Gutenberg Research College welcomes new fellows and bestows the 2018 Gutenberg Research Award

Award ceremony at the annual celebration of Mainz University's expert body for the promotion of cutting-edge research

1 June 2018

On Monday this week, the Gutenberg Research College (GRC), serving as the core strategic instrument to promote top-level research at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), presented the 2018 Gutenberg Research Award and welcomed four new fellows at its annual celebration. This year’s Gutenberg Research Award, worth EUR 10,000, went to Adela Yarbro Collins, Professor of New Testament Studies, and John J. Collins, Professor of Old Testament Studies, both of Yale University. The GRC hereby acknowledges the remarkable research achievements of these American theologians and their extraordinary international reputations.

GRC fellows are outstanding researchers and artists working at JGU and elsewhere. They receive GRC funding that enables them to dedicate themselves to the promotion of science and the arts at Mainz University. To date, the GRC has awarded 55 fellowships.

The GRC has officially welcomed the following four new fellows:

  • Professor Claus Arnold, Medieval and Modern Church History, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
  • Professor Peter Baumann, Molecular Biology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH
  • Professor Edward A. Lemke, Synthetic Biophysics, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH
  • Professor Elisabeth Oy-Marra, Art History of the Early Modern Period, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

Professor Claus Arnold and Professor Elisabeth Oy-Marra have been awarded two so-called 'homestretch' fellowships ("Zielgerade"), which were first instituted last year. Their purpose is to facilitate the completion of large research or publication projects by making resources available to pay for teaching substitutes for the corresponding fellows over two to three semesters. "We often see that – particularly in the humanities – a respite from teaching responsibilities can prove to be of considerable value and can contribute significantly to the progress of research," said Professor Thomas Hieke, Director of the GRC and Professor of Old Testament Studies at the JGU Faculty of Catholic Theology. "The GRC executive committee was in the lucky position to select from a number of nominations. We are looking forward to seeing the results of the research and expect other outstanding applications for next year."

The fellowships for Professor Peter Baumann and Professor Edward Lemke, who both work in the field of biology, and next year's fellowship for biologist Dr. Marion Silies, who will join Mainz University in January 2019, relate to the generational change that is currently taking place in the JGU Faculty of Biology. Recently, 18 of 23 professors retired and their positions had to be filled. In this context, the faculty reorganized its eight institutes into just three. "We are delighted that we have been able to contribute to the recruitment of top-class researchers to professorships in Mainz by granting GRC fellowships to Peter Baumann, Edward Lemke, and next year to Marion Silies, thus also helping foster the reorientation of the Faculty of Biology," emphasized Hieke. "This very example demonstrates that providing support to individual researchers can be linked to strategic considerations for improving the focus of the university's research profile."

Established in 2007 during the first phase of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments, the GRC is the oldest of what are now three strategic expert bodies. Their tasks are to promote research, teaching, and young academics through a variety of measures. The GRC executive committee consists of outstanding researchers at JGU and at cooperating research institutions together with students. It makes decisions on the awarding of GRC fellowships and advises the university administration and the faculties on aspects of strategy, such as the establishment of research units, the restructuring of institutes, and submissions to excellence competitions.