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New Research Alliance Addressing Social Cohesion Launched

Press release from

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research promotes an alliance of universities and research facilities focusing on a key issue of the current coronavirus crisis

A new research alliance addressing social cohesion (Forschungsinstitut Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt, FGZ) which comprises eleven universities and research facilities from ten federal states, will focus on present social challenges. The alliance will be funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for an initial period of four years. Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) is represented by the TRUST research centre (Transdisciplinary Rural and Urban Spatial Transformation).

More than 100 researchers from various disciplines will conduct empirical research and large-scale comparisons in order to develop practical recommendations for facing present social challenges. Key issues to be compared within Europe and beyond include identities and regional experiences, inequality and solidarity, media and constructive debate, as well as polarisation and populism. The alliance aims to analyse how living environments in urban and rural areas drift apart over time, how new media change the culture of communication, as well as issues arising from an increasingly pluralistic society with regard to social affiliation and identity.

During the initial phase over the past 18 months, a founding concept was prepared. Starting from 1 June 2020, a comprehensive research and transfer programme with more than 70 sub-projects and interdisciplinary fields of work will be realised. In addition to the LUH research centre TRUST, alliance members include TU Berlin, Bielefeld University, University of Bremen, Goethe University Frankfurt, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, University of Konstanz, Leipzig University, as well as "Soziologisches Forschungsinstitut Göttingen", Leibniz Institute for Media Research in Hamburg and "Institut für Demokratie und Zivilgesellschaft" in Jena.

FGZ researchers in Hannover will focus on the challenges of social cohesion with regard to spatial and regional perspectives - both in neighbourhoods and on a European scale. The current coronavirus crisis illustrates the importance of observing spatial differences when coping with social challenges. As a collaboration partner, the Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association will contribute considerable expertise in the field of spatial development and knowledge transfer.

Note to editors:
For further information, please contact Jens Ibendorf, managing director of TRUST (Email ibendorf@trust.uni-hannover.de, Tel. +49 163 64 15 090) or Pia Siemer, public relations manager of FGZ (Email pia.siemer@uni-leipzig.de, Tel. +49 341 97 37 882).