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Funding Approval for New Einstein Center for Ancient Studies

Berliner Antike-Kolleg Receives Funding from Einstein Foundation to Establish Research Center for Ancient Studies

№ 282/2014 from Aug 06, 2014

As of 2015 the Berlin Einstein Foundation will be financing the establishment of a new Einstein Center for Ancient Studies to be set up by the Berliner Antike-Kolleg. The initial funding will be for 900,000 euros over a three-year period beginning in January 2015. This move will help to secure the outstanding cross-institutional collaboration in ancient studies in Berlin over a longer term. The Berliner Antike-Kolleg was founded in 2011 by six large Berlin-based institutions dealing with ancient studies that had already formed a network within the Excellence Cluster Topoi. The six founding institutions are: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the German Archaeological Institute, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation).

The aim is to create a sustainable research infrastructure within the framework of the Berliner Antike-Kolleg that would anchor the current level of collaboration in the field of ancient studies in Berlin and continue to further develop this collaboration. If a follow-up proposal is submitted and accepted, the Einstein Foundation could support the new Center with up to 2.5 million euros annually as of 2018. This collaboration would make it possible to continue the fruitful work started by the Excellence Cluster Topoi and to build further on it. "We aim to again make Berlin one of the main international centers for research on ancient studies," said Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Martin Grötschel, chairperson of the Executive Board of the Einstein Foundation Berlin.

The scholars have set three main objectives for the new Einstein Center: the development of an innovative research program, targeted support for junior researchers, and an analysis of the possibilities, opportunities, and risks involved with digitization in antiquities research. A new project is planned, for example, to start working on the 3D digitization of cuneiform tablets. According to Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Christoph Markschies, "The Berlin-Brandenburg region with its comprehensive collections and such diverse institutions as academies, museums, and universities, is an ideal location for these types of projects."

Markschies, a professor of ancient church history at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, is one of three members of the Executive Board of the Berliner Antike-Kolleg. The others are Prof. Dr. Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum from Freie Universität Berlin, a specialist in Ancient Near Eastern languages and civilizations, and a representative of non-university institutions, Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Hermann Parzinger, the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

The field of ancient classical studies is the second discipline in which cutting-edge research institutions in Berlin have decided to collaborate within an Einstein Center. The first one was set up in the field of mathematics. Einstein Centers create a possibility for networks that are already being funded by a third party such as the German Excellence Initiative or the German Research Foundation to establish interinstitutional research and education networks. The Berlin Einstein Foundation aims to strengthen the competitive position of the Berlin universities, both nationally and internationally.

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