German Research Foundation approves research training group to study extreme experiences in human life
A group of young researchers will examine extreme experiences in human life using biomedical explanations and worldly experience
The German Research Foundation (DFG) is establishing a new research training group at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The interdisciplinary group will examine how new biomedical capabilities can lead to extreme experiences in human life. Specifically, it deals with issues arising from the technologically assisted reproduction or medically assisted death. The DFG Research Training Group "Life Sciences, Life Writing: Boundary Experiences of Human Life between Biomedical Explanation and Lived Experience" offers 12 doctoral candidates a structured research and training program, where they can gain qualifications and early scientific independence starting April 2014. The German Research Foundation will initially provide approximately EUR 2 million for four and a half years.
"We want this research training group to expand the natural sciences–medical research perspective of extreme experience in human life to include the worldly experience that the Humanities and Cultural Studies examine. Doing so promises to provide us with new perspectives on people as human beings," said the coordinator of the new DFG research training group and director of the Institute of the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine, Professor Norbert W. Paul. The group will focus on extreme experiences in physicality, such as that in eating disorders, in capabilities, including the ability to become a member of society for those suffering posttraumatic stress disorder, or with regard to temporal dimensions, including the life-long impact people suffer from premature birth.
The goal of the new research training group is to develop joint methodological approaches to extreme human experience where medicine, the individual, and society interact. "Our group will serve as a platform for young researchers to examine the tension between biomedical explanations and worldly dimensions and to research what we refer to as extreme experiences in human life. One such extreme experience is medically assisted death," emphasized Paul.
Graduate and postgraduate scholarships for the structured research and training program will be awarded in a competition. Successful applicants from the Natural Sciences, Medicine, the Humanities, and Cultural Studies will then have joint supervision from a representative of Biomedicine/Life Sciences as well as Life Writing/Humanities and Cultural Studies.
In addition to the Institute of the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine and the American Studies division of Mainz University, who are in charge of the "Life Sciences, Life Writing" research training group, it will also include participation from the disciplines of Cultural Anthropology, Pharmaceutical Biology, Molecular Biology, Psychosomatics, Child and Youth Psychology as well as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB). "Our joint goal is to provide a worldly perspective to the compliment clinical care and to provide Humanities and Cultural Studies scholars with a practical focus to access real-world practices in research and health care," explained Professor Mita Banerjee, co-spokesperson for the research training group and Professor of American Studies at the JGU Department of English and Linguistics.
"The establishment of the new interdisciplinary Life Sciences, Life Writing DFG Research Training Group emphasizes once more the importance that our university places on training young researchers across disciplines," emphasized Professor Georg Krausch, President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "This research training group is an excellent example of a beneficial cooperation between the Mainz University Medical Center and the Humanities and Cultural Studies at JGU," added the Chief Scientific Officer of the Mainz University Medical Center, Professor Ulrich Förstermann.