For the fifteenth time, a joint scientific symposium was organized by Semmelweis University and two German partner universities: The Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg and Heidelberg University. Semmelweis University and its two strategic partners hold a symposium every two years, hosted by Freiburg this year.

During the multi-day meeting, the former Jellinek Harry scholars of the three universities gave presentations about their research, and the participants could listen to plenary lectures from experts and leaders of the three institutions in German and English.

In the framework of the meeting, it was also possible for Dr. Béla Merkely and his colleagues responsible for the development of German relations – Dr. András Kiss, Rector’s Commissioner for German affairs and Judit Szlovák, International Project Coordinator for the Directorate of International Relations – to hold further talks with the highest level of leadership of the two German universities, including the Rector of the Heidelberg University and the University of Freiburg, Dr. Bernard Eitel and Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, and Dr. Peter Schirmacher, Rector’s Commissioner of Heidelberg University for Foreign Relations.



At the three Rectors’ meeting, the parties discussed the present and possible further forms of cooperation, but also topics such as the definition of specific areas for future cooperation. These include the areas of cardiology, oncology, oncopathology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, bioimaging, digital pathology, radiology / cardiovascular imaging radiology, or personalized medicine. Participants also talked about the extension of the longstanding and successful Jellinek Harry Scholarship program to PhD students to ensure the highest quality of research projects and the possibility of submitting joint applications. 

During the rector’s meeting, Dr. Béla Merkely also had the opportunity to present Dr. Bernard Eitel and Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer with the Pro Universitate Award on a solemn occasion. Upon presenting the awards to the recipients, Dr. Béla Merkely thanked the leaders of the two German universities for their years of outstanding activity, which contributed to a high level of achievement of Semmelweis University’s goals, which was greatly influenced by the exchanges of experiences of both students and teachers, as well as joint research projects.

In the opening speeches of the scientific symposium, Dr. Nikolaus Freudenberg, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Pathology in Freiburg and Dr. Gunther Neuhaus, Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation in Freiburg, praised the tripartite cooperation that has been going on for over 30 years. Dr. Béla Merkely thanked the organizers for the invitation and the successful organization. He spoke about the fact that Hungarian students and professionals who traveled within the framework of the German partnership could successfully use the scientific knowledge they had gained abroad, thus promoting the development of the university’s educational and clinical activities. He also mentioned that he was one of the first students to take part in the 10-month scholarship program in Heidelberg as well as in Freiburg; he regards his time in Heidelberg as one of the most important periods of his professional life.

Dr. Hans-Günther Sonntag, former dean of Heidelberg University, initiator of Heidelberg-Budapest relations, and Dr. Martin Werner, Director of the Institute of Pathology in Freiburg, and main organizer of the symposium also both spoke about the successful cooperation, history and major milestones experienced over the course of the last 30 years, wishing much success for the meeting participants.

The ceremonial opening was followed by scientific lectures, presented by former Jellinek scholars, professionals and leaders of the three institutions. Those present were able to hear many exciting scientific presentations in areas such as cardiology, oncopathlogy, proteomics, urology, and immunology. With their high-quality presentations, outstanding Hungarian professionals and former scholarship students have further enhanced the reputation of Semmelweis University.

The following specialists were present at the symposium: Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University, Director of the Semmelweis University Heart and Vascular Center; Dr. Péter Ferdinandy Vice-Rector for Science and Innovations, Director of the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy; Dr. András Kiss, Director of the 2nd Department of Pathology, Rector’s Commissioner; Dr. Attila Mócsai, Director of the Foreign Students’ Secretariat, Professor of the Department of Physiology; Dr. Péter Nyirády, Director of the Department of Urology; Dr. Edit Buzás, Director of the Department of Genetics, Cell- and Immunobiology, Dr. Krisztina Márton,  Director of the Department of General Dental Preclinic Practice, Dr. Pál Maurovich-Horvat, Associate Professor of the Semmelweis University Heart and Vascular Center and Dr. Tamás Széll, Department of Urology resident doctor. Among the former scholarship students were Vivien Somogyi, Alex Ali Sayour, Eszter Lévai, Máté Krausz, Zoltán Deák-Ilkó and Lilla Tóth. 

After the conference, a high-level meeting was organized with Dr. Béla Merkely, Dr. Péter Ferdinandy, Dr. András Kiss, Judit Szlovák and Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, who is also the president of the European Confederation of Upper Rhine Universities (EUCOR). At the bilateral meeting, the parties reviewed once more the current and future forms of cooperation, as well as the joint application opportunities of Semmelweis University and EUCOR. Both sides considered the meeting to be extremely successful and encouraged further intensive cooperation. 


Judit Szlovák
Translation: Faye Gillespie
Photo sources: Directorate of International Relations, University of Freiburg