hen a record number of asylum seekers and refugees arrived in Germany two years ago, Carmen Bachmann was one of many in the country who felt compelled to help the newcomers settle in.
She did not rush down to greet them with welcome signs or pledge to volunteer at refugee camps. Instead Bachmann, 41, a Leipzig University professor, turned into something of a matchmaker. She created a website, Chance for Science, to connect refugee academics with German counterparts across a broad range of disciplines.
The site uses the template of a dating service and allows users to register as a refugee academic or a German professor or researcher, stating their location and field of study, so people can be matched together with others doing similar work. There are now 720 registered users, including 224 refugees.
The links made via the website could lead to a job, although Bachmann said that was not the main aim. “The primary thinking is to encourage work collaboration, the sharing of ideas or to help refugee scientists gain access to the latest research. Alongside it, we have also been running educational workshops for the past year with government funding. They help newcomers understand how the German academic system works,” she said.
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