Start-up Programme 2016 has ended
Start-up Scholars 2016 (from left to right): Igor Ciobanu, Sisay Dirisay, Natalia Zakharchenko, Kornel Laszlo, Elena Borisova, Mehran Haji Mohammadian. Photo by Thomas Abel/BGHS
The BGHS has bid farewell to the Start-up scholars of summer term 2016: Elena Borisova, Igor Ciobanu, Sisay Dirisay, Mehran Haji Mohammadian, Kornel Laszlo, and Natalia Zakharchenko. The six scholarship holders from Ethiopia, Hungary, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Russia worked from April until July at the BGHS on their dissertation proposals in a special programme geared towards the qualification of students during the period between their Master's and doctoral studies. The Graduate School provided each of them with an office space of their.
The Start-up colloquium represented the heart of the 2016 programme. Here, the Start-up scholars presented and discussed their project proposals. Dr. Verena Molitor, coordinator of the colloquia, promoted the Start-ups and encouraged them in answering open questions and critical points concerning their drafts and to continue working and improving their exposés. In addition, doctoral researchers of the BGHS were invited to the colloquia as guest commentators who also gave the Start-ups important information and advice on their exposés.
For Mehran Haji Mohammadian, who is planning a dissertation on The Rise of Retirement in Iran: A movement from margin to center, the Start-up colloquia were very fruitful. Through group discussions and the ongoing improvement, he was able to formulate an excellent, which has conveonced a professor of the faculty of sociology to being his first supervisor.
The regular Start-up colloquia were supplemented by writing workshops and other events focussing on a variety of issues related to for instance pursuing a PhD. Dr. Miriam Kanne, coordinator for recruitment and academic affairs, helped the Start-ups with all their questions regarding the planned PhDs. "For us it was very important to bring the start-ups into contact with professors and potential supervisors of the planned dissertation projects. In the past rapid initial contacts between Start-ups and professors and a personal connection had extreme positive impact on the development of the exposés and on applications for the doctoral programme at the BGHS";, says Miriam Kanne. Therefore, the professors were informed in advance about the Start-ups and their planned research projects. "Bringing professors and Start-ups together, we had the guarantee that the Start-ups receive profound feedback on their planned projects and get valuable advice for further work on their exposés", adds Miriam Kanne. Furthermore, these initial contacts often were starting points for deeper discussions and, in some cases, professors agreed to be first supervisor of a planned dissertation projects.
Meet the Start-ups
At the end of their stay at the BGHS, the Start-ups presented their planned dissertation projects at the event Meet the Start-ups. Kornel Lazlo, who is planning a dissertation on the topic Discrimination against Roma and refugees in the post-socialist labour market summarizes his impressions and feelings about the presentation as follows: ”I found the colloquium useful for two reasons: while it forced me to create a slideshow for an interdisciplinary audience, it also helped me to articulate my ideas much more clear.“
Sisay Dirisay, who plans to write a dissertation on the topic Ethiopia as a supra national state? An inquiry into the space of Contemporary Ethiopian History, was more than please with the Start-up programme. In a combination of effort and luck, as he describes it, he was able to build up diverse networks with young researchers at the BGHS and with professors in the department of history. He was able to attend seminars for doctoral researchers as well as conferences and workshops. The impulses and ideas were very helpful for the further development of his exposé. One point that really encouraged him was the confidence in and appreciation of his views and opinions. He was able to find a first and second supervisor - a professor from Harvard University, whom he came to know in a block seminar at BGHS - for his planned dissertation. "Looking back, I have no regrets. I am so happy for every opportunitiy that BGHS has offered to me. I have gained a lot, mainly in terms of my intellectual horizon. For this, I have nothing to say, but thank you so much BGHS, a truly intellectual environment!"
Meetings with doctoral representatives completed the programme. After four months of intensive work, the Start-up scholars finished their project proposals and applied for doctoral positions or scholarships at foreign and German universities, including the BGHS. At the beginning of the winter term, they will continue their academic careers in Germany and abroad.
Three of the six Start-ups have successfully applied for the BGHS PhD programme. In the winter semester, the three young scholars will start working on their dissertation projects at the BGHS. Now the question of funding remains. As a first step, the three young researchers will strive to obtain financing for themselves and their research projects for the next three years, for example through grants of foundations like the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and hopefully return to Bielefeld in October.
In any case, the Start-ups will stay in contact within the group and with the BGHS in the future. "The time I spent in Bielefeld as a Start-up fellow was truly remarkable. Besides my professional development as a scholar, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people I could call my friends after this four months", Laszlo Kornel concludes.
For further information on the Start-up Scholars 2016, Start-ups scholars since 2013, and the Start-up programme in general, please see:
BGHS.NEWS: Welcome Day
BGHS.NEWS: Meet the Start-ups