BIGSSS remains excellent: 9 million Euros for the joint project of Jacobs University and Uni Bremen
The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences BIGSSS, a collaborative project of private Jacobs University and the state-run University of Bremen, will be funded for another five years with about 9 million Euros from Germany’s federal excellence initiative (Exzellenzinitiative des Bundes und der Länder). This success in the excellence funding line 1 is part of the great overall success for Uni Bremen, which succeeded in both, their future concept as well as their excellence cluster MARUM, and will receive 100 million Euros over the next five years. This was announced on today’s press conference by the appropriations committee, consisting of members from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the German Science Council and the respective German ministries.June 15, 2012
“Congratulations, Bremen University! Today’s success in all three funding lines of the federal excellence initiative is phantastic news for the University of Bremen and naturally for Bremen as a science location,” Joachim Treusch, President of Jacobs University, comments the appropriation committee’s decision. “We are very happy to have such a strong and excellent partner at our side for the many collaborative projects we share with the University of Bremen.”
The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences BIGSSS was founded in 2007 as joint “Excellence Initiative” project by Jacobs University and the University of Bremen. As a provider of excellent international doctoral education BIGSSS aims to integrate outstanding areas of graduate education and research at both higher education institutions, focusing on the main topics of “Global Governance and Regional Integration“, “Welfare State, Inequality and Quality of Life“, and “Changing Lives in Changing Socio-Cultural Contexts“.
BIGSSS’ track record is quite impressive: Since its founding the number of applicants has risen continually. With 378 applications for the PhD program in 2012, there have been 25 applicants for one vacant scholarship position this year. The “international” in BIGSSS stands for 45 % of international PhD fellows hailing from four continents. The language of research, teaching and everyday conversation is English. With almost 60 % of PhD fellows being female, BIGSSS sets new standards in the advancement of women. A network of by now 63 very successful BIGSSS alumni consists of professors and researchers in Shanghai and Seoul, at the London School of Economics, at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin as well as employees of the European Commission in Brussels, the German Science Council or the Goethe-Institut in Warsaw.
Klaus Boehnke, BIGSSS vice dean and Professor of Social Science Methodology at Jacobs said: “BIGSSS is a wonderful example for a successful public-private partnership in doctoral education that sets international standards. I am looking forward to the next five years!”
Beyond the excellent research landscape in the social sciences at both universities, Jacobs University was able to offer three building blocks for the success that was achieved with BIGSSS, Boehnke explains: “Firstly, Jacobs in a way symbolizes the "I" in the BIGSSS acronym; internationality has been one of the central missions ever since our university’s opening in 2001. BIGSSS can profit from our experience in recruiting and supervising students from over 100 nations.
Secondly, we were able to enhance the training quality in methods of social research above and beyond what was already there at the University of Bremen (UB) in the years preceding the founding of BIGSSS in 2008, with bringing five methods faculty positions to the rank and file of BIGSSS doctoral training in social science methodology.”
Most important for the success in Boehnke’s eyes was the fact, however, that Jacobs widened the disciplinary scope of the doctoral school beyond the original core disciplines sociology and political science by bringing in the perspective of the individual actor in political and societal processes: “Excellent social and developmental psychology expertise is brought in by faculty from Jacobs University's School of Humanities and Social Sciences and by the Jacobs Center on Life Long Learning and Institutional Development. Faculty from these psychology disciplines enabls BIGSSS to offer a disciplinary frame for doctoral studies in the political realm that seeks a match not only in Germany but probably makes it a leading institution in Europe and beyond.”
BIGSSS (www.bigsss-bremen.de ) in numbers:
Number of applicants 2012: 378 PhD applications for 15 vacant scholarship positions
(of which 40 % women and 85 % international applicants)
Alumni, June 2012: 63
Faculty: 86 researchers, of which 33 are from Jacobs University (= 38 %) and 26 women (= 30 %)
Fellows: 94 PhD fellows (74 full-time members, 20 associated members), of which 56 are women (= 59 %)
Internationality (years 2008 – 2011): 45 %
Author: Jacobs University