Members of Universität Hamburg find many ways to contribute to society. For example, they can become involved in Uni(hoch)Kultur, which provides opportunities in theater, music, and art. There are also networks such as #UHHengagiert and initiatives such as #UHHhilft, which advocate for greater social responsibility in academia and at universities.
Initiatives such as the law clinics and the newly founded Green Office under the umbrella of the Knowledge Exchange Agency are primarily student-led. In the Cyber Law Clinic, students—under the supervision of experienced lawyers—provide free legal advice to people who cannot otherwise afford legal advice. In the Green Office, students independently work on sustainability projects and initiatives.
Why knowledge exchange? Science in, with, and for society!
Opening and maintaining dialog with society requires commitment—is it worth it? What are the benefits for society, for research, for higher education institutions?
- For society: Today, more and more people are becoming interested in questions currently being researched. They not only want to find out more about the issues themselves, but also seek to engage in a dialog—about the knowledge itself as well as its practical, political, and ethical implications.
- For research: Research also benefits from the dialog with society. Open discourse builds trust and expands the knowledge and values on which the research itself is based.
- For higher education institutions: By supporting the dialog, higher education institutions become corporate citizens, conducting research for and with a democratic society.
Understood as part of a dialog, university knowledge exchange is not a one-way street. Rather, it is a research-based part of a new academic identity.
Yes, dialog with society, like communication in any relationship, requires commitment—but it is well worth it for society, research, and higher education institutions.