"From Vision to a Global Research Community” was the theme of the 20th EUROLAB anniversary celebration held on May18th 2017 at GESIS, Cologne. With its humble beginnings marked by the arrival of its first guest researchers in spring 1997, EUROLAB blossomed into an established institution, not only providing to European and, later international researchers with access to research data, individual work spaces but also, the opportunity to connect to other like-minded researchers.
Since its foundation, the field of activities of EUROLAB has changed several times: between 1997 and 2010 EUROLAB was funded by three different European Commission programs. In 2007 it became part of the data archive as an integral part of GESIS. Since 2011, EUROLAB scholarships have been awarded every six months, enabling guest researchers to spend one month at GESIS, EUROLAB. In the same year, the first of four EUROLAB authors’ conferences were held, where experts from all over the world were invited to discuss socially relevant topics. The last major change took place in October 2016, when EUROLAB became part of the newly created department "Knowledge Transfer". Since then it functions as the gateway for research stays at GESIS. In addition, the GESIS Grant, a new scholarship program, was implemented in 2017, allowing representatives of science and infrastructure institutions to work conjointly on projects with GESIS employees for up to three months.
On May 18th, during the 20th anniversary, EUROLAB thoroughly discussed the most recent changes along with its most captivating future tasks and challenges ahead. To that regard, Ekkehard Mochmann, founder of EUROLAB, conveyed the need for access to comparative data for social scientists and the importance of the role of the EUROLAB for the benefit of the scientific community. Afterwards, Ingvill C. Mochmann presented the recent developments of the EUROLAB, such as the implementation of EUROLAB authors’ conferences and statistics on EUROLAB guest researchers since 1997. The guest researcher Antonio Alaminos from the University of Alicante as well as the guest researcher Nataliya Reshetova, Leibniz-DAAD scholar, reported their respective experiences and acknowledged the importance of EUROLAB for their career. Moreover, Jacques Thomassen gave an insight into the importance of EUROLAB from the point of view of the selection committee for the EUROLAB scholarships. Lastly, Angela Schindler-Daniels from the ‘Kooperationsstelle EU der Wissenschaftsorganisationen’, Birgit Klüsener from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Christof Wolf, President of GESIS discussed the future of EUROLAB and the mobility of researchers and research collaborations in times of globalization.