"Exchanging and advancing ideas": Meet visiting scientist Dr. Mehdi Rahimi-Nasrabadi
"Before coming to Germany, I had been working with my host Prof. Hermann Ehrlich for some time. That's how the idea of a research stay at TU Bergakademie Freiberg began to shape. With the successful application for a Georg Forster Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, I can now delve into new aspects of my research field, that is biopolymers," says Dr. Mehdi Rahimi-Nasrabadi, who researches and teaches in the Iranian capital as a professor at Baqiyatallah University.
"Science thrives on collaboration with researchers from different disciplines, different institutions and different personal backgrounds. And it thrives on the exchange of ideas. Only in this way is it possible to open up new areas of knowledge," says the visiting scientist, who arrived in Freiberg in March 2021. The application process for the research fellowship took around seven months; he reports. In times of the pandemic, he and his family of four waited for a year to get the necessary visa to enter Germany.
New insights through international collaboration
Dr. Mehdi Rahimi-Nasrabadi is now mainly looking forward to learning something previously unknown and to bringing the new findings back to his home University but also share them within newly established networks in Europe: "Thanks to the excellent infrastructure in the modern laboratories, I am now able to investigate new approaches to the nanotechnological processing of carbonized sponges coated with silver," he names one example. "These could be used as catalysts, filters or sensors in the future." Prof. Hermann Ehrlich, who is hosting the visiting scientist in his laboratory for a total of 16 months, is especially pleased about the collaboration: "It is a recognition of the quality of our research that the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Dr. Mehdi Rahimi-Nasrabadi as their fellow consider they can best realize the cooperation at TU Bergakademie Freiberg."
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and university provide support during the first months
During his stay at the Institute for Electronic and Sensor Materials, the scientist and his family are living in Freiberg. "Compared to Tehran, Freiberg is very small, but also very nice. I really enjoy walking to work instead of being stuck in traffic jams," Dr. Mehdi Rahimi-Nasrabadi tells us. He also praises the welcoming culture at the university: "All colleagues and the staff at the International Centre are extremely helpful and committed." The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers its fellow further services to facilitate his arrival in a new country. Dr. Mehdi Rahimi-Nasrabadi does, for instance, take part in online introductions to the German funding landscape or German culture, receives grants for language training and for the purchase of new laboratory equipment. With the Georg Forster Research Fellowship, the foundation supports above-average qualified researchers from all disciplines from developing and emerging countries. "I consider the fellowship at TU Bergakademie Freiberg and the associated funding to be a very successful means of exchanging and advancing ideas on an international level."