Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz establishes new postgraduate research groups in the humanities and social sciences

Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers to fund six mini-graduate schools for two years to the tune of some EUR 500,000


The Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers (GYR) of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has approved the establishment of six new postgraduate research groups and will be providing EUR 520,000 to finance these in the coming two years. The GYR was established in the summer of 2014 with the aim of providing targeted support to young researchers at Mainz University, with a particular emphasis on the humanities and social sciences. The Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers will have up to EUR 1,000,000 available annually for this purpose to 2016. The recently approved postgraduate groups are in the fields of Economics, Psychology, Intercultural German Studies, Protestant Theology, Educational Research and Education, and Sociology. These will be mini-graduate schools with small groups of three to five excellent young researchers who will be dealing with interdisciplinary research issues. Funding will be provided through scholarships.

The combined Economics and Psychology mini-graduate school on "Dynamics of Workloads and Stress" will be looking at the relationship between workload and psychological stress. Psychological stress at work has enormous economic consequences. It is assumed that chronological factors are of fundamental relevance to the development and management of stress, and these are now to be studied by means of an interdisciplinary approach involving psychologists, economists, and business education specialists.

The mini-graduate school "Politics of Translation," which will be based at Faculty 06: Translation Studies, Linguistics, and Cultural Studies in Germersheim, will be considering the political aspects of both oral and written translation. The group will use as its working hypothesis the assumption that previous interpretations of the concept of translation do not adequately take into consideration the challenges of an increasingly accelerating rate of international networking and globalization. Their aim will thus be to outline a definition of translation that takes into account actors, processes, and products of translation in complex socio-political contexts.

The Protestant Theology mini-graduate school on "Time Dimensions in the Foundation of Ethics" will constructively continue and expand on the work already undertaken in the "Ethics in Antiquity and Christianity” research center. The center, formed in 2009, is concerned mainly with the ethics of the Biblical scriptures as well as of early Christianity and late antiquity. Thanks to the methodological and theoretical approach employed, it is possible to draw parallels with current problems in ethics, such as the discussion surrounding aspects of sustainability.

The postgraduate group "Integrated Education Research in Didactics and Educational Sciences" will be a joint project of the Center for Educational and Higher Education Research and the Educational Psychology division of the Institute of Psychology. The aim is to provide for the research-oriented qualification of teachers and put in place the cornerstone of a system that provides teachers with the opportunity to conduct a more academic analysis of their profession and also enable them to obtain a doctorate. For this reason, the professors of Didactics of Romance Languages, of Didactics of English, and of Didactics of Biology will also be involved in the supervision of doctoral projects.

"Living in Transitions. Young Adults between Continuity and Discontinuity in Education, Work, and Family" is the topic that will be studied by a further postgraduate research group in the fields of Education and Sociology. They will be focusing on the greatly altered life situation of young adults who today are confronted with job insecurity, the dismantling of welfare state institutions, a greater need for flexibility and mobility, increased labor intensity, and uncertain expectations for the future.

In the interdisciplinary research project "Materiality and Sociality in Culture and Society," the doctoral students involved will be considering the role and importance of objects and materials, signs and substances. They will be using, as examples, the teaching of a natural science subject (sociology), the production of works of art (art history), and the historical emergence of economic representations (historical studies). The interplay of human actions and material entities will be of particular interest. The dissertations will promote the establishment of an interdisciplinary research network in which the various social and cultural studies disciplines at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz will participate.