Press Release No. 32 | 10 July 2009
Justice and Morality Today
DFG To Fund Two New Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies
During its summer session, the Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) approved the establishment of two additional Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies. Through this funding instrument, which was introduced in 2008, the DFG aims to boost excellent research in the humanities and social sciences. The main purpose of the Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies is to give outstanding scientists and academics greater freedom to pursue their own research activities, and to do so within a framework that aims to ensure intensive exchange and cooperation between creative researchers in significant, but currently underdeveloped, fields of research.
A total of 13 draft proposals were received for the third call for proposals. The funding period of a Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies is set at eight years, with funding for the two new Centres amounting to approximately 8.4 million euros for the initial four-year funding phase.
The Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies headed by Professor Stefan Gosepath at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main focuses on the topic of justice, with researchers aiming to apply philosophical discussion on theories of justice to specific areas. Their research is based on the ideas of American philosopher John Rawls, and the Centre's researchers intend to develop these in an innovative manner for the issues and interrelationships of political and legal implementation. They intend to do this through intensive exchange with leading international exponents of political theory and political philosophy.
Modern Western societies no longer have an authoritative, generally binding system of norms and values. Ethical issues that arise or are altered as a result of scientific and technological advances quickly become matters of public controversy in today's media society. They often lead to a state of continuous normative debate, characterised by a lack of resources for the explanation and justification of moral and legal norms on which a general consensus can be reached. This is where the work of a new Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies at the University of Münster (WWU) comes in. Under the guidance of professors Thomas Gutmann, Kurt Bayertz, Bettina Schöne-Seifert and Ludwig Siep, the Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies will dedicate itself to clarifying controversial questions in areas where philosophy, medicine, law and biopolitics intersect.
The Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies funding programme was developed as part of the "Humanities Research Funding Initiative" launched by the DFG in 2003. The aim of the initiative was to give a long-term boost to the humanities by extending and modifying the DFG's existing funding programmes in conjuction with research practice in the humanities.