For Research. For Berlin.

Virtual brainstorming and panel discussion

The Impact of Diversity on Research Quality: Exploring the Knowledge Gap

A joint event of the BIH Quest Center for Responsible Research, the Berlin University Alliance,
 the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Einstein Foundation Berlin

Greater biodiversity enhances stability and robustness in ecosystems, species, and individuals. However, the question arises: do similar principles apply to the research ecosystem? Despite numerous programs, statements, and discussions advocating for increased diversity in academia, empirical data and evidence on the effects of diversity on research quality remain limited. This knowledge gap is particularly concerning given the entrenched biases within the research system and persistently low levels of diversity in academia across dimensions such as gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background.


Virtual unconference (October, date to be determined): We aim to explore the impact of team diversity, or the lack thereof, on the rigor, reliability, robustness, and transparency of research.  We are organizing a virtual unconference, called a virtual brainstorming event, to gather a global community of over 100 researchers and advocates from diverse backgrounds worldwide. Participants will mainly be early and mid-career researchers, who are the future of the research ecosystem and are actively working to improve research culture and practice. Event participants will exchange experiences and lessons learned, and deliberate upon a set of predefined brainstorming questions using an online chat platform. Additionally, participants will forge connections, share insights, and explore emerging topics through virtual face-to-face "coffee chats", Open Space discussions and webinars. Their collective wisdom, empirical studies, innovative programs, comprehensive datasets, and valuable anecdotal evidence will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the influence of diversity on research quality. 


The virtual brainstorming event will take place in October. There will be two optional networking sessions on the day prior to the event. The event will take place over two days, and participants should plan to devote at least three hours a day to participating in webinars and discussions, at times that work for them. Please find further information on the virtual brainstorming event here.


Panel discussion (November 3, 6:15 pm at Museum für Naturkunde Berlin): Insights gained from the virtual brainstorming event will be expanded upon in a subsequent panel discussion held on November 3rd, 2023, as part of the internationally renowned Berlin Science Week. This esteemed science festival is held both in Berlin and online.


  • Marietta Auer, Vice President German Research Foundations (DFG), Professor Private Law and International and Interdisciplinary Foundations of Law, Universität Giessen und Frankfurt, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory

  • Isolde Karle, Vice Rector for Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Development, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Professor of Practical Theology, Ruhr Universität Bochum

  • Gertraud Stadler, Director Institute Gender in Medicine, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Professor of Gender-Sensitive Prevention Research, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin

  • Participant of the preceding virtual brainstorming event (tbc)


Tracey Weissgerber, Group Leader, QUEST Center for Responsible Research, Berlin Institute of Health at Charité – Universitätsmedizin


Sharing lessons learned:
Following the event, we will draft a paper highlighting insights gained from the event to share lessons learned with the global scientific community. All unconference participants and panellists will have the opportunity to contribute to this collaborative work.


Participating organizations: This initiative is made possible through the partnership of the Einstein Foundation Award for Promoting Quality in Research, the BIH QUEST Center for Responsible Research, the Berlin University Alliance, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Together, we aim to shed light on the multifaceted relationship between academic diversity and research quality, thereby propelling the advancement of robust scientific practices.