On April 12 EURAXESS China organised the 7th edition of Researchers Night Shanghai continuing its effort to creating an efficient networking platform for the Researchers’ Community in Shanghai. The event this time was organised with the supporting partnerhip of the Association of Italian Scholar in China and the newly established Holland Science Network in China and in cooperation with the French Consulate in Shanghai and the long-standing partners of EURAXESS, ESSCA School of Management in Shanghai and ThinkIN China.
The topic of the 2018 edition of Shanghai Researchers’ Night was How to benefit from the power of Researchers’ Diaspora Networks. The focus on European Researchers’ Diaspora activities is prompted by the establishing of the Holland Science Network in China which is a Diaspora network for China-based researchers from the Netherlands and was formally established in a very successful event in Shanghai held the day after the Researchers’ Night.
The event was held at Kaiba – a Shanghai chain of brew-pubs. This is the 5th time EURAXESS holds the Researchers’ Night Shanghai at Kaiba, but the first time at their location in the expat-friendly Jing’an district. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere of Kaiba makes it easy for participants to meet new people in the community. The venue opened for incoming researchers around 18:00 with a the Researchers’ Night being started at 18:30 with some welcoming words from Country Representative Halldor Berg and introduction to EURAXESS and the evening’s programme. At 18:45 the first session of the event took place – a panel of 3 representatives from different Researchers’ Diaspora Networks that introduced what they do and discussed questions related to the topic.
On behalf of the Association of Italian Scholars in China, a boardmember Francesca Hansteen talked about the AAIC and their experinece of doing events and providing services to the community of Italian researchers in China. She put a particular emphasis on the way that diaspora network can act as an interest group and try to examine and follow-up on common challenges that faces their members in their personal and professional lifes in China.
From the Holland Science Network came Anouk van der Steen, an officer of the office of Science and innovation at the Dutch Consulate in Shanghai, and introduced how the consulate and the Dutch embassy has prepared for the the establishement of their new network. One of the points Ms van der Steen emphasises in the discussion is the usefulness of the European diplomatic missions in China to support the establishment of these kind of networks. Consulate don’t only take care of visa – they are also there to service their country’s community in a foreign country.
Finally we had Han Qihang, a representative from the Chinese Association of Academics and Entrepreneurs in Australia. His input was meant to give a contrasting example of how Chinese researchers are able to organise their diaspora networks while working abroad. Dr Qihang introduced their association and also gave some useful tips about how to build an effective network in China, mentioning for example how helpful it is to utilize local social media tools like Wechat to multiply the usefulness of the network.
After the panel finished at 19:15 there was a general group discussion. Groups organised around potential diasporas were given a list of 5 statements about staying and working in China as foreign researchers and asked to take positiion on the issues. This was later followed-up with an survey amongst the European participants of the event. The results can be found at the back of the report.
During the final part of the event starting at 19:40 the participants were offered some food and encouraged to mingle and meet fellow researchers from outside of their own group. This went on until 21:00 when the event was succssfully concluded.
Researchers' Diaspora Network's Brochure
Before the event EURAXESS China prepared a four page printed brochure with a guide to How to Benefit from the Power of Researchers’ Diaspora Networks based on the experience of EURAXESS Worldwide and conversations with researchers in China. Each attendee was given a copy when arriving to the Researchers’ Night in the hope that the brochure could serve as a starting point for ideas about Researchers’ Diaspora Networks and an inspiration for European researchers on the cusp of organising their own networks.
Download the brochure here: (579.96 KB)
In collaboration with the Immigrant China Project (www.immigrantchina.net) we developed a set of discussion points and followed-up on the event with a survey to see the attitude of the European researchers diaspora to common challenges and issues for foreign researchers in China – for the purpose of provoking a dialog in the community and as a input for further analysis and research.