Draft proposal from the University of Konstanz for a further graduate school successful

The draft proposal of the University of Konstanz for the “Graduate School of Decision Sciences” successfully overcame the entry hurdle in the second round of the Excellence Initiative of the federal and state governments. As just announced by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Science Council (WR), the application for the graduate school in the first funding line was selected for full application. “This is very good news. I am convinced that the application for the Graduate School of Decision Sciences has great chances of additionally enriching the excellent research at the University of Konstanz”, commented Rector Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger on the success of the draft proposal.

The planned Graduate School of Decision Sciences is dedicated to the corner stone of all social sciences issues: decision-making behaviour of individuals and collectives. How are a person’s decisions reached? How are decisions made in human interaction and what are their overall social outcomes?

The graduate school is predominantly based in the subjects of Political Science, Psychology and Economic Sciences but also comprises researchers from the supplementing disciplines Computer Science, Sociology and Statistics. In fact, interdisciplinarity is the focal point of the graduate school. While the individual disciplines traditionally rather focused their attention on partial aspects – therefore being interested in either the results (politics and social sciences) or for the underlying processes (psychology and administrative sciences) – the graduate school aims to combine the perspectives, creating a comprehensive understanding of human decision-making behaviour and its social-scientific implications. “The challenge is to prevent doctoral students from concentrating too narrowly on their specific topics and methods. We want to open the disciplinary perspectives to a multi-disciplinary horizon and convey a broader base of skills and knowledge that will be of use to them in their future career”, explained Prof. Dr. Leo Kaas, coordinator of the Excellence application.

The graduate school is planned to comprise approximately 60 doctoral students. It is based largely on the existing doctoral programmes of the University of Konstanz “Quantitative Economics and Finance” as well as “Politics and Management” and is embedded in a network of national and international research cooperation.

Part of the concept of the graduate school is to create smooth transitions between studies, doctorate and work. Existing Master’s programmes of the participating disciplines are to be expanded and adapted so that students can enter quickly into the graduate school with different degrees. The concept of the graduate school also provides for targeted career development for doctoral students in the last year of doctoral studies. This plans to enable graduates entry to attractive positions at leading international research institutions as well as highly qualified tasks in business and public administration. “A particularly high national and international visibility in graduate education will be guaranteed”, said Leo Kaas.

The draft proposal is now being turned into a full proposal that must be submitted by September 1, 2011. The renewal proposals for projects that were already successful in the first programme phase must be submitted by then as well. With its graduate school “Chemical Biology” as well as with its excellence cluster „Cultural Foundations of Integration” and its the institutional strategy “Model Konstanz – towards a culture of creativity” the University of Konstanz is looking to extend the project. On June 15, 2012 a joint authorizing committee of the German Research Society and the Science Council will decide upon the applications. If successful, the funding of the new proposals and renewal proposal would begin on November 1, 2012.