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Hamburg lends a helping hand

Deutschland is the next stop in our tour of March for Science satellite sites.

Here's a word from graduate researchers helping to organize a march in Hamburg, Germany.

Feeling left out? Want some coverage for your satellite march?

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“Why would you volunteer to organize a March for Science? Aren’t you already busy enough with your PhD project?”

We have heard these questions more than once within the past weeks.<strong>Waiting for a sign. </strong>Loking for someting to do this Earth Day? If you're in Hamburg, head down to the Rathausmarkt at 14 Uhr (2:00 pm) for the March for Science. Courtesy March for Science, Hamburg.

Granted, we have a few selfish reasons to march for the importance of science: We have half-paid contracts, but work full hours. We work nights and weekends and put our hearts and souls in our work.

Like the vast majority of German researchers, we are employed on temporary contracts.

Yet, instead of working on our research questions, we spend a lot of time helping with grant applications to fund our own positions.

Working for change

We help to organize the March for Science in Hamburg not just because we want to change our own working conditions but because the growing lack of trust in scientific evidence is an increasing danger to our society.

The scientific community has not only the responsibility to create knowledge but also to make it understandable and available through open access for everyone.

In Hamburg, we are a collective of volunteers from Germany and the US with backgrounds in fields as diverse as theater, education, and bioengineering. We are PhDs, students, professionals, and retirees working side by side with a spectrum of motivations.

Most importantly, all of us worry about the detrimental effects of populistic political decisions based not on facts but on lies. We believe that encouraging the society to scrutinize such decisions and engage in critical thinking can nip populistic agendas in the bud.

<strong>Cosmic connection. </strong> Hamburg marches to draw attention to the integral function science serves for society. It is the key to understanding our world. Courtesy March for Science, Hamburg.We are convinced that transferring scientific knowledge through education and improving the communication between scientists and society are the keys to increase our understanding of the world.

The scientific community has not only the responsibility to create knowledge but also to make it understandable and available through open access for everyone.

For these reasons, the main goal of the March for Science is to increase the global awareness of the importance of science.

We want to draw people’s attention to the crucial role of science in our society — in terms of health, education, peacemaking, technology, economy or politics.

Fast forward

However, we are well aware that one march will not solve this issue. That's why joining the global March for Science movement with its rapidly increasing momentum is only the first step for us.

After the march, we will host regular events including a lecture series for the general public, opening up a dialog about the relevance of science in society, and creating a space to share ideas and concerns.

So far, we have received overwhelming support from scientific institutions and organizations, student bodies, and many individuals in Hamburg.

The magnitude of the support is a measure of the passion many people share for science and a clear sign of international solidarity.Graduate students aren't too busy to march for science — they're too busy NOT to march! Courtesy March for Science, Hamburg.

To be sure, we show solidarity with scientists around the world.

But more importantly, we show solidarity with the billions of people who are negatively affected by horrendous political decisions which neglect scientific evidence (in the context of climate change, for example).

We are looking forward to uniting our voices in a powerful display of unprecedented global activism and to defend the vital role of science for the advancement of our society!

On behalf of the March for Science Hamburg organizational team:

Imke Fiedler & Annika vom Scheidt

Research assistants and PhD students at the Department of Osteology and Biomechanics at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

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