Small Disciplines

162 Small Disciplines, 2359 professorships: Small Disciplines may be small, but they are important for the international competitiveness of Germany as a research location, for its reputation, for the standing of its universities and for the training of young academics.

From medical history to linguistics and religious studies to regional studies – around 80 percent of the Small Disciplines are in the humanities and social sciences. Well-networked and internationally positioned, they enable the understanding of cultural, social and economic developments. This is an essential contribution to solving social challenges, as well as to research and preserving our cultural heritage.

Funding guideline "Small Disciplines - strong together”

With the current framework programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, a new chapter is commencing in the success story of Small Disciplines: the funding guideline " Small Disciplines – strong together” (Federal Gazette of September 2, 2019) aims to promote and network young researchers. In the main phase, which lasts up to four years, interdisciplinary research groups under the direction of the Small Disciplines will work on a topic of their own choosing. Optionally, this can be followed by a one-year transfer phase in which a concept for strengthening the structure of the Small Disciplines is developed in conjunction with the university management.

Funding guideline "Small disciplines - great potential”

In order to strengthen the Small Disciplines, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has launched a whole range of measures: almost 60 projects demonstrate their capabilities under the slogan " Small Disciplines – great potential” (funding guideline, Federal Gazette of June 24, 2016): They have successfully helped in shaping a unique university profile in research and education, developing attractive study programmes, and opening up new research fields for young academics. Moreover, studies, annual meetings and conferences continuously improve knowledge in and about the Small Disciplines.

"Small Disciplines - university weeks"

The “Small Disciplines – university weeks” that were organised in 2019 by the German Rectors' Conference have also made the Small Disciplines better known in selected German universities and beyond. In addition, the BMBF funded another competition " Small Disciplines: visibly innovative", which was conducted by the German Rectors' Conference, and in doing so provided additional impetus for communication and networking in the context of Small Disciplines.

"Networking portal for Small Disciplines”

The BMBF has supported the Small Disciplines Research Centre at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz in setting up the portal in order to enable stronger networking at a national and international level. The Small Disciplines Research Centre in Mainz will continue to receive support, as the development of this subject group is to be studied and documented. In the current funding project, the mapping of Small Disciplines is being expanded, on the one hand, in the form of a nationwide survey of study programmes and the status of Small Disciplines as doctoral subjects and, on the other hand, to include the locations of Small Disciplines at other types of higher educational institutions such as universities of applied sciences.