Advancing area studies

Germany needs more substantiated knowledge about other regions of the world. Due to globalisation and migration movements, knowledge of other countries and cultures has become a key qualification in international competition. The aim of the funding priority “Strengthening and advancing area studies” is to better pool, develop and test the intercultural competence that exists in the field of area studies. At the same time, it is designed to advance subject-specific and interdisciplinary issues and promote collaboration with the systematic disciplines in order to establish networked, interdisciplinary locations of expertise in Germany that can serve as drivers of this humanities-based field of knowledge, not least by closely collaborating with researchers from other countries. It furthermore intensifies cooperation between area studies, which are traditionally strongly philology-oriented in Germany, and the systematic disciplines such as history, political science or religious science.

Funding is provided for innovative research concepts which are implemented in two funding lines:

a) inter-university competence networks,
b) university-internal structuralisation and networking.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has been funding seven competence networks and three university-internal centres since 2009/2010; six further university-internal centres were added in 2012/2013 with the second round of the call for proposals. These networks and centres examine global interrelationships and cultural, political, economic and religious exchange processes such as China’s economic activities in Africa or the rivalry between the major powers over influence in the Arab region. The projects are invited to develop innovative methods and new theoretical approaches. The results of this research in the humanities and social sciences are of interest in business, politics and culture.

Area studies are part of the Federal Government’s strategy to internationalise science and research. With this initiative the BMBF has implemented recommendations on area studies made by the German Council of Science and Humanities in 2006.






Dr. Rolf Geserick

+49 228 3821-1599+49 228 3821-1500Email


Dr. Stephanie Becker
+49 228 3821-1557+49 228 3821-1500Email