HRK early career researcher competition “Rare Disciplines: Visibly innovative!” Funded projects illustrate diversity and ingenuity

16. September 2020

The German Rectors' Conference (HRK) asked doctoral candidates and early career postdocs from the rare disciplines to devise new communication and networking strategies. 19 projects were selected in the early career researcher competition “Rare Disciplines: Visibly innovative!” and will now be given the opportunity to put their ideas into practice.

The purpose of the HRK’s initiative is to honour what are known as rare disciplines. The rare disciplines make an important contribution to the richness of the German higher education landscape and to overcoming societal challenges with their specialisation and diverse perspectives. The initiative also highlights the importance of support for early career researchers in preserving the rare disciplines: “The aim of our programme is to provide impetus for the establishment of networks at an early stage and intensifying dialogue with the public. This is of crucial importance in the rare disciplines. It is only in doing so that they will be able to survive in the long term in the sphere of tension between competition and cooperation with major subjects and to confidently present their strengths,” said HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt today in Berlin.

The projects now being funded are as diverse as the rare disciplines themselves. Besides a variety of humanities disciplines, subject areas from the fields of law, economics and social sciences, engineering and health sciences are also taking part. There are plans to create digital offerings, including blogs, podcasts and online video series. Furthermore, innovative exhibition concepts and public events will raise awareness for the rare disciplines. Workshops and other specialist events will promote the principle of networking.

The programme is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which very successfully initiated the Rare Disciplines Weeks at German Universities last year in collaboration with the HRK. For many years, the HRK and BMBF have been jointly committed to raising public awareness of the scientific achievements and societal relevance of the rare disciplines and supporting networking both within the rare disciplines and beyond.

More information about the funded projects at universities in Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Clausthal, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Göttingen, Jena, Cologne, Leipzig, Mainz, Marburg, Munich, Potsdam, Tübingen and Würzburg is available at: (only in German).