New International Research Center "Maria Sibylla Merian Centre for Advanced Studies"

Cooperation Agreement Signed in Presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and China’s Premier Li Keqiang

No 186/2018 from Jul 09, 2018

A declaration of intent to found an international research center involving Freie Universität Berlin was signed on Monday in the German Federal Chancellery in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Vice president Klaus Mühlhahn signed for Freie Universität Berlin; the vice president of Peking University, Professor Dr. Tian Gang, signed for the cooperation partner. The new Maria Sibylla Merian Centre for Advanced Studies will be funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and will be dedicated to research into the consequences of major social transformation processes. Of five Merian Centres in Germany, it is the second with participation by Freie Universität. Other partners on the German side will include the universities of Göttingen, Heidelberg, Munich (LMU), and Würzburg.

The new Maria Sibylla Merian Centre is scheduled to take up its work in 2019 and can be funded for a maximum of 12 years. The goal is to set up a network of German and Chinese partners based at Peking University. The researchers will explore social and cultural changes in the globalized world in a long-term historical and comparative perspective. Specifically, they will examine institutions, media, the environment, narratives, and emotions in an interdisciplinary and comparative way, for example with regard to the consequences of migration and globalization. The focus will be on cooperation between the social sciences, cultural studies, the humanities, and regional studies.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research finances Maria Sibylla Merian Centres with the aim of promoting internationalization in the social sciences, cultural studies, and the humanities. The centers are named after a German naturalist and artist (1647-1717). The centers are located at a research institution of the host country and are set up and operated by German research institutions in cooperation with the host institution and the participation of other partners. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research already supports four Merian Centres in India, Africa, and South America. Researchers based at Freie Universität coordinate the collaboration at the research center located at the University of São Paulo. They explore problems of social, political, religious, and cultural coexistence in Latin America and the Caribbean.


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