The Research Training Group's Profile

The excellency of the pre-modern studies at the University of Göttingen enables the realization of a Research Program that aims to understand the occidental Culture of Experts and Expertise of the time between the 12th and 18th century. In several philologies (German, Romanic, Middle and New Latin) in history of law, in history of the church, and in history itself there are Scholars who have already worked on questions of the Diffusion of Specialist-knowledge in premodern societies. In the Research Training Group these approaches should be transferred to a coherent project showing the historicity of the Culture of Expertise and explaining the typical occidental ambivalence between Confidence in the System and critique of the experts. These explanations and observations have not yet been brought into a specific frame of interpretation. Therefor this project is an international model for its innovativeness. Herefor the Research Training Group fulfills the important aim of orientation in the present: A group of doctoral candidates, chosen in several stages internationally, grow an understanding of the specific (and never fail-save) communication between experts and amateurs.

To reach this goal of a well-based understanding of the culture of expertise there is a nine year research program and a three-year study program. Both are aligned under a guiding question in a theoretically and methodologically narrow way, beeing adjusted to each other. All three generations of doctoral candidates are supposed to work on different key-aspects of the project's question and its approach. But still, the research program and the questions of the culture of expertise will deepen and better in the run of the generations of the doctoral candidates. The transition is well planned and organized by the different generations of the doctoral candidates and the lecturers together. The methodological know-how, the open questions and problems are inherited by the next generation. Hence the main goal of the Research Training Group is to gain scientific competence. Consequently the scholarly career of the doctoral candidates is the key indicator for the Research Training Group's success. Although "scholarly" is not to be understood in a too narrow way: It is understood as all the activities that need a broad scholarly expertise to be done. Work outside of the core-area of academic science can also be the result of an extraordinary dissertation.

Download of the Research Training Group's research profile (German)

To make sure that the doctoral candidates are able to finish their dissertation within three years, the study-program is completely adjusted to the necessities of their projects. There are Colloquia and many workshops as forums for exchange between the candidates. The international orientation of the doctoral candidates is enhanced by a semester abroad which, by means of the Göttingen Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies' international agreements is easily arranged. A high amount of independence by the doctoral candidates has priority. They work on the realization of the study-program themselves (planing, organizing, and publishing workgroups). They are free to decide which activities to attend and self-sufficient communication with Scholars based in Göttingen and abroad characterize the day to day work in the Research Training Group. At the same time the achievements in the Research- and the Study-program are constantly self-evaluated. The lecturers assemble therefore twice a semester. They take a detailed look at the process of supervision which has strict rules. After 18 months the doctoral candidates send a written report to their personal supervisor.If the project in the eyes of the supervisors needs big structural changes, the doctoral candidate has the chance to make these changes in his or her concept following the advice of the supervisors. On this basis die conference of the Research Training Group's lecturers decide whether to renew the contract or to let it expire after 24 months.

The grant of one post-doctoral position is also a mean to promote scholarly trainees. The holder of this position should be selected by his or her methodological and theoretical expertise suitable for the Research Training Group. In a free float-principle he or she has broad independence to transport the work of the Training Group into other fields beyond the limits of the Research program of the Training Group. The goal of the two year occupation is the publication of own scholarly works and out of these the completion of an application for the establishment of an own Researchcomplex (i.e. Young Professional Research Group). With the contraction of Guest Researchers international know-how is being used for the benefit of the Research Training Group. The doctoral candidates have great influence in the selection of the Guest Researchers. They are supposed to be important Researchers in a specific field or Young Professionals. By this the Research Training group is encouraged to discuss the state of the art in research for a long period of time. The Guest Researchers are invited to take part in workshops and symposia, they will offer own events and will be available for the discussion and consultation for specific members of the Research Training Group.

The wide range of disciplines and fields of research at the Georg August University Göttingen, the Graduate School of Humanities Göttingen (GSGG), the LichtenbergKolleg (Institute for Advanced Studies) and the broad scientific environment of the University (i.e. Herzog-August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel) offer a perfect setting for the Research Training Group.