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"Zentrum für Wissenschaftsreflexion" wird gebaut

Construction of Research Building “Zentrum für Wissenschaftsreflexion” Approved

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Cause for celebration at Leibniz University Hannover: Joint Science Conference (GWK) approves plans for research centre in the field of humanities and social sciences

The Joint Science Conference (GWK) has approved the construction of the research building “Zentrum für Wissenschaftsreflexion” (Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Science) of Leibniz University Hannover (LUH). The GWK’s decision is based on recommendations of the German Council of Science and Humanities (“Wissenschaftsrat”) issued in April. The new building will be located in the “Nordstadt”, the northern part of Hannover, in close proximity to the main university building. Overall, building costs will amount to 14.75 million euros, half of which will be provided by the federal government with the remainder being covered by the State of Lower Saxony. “I am delighted about this outcome and I am proud that Leibniz University Hannover – true to its profile and ambition – will soon be the only university within the TU9 alliance conducting research in a building dedicated to the humanities and social sciences”, says Prof. Dr. Volker Epping, President of Leibniz University Hannover.

Björn Thümler, Minister for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, is excited about the final approval of the building project: “The social relevance and conditions of science and research is the subject of much debate – now even more than ever. I am delighted about the GWK approval and this positive outcome for Leibniz University Hannover. A research building of this scale in the field of humanities and social sciences is an impressive example of the high standards LUH represents outside of technical subjects.”

Without science, we would not be able to handle the challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, world food supply or health development. However, researchers are often caught in the crossfire of conflicting interests – including the forces of economy, politics and the media. The new research branch interdisciplinary studies of science focuses on such challenges within the scientific system. The research centre – now approved – will bring together researchers from various locations and disciplines, while providing ideal conditions for developing new research approaches, as well as for implementing projects or combining expertise.

LUH conducts unique projects in the field of research in science and higher education. No other university in Germany has established as many professorships in these fields. Overall, there are 13 at LUH, such as in philosophy, sociology, economics, political science or law. “We are currently in the process of consolidating research in science and higher education conducted at LUH. Furthermore, we have established specific and individual structures for promoting young talent that are unique”, explains Prof. Dr. Eva Barlösius from the Institute of Sociology. In her capacity as spokesperson, Professor Barlösius was involved in the project from the beginning. “The coronavirus crisis demonstrated the essential role of research in the overall development of our society, as well as the importance of defining the benefits and limits of science. We are delighted that the new building will enable us to advance our research even further.”

The research building will be located in the northern part of Hannover (Im Moore 23). Over the next months and in close collaboration with the researchers moving into the new building, the planning team consisting of the architectural company Michel + Wolf Architekten in Stuttgart as well as various specialists from Hannover and the surrounding region will prepare a design concept for the research centre. Construction work is scheduled to start in 2022. The new building will accommodate interdisciplinary research, a knowledge workshop with innovative research infrastructures, as well as meeting spaces and event venues for scientific conferences. The building comprises a basement and up to five floors with approximately 2.000 square metres of floor space and will incorporate sustainable building criteria defined by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).

The new centre will accommodate the following LUH research groups and facilities:

  • the research group “Philosophy of Science” conducting research in the field of life sciences, natural sciences and engineering;
  • the research group “Sociological Research in Science and Higher Education” focusing on social structures and macrosociology;
  • the Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences (CELLS), an interdisciplinary joint research institute in collaboration with Hannover Medical School focusing on ethical and legal aspects of life sciences;
  • the Leibniz Center for Science and Society (LCSS) focusing on interactions between universities, science and society, as well as the LCSS graduate school “Science and Society”.


Note to editors:
For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Eva Barlösius, who holds a professorship in Macrosociology/Analysis of Social Structures (Tel. +49 511 762 5432, Email e.barlö