Through the founding of the Berlin University Alliance, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have set themselves the ambitious joint goal of establishing Berlin as an integrated center of research dedicated to addressing global challenges – Grand Challenges – in a unique way.
In its first Grand Challenge Initiative, the Berlin University Alliance is dedicating itself to the analysis, understanding and future of social cohesion. Social cohesion is not something that can be taken as given; it has to be constantly renewed and recreated. Many of the challenges currently faced, whether environmental, economic, social or political, appear to be weakening and endangering social cohesion. In complex specialized societies, issues such as multiculturality and mobility, global digital networking, lives lived simultaneously in virtual and geospatial worlds, parallel worlds of national organizations and economic, technical or political globalization, environmental disasters and democratic upheaval present opportunities, but also bring with them challenges for social cohesion. Social cohesion represents a research field of great current relevance at the interface of the different perspectives of the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, requiring innovative perspectives and interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches as well as the close collaboration of a wide range of researchers.
Objective of the funding program
Exploration Projects aim to establish interdisciplinary research associations in Berlin dedicated to issues of social relevance which coordinate and link the research undertaken by members of the Berlin University Alliance. By doing so, they contribute to the development of the Grand Challenge Initiatives of the Alliance and strengthen Berlin as a center of research. Networking with business partners and/or social groups relevant to particular issues to address Grand Challenges as effectively as possible throughout the course of an Exploration Project is a goal we very much wish to pursue.