The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program “Institutional Change and Social Practice. Research on the Political System, the Economy and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus” is a 3-year project funded by Volkswagen Foundation and managed jointly by Bielefeld University and TU Dortmund University.
In addition to funding a total of twelve fellows and their research projects, the project includes an academic and professionalization program to accompany the individual projects. Furthermore to its research orientation, the project aims to connect the diverse topics and approaches as much as it does the fellows themselves, both as a group and with their German postdoc-tandem-partners and hosts. Over the course of the project, three events will be organized by Bielefeld University and TU Dortmund University to help achieve this goal. All workshops/conferences will be given in English, and Volkswagen Foundation will cover the costs involved.
All this has been designed to provide a solid foundation for future cooperation and partnerships between universities and other institutions in Central Asia and the Caucasus as well as in Germany and Europe.
The first event and the midterm event of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program were held together as a joint event of the postdoctoral fellowship program in order to enable all the fellows and their German postdoc-tandem-partners to present and discuss their individual research projects and key topics within a joint academic framework. It allowed them also to focus on professionalization of methodological competence and concrete research methods, as well as on considering and critically appraising how these methods can be applied and adjusted to the needs and demands of social science research and higher education in the broader context of Central Asia and the Caucasus, also laying the foundation for high-quality publications
This joint event of the postdoctoral fellowship program took place in Dortmund, Germany, from 20th to 24th June 2022 under the conference name “Sustainable Relations – Sustainable Actions: Interdisciplinary Approaches in Studying Institutional Change and Social Practice”. It aimed to support the academic careers of the next generation of Central Asian and Caucasus academics. The program offered an accompanying academic and professionalization program as well as continuous network-building opportunities both within the Central Asian/ Caucasus scholarly community and between Central Asia/Caucasus and Germany/Europe. This formed a solid foundation for future cooperation and partnerships between universities and other institutions in Central Asia and the Caucasus as well as in Germany. The program pursued a “professionalization-through-research” approach that focused to systematically combine and interweave research and professionalization goals and activities, with a particular emphasis on connecting the fellows with their German postdoc-tandem-partners.
The final conference of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program constitutes the main scientific and research pillar of the accompanying academic program. It concentrates primarily on thematic and research questions as well as on the project results obtained by the fellows and their German postdoc-tandem-partners. This conference provides a platform for discussing the outcomes and the potential prospects for continuing the research carried out in the individual projects within an international academic environment. In order to address a broader regional and international audience, the event will bring together both selected fellows and internationally recognized academics from different parts of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Europe. Finally, all the research results are scheduled to be published in an internationally recognized journal/publishing house.