Greifswald Establishing Research Centre for the Baltic Sea Region
An Interdisciplinary Centre for Research into the Baltic Sea Region (IFZO) is being created at the University of Greifswald. On her visit to Greifswald on 26 February 2019, Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek handed over her ministry’s funding grant of 1.4 million euros, which is to cover the two-year concept phase for establishing the institution. The IFZO will address central issues and challenges of today’s Baltic Sea Region. The research will have a clear focus on the arts and social sciences.
During her visit, Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek emphasised, ‘the Baltc Sea is one of the world’s most closely linked cultural and economic regions. Topics that are relevant to the whole world can be investigated here: How do we address ecological problems, our joint cultural heritage, or social coherence? The location of the University of Greifswald alone makes it particularly well suited for approaching these issues. I am pleased that the university shall collaborate with renowned partners from all over the Baltic Sea Region during the concept phase of the new Interdisciplinary Centre for Research into the Baltic Sea Region.’
‘I am delighted that by receiving the grant for the IFZO, the expertise of our academic staff members regarding the Baltic Sea Region has received tremendous recognition from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. We now have the chance to sustainably become a visible and recognised centre of research for the Baltic Sea Region,’ said the Rector of the University of Greifswald Prof. Dr. Johanna Weber.
The humanities and social sciences shall be at the heart of the Centre’s research. The future research topics shall be developed in an interdisciplinary and cross-faculty process. Academic collaboration is planned with partners from e.g. Estonia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Latvia and the USA, but also Hamburg, Heidelberg, Kiel and Berlin.
Interdisciplinary Centre for Research into the Baltic Sea Region
The Interdisciplinary Centre for Research into the Baltic Sea Region (IFZO) investigates collaboration and conflict-based projections of the future in the communities of the Baltic Sea Region, placing its emphasis on finding answers to central issues and challenges of today. The region being investigated covers both the countries that border the Baltic Sea and hinterland countries within the drainage basins of the big rivers. On the one hand, the topics address interregional or international strategies and discourses and, on the other hand, specific national interests of the countries that belong to the Baltic Sea Region. The investigations not only focus on the work of the institutions dedicated to the Baltic Sea, such as the Council of the Baltic Sea States or the Baltic Development Forum, but also on EU initiatives such as the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and the ‘Eastern Partnership’.
The Baltic Sea Region is currently one of the world’s most integrated maritime cultural regions. The political and social changes since 1989 have faced Germany and Eastern Europe with challenges that were met with both ‘integration’ and ‘borders’. That’s why these countries are seeking joint solutions in the fields of ecology, digital innovation, energy and security. Correspondingly, the scholars at IFZO will collaborate with partners in the Baltic Sea Region in the following problem areas:
International Relations and Security
Contemporary Significance of Cultural Heritage
Regional Development and Rural Areas
Sustainability and Bio-Based Development
By 2021 the results gained will be used to develop corresponding research programmes and initiate new research projects. The above-named topic areas will not only focus on gaining new academic findings, but also on the explicit ‘usability’ and the transfer of gained knowledge to political stakeholders at state, regional and national levels, as well as authorities, business development companies and political institutions within the Baltic Sea Region.
Contact at the University of Greifswald
Dr. Alexander Drost