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Research and Research Training in Times of Covid-19: Looking Ahead

A statement by the GCSC’s Executive Board – Gießen, 02.10.2020.

As we’re approaching another semester of exceptional circumstances we would like to address the following statement to our doctoral and postdoctoral researchers as well as all other members, partners and friends of our centre.


Over the last months, the research community at the GCSC as well as elsewhere around the globe has faced a number of unprecedented challenges and concerns. We recognize that the corona pandemic has deeply affected the very ways in which we conduct our research, plan and organize our work, and interact and communicate with each other. Apart from the difficulties and changes at our workplace, many of us had to tackle challenging situations and sometimes severe problems in our private lives as well, situations whose deep impact often seems to fully occur to us only little by little as we learn to live with the virus.


We, the members of the GCSC’s Executive Board, would like to acknowledge these ongoing conditions and once again emphasize our strong support, especially for our (post‑)doctoral members. We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude for how well everyone responded to the crisis by sharing their knowledge, perspectives, and experiences, but also by developing creative approaches for how to continue and rethink our work in these trying times. In the past few months, your feedback and initiatives have been vital to retain a supportive and productive research environment at our centre, even though we’re painfully aware of the constraints that “social distancing” and the forced transition to online media entail.


Looking ahead to the winter semester, we deem it crucial to give absolute priority to the health and safety of all our members, faculty, and staff. In consideration of the current local, national and international development and based on your feedback and suggestions, we have decided to prioritize and develop digital formats for our collaborative research and research training activities in the upcoming semester. These will be accompanied, wherever possible and feasible with regard to the spatial and hygienic requirements, by smaller occasions for face-to-face exchange.


Given the many uncertainties and the still highly dynamic development of pandemic events, we encourage and invite all members to continue our conversation about how to best tackle the situation, both in practical and in academic terms.

  • As in the previous semester, we will consider each individual case and try to find tailor-made solutions and offer support wherever possible. We will remain committed to our guiding principle that the coronavirus pandemic should be as little of a disadvantage as possible to anyone in the coming weeks and months.
  • We support ideas for alternative digital conference and workshop formats, and particularly invite such initiatives that seek to address the social, cultural, and historical dimensions and ramifications of the pandemic.
  • Furthermore, we advocate initiatives to make these needs an explicit concern at our centre, at JLU and in higher education policy-making more generally.



Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ansgar Nünning, Prof. Dr. Andreas Langenohl, Prof. Dr. Katharina Stornig, Dr. habil. Michael Basseler, Dr. Jens Kugele