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New endowed professorship at Goethe University Frankfurt to research social transformation of the working world due to digitalization
A new endowed professorship in Digital Transformation and Work will enhance the social science research at the Goethe University and build on the tradition of critical social theory. The contract was signed on November 8, 2022, by the two donors ProLife Foundation and Frankfurt University of Labour along with Goethe University.
FRANKFURT. Digital information, systems and culture have long been key parts of our day-to-day lives and have fundamentally changed the way we work and do business. Success in business is determined, for example, by whether the maximum amount of data is gathered and algorithms are expertly managed, whether the greatest attention is attracted from potential customers and whether offerings are delivered in real time. How is this change occurring and what are the social consequences of the transformation from the industrial to the digital age – for society and particularly for business and the world of work? How do new technologies change social practices and work processes, public opinion and forms of corporate participation and co-determination? The new endowed professorship at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt will explore these questions in depth.
The professorship is financed by an endowment fund from the ProLife Foundation and the University of Labour, an institution supported by the IG Metall metalworkers' union and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). The contract was signed yesterday in the presence of the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Christopher Daase, by Jürgen Eckert, CEO of the ProLife Foundation, Professor Martin Allespach, President of the University of Labour, Rainer Gröbel, Chancellor of the University of Labour, and Professor Enrico Schleiff, President of the Goethe University.
Eckert explained the objective of the new endowment fund: “With this professorship, we want to further understanding of the social consequences of digitization. We can see the technical changes that are coming to the world of work all around us – but we are missing the narrative around what that actually means for people in their working world and living environment". Gröbel went on to say: “From our point of view, this is not about rejecting the digital transformation, but about the question of how we can impart knowledge and skills to deal with the transformation processes to students and employees in companies." The donors emphasized that in choosing the Goethe University they are consciously aiming to draw on the tradition of critical social theory and develop the university's strengths in social philosophy and social research.
“We are very pleased with the trust placed in Goethe University to make significant contributions to solving pressing global challenges in research and teaching", said University President Schleiff. “The fund also gives us the opportunity to strengthen our profile area of Orders and Transmissions, in which colleagues from various faculties and centers at the Goethe University are primarily addressing the question: What does the fundamental digital transformation and its consequences mean for the future of people, nature and the environment?"
“For the Faculty of Social Sciences", says the dean of the faculty, Professor Christopher Daase, “the new professorship offers the holder the opportunity to sharpen their profile in critical social research and demonstrate their political and social relevance."
The ProLife Foundation and the University of Labour already have links to the Goethe University and the Institute for Social Research, the Sigmund Freud Institute, and the Frobenius Institute through their project funding. The endowed professorship will increase the collaboration between the Goethe University and the University of Labour.
Images to download: www.uni-frankfurt.de/128030034
Caption: The contract for the new endowed professorship in Digital Transformation and Work has been signed: (from left) donors Jürgen Eckert, CEO of the ProLife Foundation , Rainer Gröbel, Chancellor of the University of Labour, and Professor Martin Allespach, President of the University of Labor (2nd from right), and Professor Christiane Thompson, Vice President of Teaching, Study and Continuing Education, University President Professor Enrico Schleiff (center) and Professor Christopher Daase, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (right) (photo: Uwe Dettmar)
Axel A. Weber to succeed Otmar Issing as Chairman of the Board of Trustees
After 14 years as chairman of the House of Finance’s (HoF) Board of Trustees, Otmar Issing will be retiring at the end of this year. He will be succeeded by economist and Board of Trustees member Axel A. Weber.
FRANKFURT. As of January 1, 2023, Prof. Dr. Drs. h.c. Axel A. Weber will take over the position of Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the House of Finance. He succeeds Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Otmar Issing, who held the position since the HoF’s inauguration in 2008 and played a key role in establishing the House of Finance as a place for interdisciplinary, finance-related cutting-edge research, policy advice and continuing education.
Axel A. Weber was elected his successor at a Board of Trustees meeting on November 8, 2022. His scientific career and work are a perfect fit for the dialogue between science, politics and financial practice, as lived by and in the House of Finance.
After studying economics at the University of Constance, Axel A. Weber completed his habilitation at the University of Siegen. His academic career also included stations at the University of Bonn, Goethe University Frankfurt as well as the University of Cologne, where he held the Chair of International Economics from 2001 to 2004. During this time, Weber also served as member of the German Council of Economic Experts and the scientific advisory board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, the central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany, among others. In April 2004, the economist took over as President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, a post he held until spring 2011. From May 2012 to April 2022, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS Group AG.
Otmar Issing, who will hand over the baton to Axel A. Weber at the end of the year, is certain that the future of the House of Finance is in the best hands with his successor, who, just like himself, is familiar with all the House of Finance’s areas of activity: "I am delighted that with Axel A. Weber we have been able to win over an academic for the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees who combines the experience of excellent researcher, top manager and banker in one person."
When he leaves office at the end of the year, Otmar Issing will hand over a well-functioning house that is home to, among others, two university departments from the Faculties of Law as well as Economics and Business, graduate and advanced education institutions and several research institutes or units, including the Leibniz Institute SAFE – itself an example of how under Ottmar Issing’s patronage, the HoF has been able to develop as an interdisciplinary incubator of finance research and knowledge transfer in politics and society.
The designated successor, Axel A. Weber, is looking forward to supporting and further developing the House of Finance, whose concept of interdisciplinary, internationally networked research and teaching is more relevant than ever, in its contribution to tackling the challenging issues of the present and the future: "In Frankfurt am Main, we need excellent finance research to provide policy-makers and the financial sector with orientation and know-how throughout the ongoing transformation processes, and we must continue to foster the education and training of qualified young professionals in this field. To that end, we intend to make even greater use of the opportunities offered by a comprehensive university in the future."
Images for download: https://www.uni-frankfurt.de/128052902
Image 1: Professor Otmar Issing will step down as Chairman of House of Finance’s Board of Trustees after 14 years. (Photo: Uwe Dettmar)
Image 2: In the future, economist Prof. Axel A. Weber will hold the reins at the HoF's Board of Trustees. (Photo: UBS)
Evaluation report recognizes outstanding work in research and education
The team of the Fritz Bauer Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt can be pleased about a recent laudation by the German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat). Despite its “low staffing", the Council testifies to the Institute's "impressive achievements" – and suggests better financing. Another positive development, the Council says, is the closer cooperation with Goethe University, made possible by a cooperative professorship.
FRANKFURT. Combining high-quality research and a wide range of educational offerings is something the Fritz Bauer Institute does very well despite its limited staffing. That is the conclusion reached in an evaluation of the German Science and Humanities Council, which was commissioned by the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts. The Frankfurt-based institute's research on National Socialist crimes of violence, and especially on the Holocaust, as well as on the legal and societal handling of these crimes after 1945, is of high quality, the report said. "Research on the Holocaust and the conveyance of a critical awareness of history remain greatly important today, especially in Germany. The Fritz Bauer Institute makes a valuable contribution to this, one that in future should resonate even more on the international stage," Dorothea Wagner, Council chairwoman, was quoted as saying in a press release.
In the face of the pandemic, the Institute had offered its lecture events online – both as a livestream and also for later accessing. The public's response to the offer was great, and the Institute was able to expand its reach. That is why the German Science and Humanities Council recommends maintaining the online offer, while at the same time emphasizing that this would require better staffing. It is not just the Institute's education and outreach activities that are thinly staffed, the Council's evaluation found, but also the areas of IT, digitization and media support in particular. It is solely thanks to the exceptionally high commitment of the employees that the Institute is able to uphold its extensive and high-quality services. The German authority recommends a moderate increase in the number of base-funded positions and an annual increase in the budget to keep pace with rising costs.
"We are happy about this great appreciation of our work," comments Prof. Sybille Steinbacher, who has headed the institute since 2017 and holds the specially created professorship on "Researching the History and Impact of the Holocaust" at Goethe University's Department of History. "Although we are a small institute, we do a lot. The fact that our potential is recognized and appreciated is important for us and will hopefully be reflected in an increase in our funding." The evaluation formulated expectations with regard to digitization, internationalization and networking, which had in fact already been set in motion. "We are glad that the Council report confirmed that this cannot be achieved without an increase in personnel. We are fully aware that these are financially difficult times, but we urgently need more funds, especially for our digital offerings, for outreach work in and outside of schools, and for our exhibitions," Steinbacher said.
"We are pleased to have the independent Fritz Bauer Institute working closely with us, especially thanks to the establishment of a cooperative professorship at the History Department," said Goethe University President Prof. Enrico Schleiff. "The Fritz Bauer Institute conducts research at the highest level and will increasingly explore its research questions in an interdisciplinary manner – a development that is in line with the entire Goethe University. After all, solutions to the challenges facing society as a whole must be as diverse and multi-perspective as the challenge itself. Doing that puts a comprehensive university enriched by affiliated institutes in a position to research the knowledge for tomorrow," Schleiff continued.
The Fritz Bauer Institute was founded in 1995 as a foundation under civil law. It was named after Fritz Bauer (1903-1968), the Hessian attorney general who set the first Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt in motion. In 2000, the Fritz Bauer Institute became an independent cultural institute affiliated with Goethe University. In 2017, the institute's director was for the first time jointly appointed with Goethe University, and Prof. Sybille Steinbacher has held this position ever since. From the time of its founding, the Fritz Bauer Institute has closely linked research on the Holocaust and its impact and reception history with mediation and documentation. The Institute implements research projects, publications, scientific and public events as well as traveling exhibitions. It is also involved in teaching at Goethe University's History Department. The Institute is financed by the State of Hesse and the City of Frankfurt; a further, smaller share is provided by the friends' association Fritz Bauer Institute e.V. Goethe University also contributes to the financing by providing infrastructure. In addition, the Fritz Bauer Institute also draws on third-party funding from foundations and the public sector to finance its research projects, which currently include several on the history of Frankfurt under National Socialism. Apart from that, a fund endowed by and named after the Frankfurt physician Dorothee Freudenberg was established in 2020, enabling both research projects and scholarships, especially on the history of "euthanasia" in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe.
The German Science and Humanities Council's press release (in German) can be accessed here.
Images for download: https://www.uni-frankfurt.de/127353222
Photo 1: "We are happy about this great appreciation of our work." Prof. Sybille Steinbacher has served as head of the Fritz Bauer Institute since 2017. (Photo: Niels P. Jørgensen)
Photo 2: Fritz Bauer at Club Voltaire, pictured between 1965 and 1968. (Photo: Siegfried Träger, Fritz Bauer Institute, Frankfurt am Main)
Photo 3: A look inside the archives of the Fritz Bauer Institute. (Photo: Werner Lott)
Photo 4: The Fritz Bauer Institute is located in the IG Farben House on Goethe University's Westend Campus. (Photo: Werner Lott)
Two new Research Training Groups at Goethe University
Goethe University has attracted two new German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) Research Training Groups. Based in Frankfurt, "Fixing Futures" deals with the anticipation of "futures" and how societies, organisations and individuals prepare for them. The second Research Training Group was jointly applied for with the Technical University Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt) and is dedicated to the question of how "standards of governance" change the possibility of collective self-determination.
FRANKFURT. The German Research Foundation yesterday announced eleven new Research Training Groups, two of which are located at Goethe University and focus on the social sciences. Offering new perspectives for young researchers who want to qualify in this field, the Research Training Group "Fixing Futures" ties in with the Master's program "Science and Technology Studies. Economies, Governance, Life" and the interdisciplinary research network "Lab for Studies in Science and Technology". Spokesperson is sociologist Prof. Thomas Lemke, with cultural anthropologist Prof. Dr. Gisela Welz acting as co-spokesperson.
Although people have always wondered what the future might hold, the question has never been as pressing as today. Contemporary societies find themselves confronted with new kinds of political, economic and ecological challenges – including, for example, in connection with global warming, pandemics and new refugee movements. In order to be prepared for the future, scenarios and problematic situations are anticipated, often focusing on technological solutions. The future is "fixed" – a term that holds a dual meaning: "On the one hand, it refers to the act of stabilising futures so that one can prepare for them. But on the other, it also connotes the act of repairing futures that are seen as deficient," explains Prof. Lemke, who will be working in the Research Training Group with eight other researchers. In addition to sociology and cultural anthropology, researchers from human geography are also involved in “Fixing Futures".
How do you prepare for events that you expect to happen in the future? What precautions are taken? How are these decisions justified? What if the future turns out different and you are not prepared? Misjudgments of this kind can have serious repercussions. The Research Training Group will examine three areas: economies, governance and life. What is striking to spokesman Lemke is that technological solutions are offered in all areas – with the decisions often left to the individual. He points to the example of so-called social freezing, i.e. the conscious choice to postpone the desire to have children into the future in the interest of one's career. "Why aren't these issues discussed socially," he asks. Whether we are talking about a gene bank for extinct animal species or a switch to e-mobility, Lemke continues, people often rely on the credo that "technologies will save us" – when they could just as well be thinking about how to address the structural conditions of the problems. The question of power also plays a major role, Lemke points out, adding that nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of climate change: Those who suffer most from the consequences are neither responsible for the causes nor do they have any significant say in finding possible solutions.
A total of 14 positions must now be filled until the Research Training Group starts its work – ten for doctoral students and two for postdocs. According to Lemke, the Research Training Group will optimally prepare them for a wide range of professional fields and institutions in the academic sector and beyond.
The second new Research Training Group is entitled "Standards of Governance" and was jointly applied for by Goethe University and TU Darmstadt. Its spokesperson is Jens Steffek, Professor of Transnational Governance at TU Darmstadt. Democracy researcher Prof. Sandra Seubert will assume the role of deputy spokesperson. The cross-locational Research Training Group deals with the concept of "good governance", which comprises general norms such as transparency, participation and accountability of those in power. Initially, the Research Training Group will consist of two groups of ten doctoral students each. Seubert emphasizes that this is not just about recruiting young scientists: "In view of the tasks and problems facing democratic societies today, it is very important to train young people well for different areas of politics, and to connect the knowledge generated scientifically with society."
Funding for the two Research Training Groups "Fixing Futures" and "Standards of Governance" will begin on April 1, 2023, and initially run for five years. There is an option to continue the funding for another four years.
Images for download: https://www.uni-frankfurt.de/127949666
These professors are involved in the new Research Training Aroup "Fixing Futures": Thomas Lemke (photo: Mafra Merielli), Martina Klausner (photo: private), Peter Lindner (photo: A. Nikulin), Thomas Scheffer (photo: Uwe Dettmar), Marc Boeckler (photo: private), Lizzie Richardson (photo: private), Barbara Brandl (photo: Jan-Frederik Bandel), Josef Barla (photo: Merielli Mafra), Gisela Welz (photo: private).
Prof. Dr. Thomas Lemke
Sociology with a focus on biotechnologies, nature and society
Institute of Sociology
Phone: +49 (0)69 798-36664
"Standards of Governance":
Prof. Dr. Sandra Seubert
Political Science with a focus on Political Theory
Institute for Political Science
Phone: +49 (0)69 798-36553
Forum deepens the transatlantic conversation in times of threats to democratic governance and lifestyles
BAD HOMBURG/FRANKFURT. On Friday, November 4, 2022, the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum was officially inaugurated before a full auditorium in the lecture hall of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften. The forum is named after John J. McCloy, who served as U.S. High Commissioner in Frankfurt from 1949 to 1952.
Present at the ceremony were Goethe University President Professor Enrico Schleiff, the Mayor of Bad Homburg Alexander W. Hetjes, and the forum's initiators: Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften Director Professor Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, the spokespersons of the "Democratic Vistas" research area Professor Gunther Hellmann and Professor Johannes Völz, as well as the Bad Homburg-based forum sponsors Bernd von Maltzan and Felix Hufeld. Guest of honor was John J. McCloy II, son of U.S. High Commissioner John J. McCloy. The keynote was given by Professor Charles A. Kupchan of Georgetown University, an expert on U.S.-European relations, who served as special advisor to President Barack Obama and as a member of the U.S. Security Council. In his introductory remarks, Kupchan spoke about the West's enduring strengths as well as its vulnerability in the world of tomorrow.The forum's goals
The new forum at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften brings together personalities from academia, politics, culture and business to discuss the significance of transatlantic relations in the crisis-ridden present. In fostering this dialog, it aims to help strengthen the form of democracy that has emerged in the transatlantic setting and develop it further in the context of a changing world order.
The forum's name commemorates the Americans' commitment to the development of German democracy in the postwar period. However, Johannes Völz, co-spokesman of the related research focus "Democratic Vistas," emphasized that "our aim is not to unreflectively revive the old transatlantic community of values." That, Völz said, would be too short-sighted. While the Forum remains committed to the transatlantic idea, he said that nowadays it is important to examine Western democracies in their interconnectedness with a North-South and an East-West axis.
The new forum was initiated by Forschungskolleg director Matthias Lutz-Bachmann and the two research project spokespersons. Bernd von Maltzan accompanied and promoted the forum from the very beginning. In his words: "As [German] Foreign Minister Baerbock recently put it, it is extremely important now to use the 'transatlantic moment' to counter the current challenges threatening democracy. As someone who grew up in the postwar era and is deeply grateful to the Americans for their contribution to building German civil society, I would like to contribute to that cause by supporting the exchange of ideas among scholars and policymakers at the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum."
Future forum and research focus activities have already received commitments for funding, meaning democracy researchers will be able to come to the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften for guest visits as early as fall 2023 to contribute to the forum and its research focus.
Forum namesake John J. McCloy lived in Bad Homburg.
John J. McCloy served as American High Commissioner in Frankfurt from 1949 to 1952 and lived with his family in "Haus Hohenbuchen" on the edge of Bad Homburg's “Kurpark", the spa gardens. His son, John J. McCloy II, now almost 85 years old, has vivid and fond memories of the years he spent there as a youth. In his speech at the forum's opening, he emphasized that naming it after his father was a great honor and privilege for him. After all, he added, the forum builds on his parents' firm conviction that culture, science, education and social commitment are crucial building blocks for the development of democratic societies. His mother, for example, was known throughout Bad Homburg and beyond for her social commitment as well as for the events she organized. Bad Homburg Mayor Alexander Hetjes presented the guest of honor with a large volume of photographs on the history of Bad Homburg, saying, "The name of John J. McCloy and his wife Ellen enjoys a very good reputation in Bad Homburg to this day."
Images for download: www.uni-frankfurt.de/127827194
1. Inauguration of the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum: Rush McCloy, Alexander Hetjes, Laura McCloy, Enrico Schleiff, John McCloy III, Bernd von Maltzan, John McCloy II, Gunther Hellmann, Charles Kupchan, Johannes Völz, Felix Hufeld, Iris Koban, Matthias Lutz-Bachmann.
2. First John McCloy Transatlantic Forum: Professor Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, Professor Johannes Völz, Professor Charles Kupchan, Professor Gunther Hellmann
Photos: Stefanie Wetzel
Website of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften: www.forschungskolleg-humanwissenschaften.de
Event recording: The event, including the speech given by Charles Kupchan, was recorded, and the video will be made available on the Forschungskolleg's YouTube channel in the coming days.
Contact: Iris Helene Koban
Managing Director Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften
firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel.: +49 (0)6172 13977-10
email@example.com; Tel.: +49 (0)6172 13977-15