Press releases


Jun 3 2019

The Baker McKenzie Award 2018 presented for two outstanding dissertations on commercial law at Goethe University  

Award-winning dissertations on investment protection law and substance law 

FRANKFURT. On the occasion of the doctoral awards ceremony of the Faculty of Law at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Baker McKenzie presented the prize for two outstanding dissertations in the field of commercial law on 10th May 2019. Donated by the international law firm and endowed with 6,000 euros, the Baker McKenzie Award went to the legal scholars Dr. Greg Lourie and Dr. Stefanie Merenyi, whose doctoral theses were honoured with 'summa cum laude'. Dr. Joachim Scherer, partner at Baker McKenzie, presented the award. 

The award-winning thesis of Dr. Greg Lourie is entitled "Interpretation of Investment Agreements. A new Concept for the Interpretation of Investment Agreements through Amicable Means and State-to-State Arbitration". The starting point of his paper is that international investment protection law (IIL) is currently facing a crisis. "Greg's work contributes to overcoming the legitimacy crisis of IIL, or at least its dispute resolution system. It shows a creative and feasible way and proposes to rely on state-to-state dispute settlement (SSDS) and to (re)include the states as 'masters of the treaties'," comments mentoring professor Dr. Rainer Hofmann, professor for Public Law, International Law and European Law at Goethe University, in his evaluation of the dissertation. 

Dr. Stefanie Merenyi receives the award for her dissertation "The Concept of Substance in Law. An Interdisciplinary Study on Substance Law in Consideration of Patent-Related Matters" (Der Stoffbegriff im Recht. Eine interdisziplinäre Studie zum Stoffrecht unter Berücksichtigung des auf Stoffe gerichteten Patentwesens). "Stefanie Merenyi concludes that, despite the significance of the concept of substance in modern law, no adequate reflection on its foundations takes place," says Professor Eckard Rehbinder, Institute for International and European Private Law and Comparative Law at Goethe University, who supervised the dissertation. He describes the dissertation as "an interdisciplinary thesis in the best sense of the word", bridging the gap between human sciences and natural sciences. In his opinion, Stefanie Merenyi masters the keyboard of numerous scientific disciplines perfectly. 

Since 1988, Baker McKenzie has awarded the Prize for outstanding dissertations or professorial theses written at the Faculty of Law at Goethe University. "The Baker McKenzie Award is a traditional, integral part of our promotion of young legal talent," says Dr. Joachim Scherer of Baker McKenzie, who himself studied law, earned his doctorate and was appointed extraordinary professor of public law in 1995 at Goethe University. The career paths of the previous winners of the Baker McKenzie Award are manifold. Many award winners are university professors today, as well as corporate lawyers, investment bankers, judges and lawyers. 

Baker McKenzie advises clients on managing the challenges of globalisation, in particular with regard to legal issues that cross national borders and areas of law. The firm, which was founded more than 65 years ago, employs 13,000 individuals worldwide. In Germany, approximately 200 lawyers work at offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt/Main and Munich. A leading German law firm, Baker McKenzie advises national and international companies and institutions in all areas of commercial law.  

Further information: Iris Meinking, Senior Manager, HR Communications, Tel. -49 69 299 08 322,

Portraits may be downloaded at: 
Captions: Dr. Stefanie Merenyi received the Baker McKenzie Award for her work on substance law. (Credit: Merenyi) Dr. Greg Lourie was received the Baker McKenzie Award for his work on investment protection law. (Credit: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton)


May 29 2019

Ceremonial presentation of the „Cambridge Habermas Lexicon“ at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften

Cambridge University Press publishes lexicon on Jürgen Habermas

FRANKFURT. A great honour for Jürgen Habermas: in the year of his 90th birthday, Cambridge University Press has published an extensive lexicon about the philosopher and sociologist who was a professor at the Institute for Philosophy at Goethe University until 1994. The international team of authors includes academics from Goethe University. The two editors Amy Allen and Eduardo Mendieta personally presented the compendium to Jürgen Habermas on Monday May 27 at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften in Bad Homburg. 

In more than 200 entries, Habermas' basic concepts, categories and topics are explained and their intellectual and academic context detailed. The palette of more than 120 concepts extends from “aesthetics" to “world disclosure"; the list of important Habermas-related thinkers begins with Theodor W. Adorno and ends with Iris Marion Young. The Frankfurt philosophers Axel Honneth and Reiner Forst are discussed in the chapter “Names Associated". The work is characterised by a system of references between individual entries and literature for further reading on each topic. In addition, it contains an overview of Jürgen Habermas' academic career, a list of his works, and an extensive bibliography. The publishers hope that the lexicon will serve as a source of reference for academics, students and other readers interested in Habermas' work and its reception in the 20th and 21st century. 

Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, professor for philosophy at Goethe University, and director of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften emphasized that the “Cambridge Habermas Lexicon" demonstrates Habermas' towering importance. “Yes, I would even go so far as to state that Jürgen Habermas is the worldwide most important philosopher of all philosophers living today. And we can be proud and grateful that he is a member of the Institute for Philosophy at Goethe University and a frequent guest at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, as well as at the Frankfurt Excellence Cluster 'The Formation of Normative Orders'. We have all learned immensely from him to this day." 

Lutz-Bachmann also announced that a new book by Habermas is expected to be published this year: “In the fall of this year, at the age of almost 90, this great philosopher and important intellectual stimulator will be submitting his 1,700-page late work in two volumes, “Diskurs über Glauben und Wissen" (Discourse on Faith and Knowledge) to Suhrkamp. We had the privilege of discussing preliminary passages from this work in a small work group two years ago during a workshop over several days at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften. This work lets us see his intellectual brilliance once more from a totally new perspective." 

Amy Allen, Eduardo Mendieta (eds.): The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon. Cambridge University Press 2019 

Further Information: Beate Sutterlüty, Fellow Programme and Scientific Communication, Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften Bad Homburg. Phone: +49 6172-13977-15; ;


May 29 2019

Researchers at Goethe University launch a website on the status of women working in economic research institutions in Europe

Leaky pipeline: women subject to disadvantages in career development

FRANKFURT. A website presenting the results from a web-based tracking tool about the proportion of women working in economic research institutions in European countries was launched on Tuesday, May 28. The new website provides extensive and reliable data, without which the status of women in economics would be impossible to assess. Using a web-scraping algorithm, data is collected from the public websites of all research institutions in Europe, with particular focus on Europe's 300 most highly ranked economics research institutions. 

The website is the result of years of work. It began with an idea from the Women in Economics Committee of the European Economic Association (EEA), whose objectives include collecting data on the status of women in economics professions in Europe. WinE Committee member Guido Friebel, and Sascha Wilhelm, both at Goethe University Frankfurt, expanded the data collection efforts with financial support from EEA. Friebel is also a fellow at CEPR in London and IZA in Bonn. 

The website presents information about the proportion of women in different positions in universities, business schools, and other institutions. It paints a similar picture for Europe as in the USA, but there are substantial differences between the countries and regions of Europe. Institutions that rank higher in terms of their research output tend to have less women in senior positions. The finding supports the "leaky pipeline" hypothesis, according to which women are subject to a double burden, resulting in disadvantages in their career development. Surprisingly, higher ranking institutions also employ few women at the junior level as well. The website is meant to help promote the debate about women's representation in society, and to develop avenues for further data collection and research. 


Further information: Professor Guido Friebel, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Goethe University Frankfurt. Phone: +49 69 798-34823; Sascha Wilhelm,


May 29 2019

International symposium at Goethe-University analyses contemporary literature and how it diagnoses the times

Japan between 1989 and 2019

FRANKFURT. A symposium entitled “Texts of the Heisei Era – Readings of Contemporary Japanese Literature" organised by Japanese Studies at Goethe University will take place on 6 and 7 June 2019. Academics from Japan, the USA, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany will speak at the event, including Victoria Young from the University of Cambridge, Yoshio Hitomi from the School of Culture, Media and Society, Waseda University Tôkyô, American lyrics researcher Jeffrey Angles and renowned Japan expert Michiko Mae from Düsseldorf. A younger generation of researchers whose focus is on literature will also take part. 

The turn of eras in Japan gave rise to the conference. Contemporary Japanese literature, the “Literature of the Heisei Era" (Heisei bungaku), beginning in 1989 with the death of Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) and the end of the Shôwa era, developed over three decades until the abdication of the Heisei-Emperor Akihito on 30 April 2019, when it entered the realm of historicity. The current governmental maxim under Emperor Naruhito is “Reiwa". The time is therefore opportune to consider the authors, texts and trends of the past era and formulate initial insights and hypotheses. 

Building on research already carried out at Goethe University, central issues will be discussed in dialogue with different scientific traditions, beginning with the question of what is understood by “literature" during the years between 1989 and 2019, in which a transition of the national literature “system" (kokubungaku) took place on various levels. Together, the question of determining a canon for Heisei literature can be discussed, along with which literary issues should be taken up by Japanese studies experts, and which writers are likely to shape the literary future in the Reiwa era. 

Symposium “Texts of the Heisei Era – Readings of Contemporary Japanese Literature“
6 Juni 2019, 15:30 Uhr: Westend Campus, Eisenhower Room
7 Juni 2019, 9:30-20:00 Uhr: Bockenheim Campus, Room Jur 717

Organisation: Prof. Dr. Lisette Gebhardt/Christian Chappelow M.A./ Damian David Jungmann (Japan Studies, Goethe-Universität) 

The event is open to the public; registration at would be appreciated


May 27 2019

New Collaborative Research Centre analyses diverse role of RNA molecules / Another RNA Collaborative Research Centre extended

Investigating molecular regulation of the cardiovascular system 

FRANKFURT. Goethe University and TU Munich have jointly obtained a new Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich – SFB), which will receive approximately € 11 million in funding from the German Research Foundation over the next four years. An additional SFB on RNA research has been extended for the second time. The funding of two powerful research collaborations underlines the excellent work being done in the field of RNA research at Goethe University. 

The new SFB comprising a consortium of 30 renowned researchers will investigate the influence non-coded RNAs have on the development, regulation and cellular processes of the cardiovascular system. The extended SFB deals with the structure and function of different RNA variants in biology and chemistry.

Ribonucleic acids, or RNAs, were long considered merely messenger molecules that coded genetic information for the creation of proteins. Meanwhile, it is known that over 90 percent of the RNA molecules carry out an astonishing variety of other tasks. Many of them regulate processes within the cell (siRNA, miRNA and sRNA) and others create fascinating three-dimensional structures and serve as enzymes of switches for cellular processes. Non-coded RNAs also play a significant role in cardiovascular diseases. 

The new trans-regional SFB “Non-coding RNA in the cardiovascular system," coordinated by Professor Stefanie Dimmeler from the Institute for Cardiovascular Regeneration at Goethe University Frankfurt and Professor Stefan Engelhardt from the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology at TUM will research how non-coded RNA is created and transported in the cardiovascular system. It will furthermore look into how it influences cellular processes and which role it plays in the occurrence and cure of cardiovascular diseases. Over the long term, the collaborative also hopes to find new therapeutic target molecules. 

Additional partners are the Ludwig-Maximilian's-Universität (LMU), the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim, and the Hannover Medical School. 

SFB begins third funding period 

The focus of the extended SFB “Molecular Principles of RNA-based regulation", headed by Professor Harald Schwalbe, Institute for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, is the function of RNA in chemistry and biology. The researchers from Goethe University and TU Darmstadt are particularly interested in how RNAs regulate gene expression. During the first two funding periods (eight years in total), the researchers established diverse spectroscopic methods to decode the structure of the complex macromolecules. These methods are now to be transferred from in vitro systems (prepared molecules in test tubes) to living systems (in vivo). The researchers expect new insights into the function of different RNA variants in living cells.

  Stefanie Dimmeler and Harald Schwalbe agree: “The continuing funding of RNA research in Frankfurt will help Goethe University bolster its status as pioneer in this field." 

Further Information: Prof Stefanie Dimmeler, Institute of Cardiovascular Regeneration, Faculty of Medicine, Niederrad Campus, phone: +49 69 6301- 6667,
Prof Harald Schwalbe, Institute for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Riedberg Campus, phone: +49 69 798-29737,