Humanities, Cultural Studies, Social Sciences and Professional Practice in Graduate Education (completed)

area of research: humanities, cultural studies and social sciences (depending on funding line)
type of funding: small graduate research programs (funding line 1); practice-based modules for doctoral students in university graduate schools (funding line 2)
professors at universities in Germany (funding line 1) and spokesmen at university graduate schools (funding line 2)
requirements: subject of dissertations need to be linked with the practice elements
additional benefits: funding for communication of science and research; training programs
Mitglieder des Suhrkamp-Promotionskollegs im Deutschen Literaturarchiv Marbach. (Foto: Werner Kuhnle, Literaturarchiv Marbach)
Members of the Suhrkamp Graduate Research Group at the German Literature Archive in Marbach. (Photo: Werner Kuhnle, Literature Archive in Marbach)


The aim of this call is to provide a once-only concentrated and paradigmatic stimulus for stronger practical orientation in doctoral education at German universities. The majority of PhD graduates take up occupations outside the university realm, e.g. at other research institutions, in private enterprises, or as freelancers. Despite the fact that today’s economy and our digitalized knowledge-based society generate strong demand for leadership personnel and other employees with scientific qualifications, the system of doctoral education at German universities fails to take this development sufficiently into account. This particularly affects the humanities, cultural studies and the social sciences since outside the teaching profession rather few other occupations are directly open to these disciplines – and permeability between science and the economy is low in any case.

Scope of Funding

The first funding line offers support to establish small graduate research programs in the humanities and cultural studies.

In the second funding line, university graduate schools in the humanities, cultural studies and the social sciences can apply for support for their doctoral students to embark upon internships or other practice-based modules with a term of up to one year.

Details of conditions and the application procedure can be found under Information for Applicants 109 (pdf). Applications must be filed electronically via the electronic application system.

This is a once-only call.


Up to now, the Foundation has already supported four small graduate research groups with concrete practice-based elements: The Göttingen Graduate Research Group Value and Canon – Theory and Practice of Literature Education in Post-Bourgeois Knowledge Society (2006 till 2010); the Naumburg Graduate Research Group – Interdisciplinary Research on Architectural History, Decor and Conservation of the West Choir of Naumburg Cathedral (2009 till 2012); the Marbach Suhrkamp Graduate Research Group (2012 till 2016), and the Writing Scene Frankfurt (started 2016).