from the ETH Zurich in 2004 and carried out postdoctoral research in colloid and interface science at the University of Geneva. He was a Marie Curie fellow at the Institute for Bioprocessing and Analytical Measurement Techniques in Heilbad Heiligenstadt.