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New Young Researchers Join the Cluster “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”

Press Release No. 1/2009
17 07 2009
Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies: doctoral grants for the second year
From autumn of this year, 16 outstanding young researchers from nine different countries will be working on their doctorates at Heidelberg University’s cluster of excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”. They will receive a three-year doctoral grant in the framework of the Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies (GPTS). The young scholars were selected in a two-tier application process from a total of 164 applicants from 53 nations.

During their studies the budding scholars will be working on subjects like rage and madness in western and Islamic cultures from the 12th to the 14th century, the control of complex information flows in and about China in the 21st century and causes of stress affecting seamstresses in Bangladesh. The over 160 applications for the GPTS indicate the keen interest aroused by the Heidelberg Graduate Programme. The Programme is now in its second year and the number of applicants this time is about 30 percent higher than it was last year.

“The worldwide response to our Graduate Programme is a further indication of the international relevance of research into transcultural exchange processes,” says GPTS director Dr. Martin Gieselmann. “And we intend to press ahead with it here in Heidelberg.” At present, says Dr. Gieselmann, some two thirds of the applications received come from students from Asia.

The Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies is a central component of the “Asia and Europe” cluster established at Heidelberg University with funding from the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal Government and the state governments. At the Karl Jaspers Centre for Transcultural Research, the headquarters of the cluster of excellence, the young scholars have an outstanding infrastructure at their disposal and profit from close contact with experienced researchers from various disciplines.

In the first year of the Graduate Programme the doctoral students attend introductory classes on various aspects of transculturality and flesh out their research projects. The second year is devoted to field work and in the third year they complete their dissertations. The young scholars receive help and advice from mentors. “This structure provides a mixture of close supervision and research freedom,” says Dr. Gieselmann. To enhance the intercultural nature of its research environment, the cluster awards about half of its grants to applicants from Asia and the other half to graduates from western countries.

For more information go to

Iris Mucha
Cluster “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”
phone: +49 6221 544008

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