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Two new university partnerships in Italy and Poland

Effective this year, the University of Halle has two new partner institutions, one in Poland and one in Italy. In August, a cooperation agreement was signed with Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, in Milan, and the Universities of Halle and Warsaw entered into a contract for a partnership in October. Martin Luther University now maintains close teaching and research ties in the form of university partnerships with 62 higher education institutions worldwide.

More money for digital teaching

Equipped with around 6.5 million euros, the centre for multimedia teaching and learning (LLZ) will continue its work in April 2017. The funding will be made available until 2020 as part of the joint Federal-State programme “Quality Pact for Teaching”. Since it was established in 2012, the LLZ has already supported more than 450 projects to digitalise teaching at the University of Halle. The centre moves into the second stage of funding with a new director and a new working group.

New cooperation project between the University of Halle and Azerbaijan

How does a country successfully navigate the transition from a planned economy to a global market economy? What does such a profound transformation mean for the country’s legal system? A new research unit at the Institute of Business Law and Economic Law at the University of Halle will be working on these questions starting in 2017. The Volkswagen Foundation is providing 560,000 euros in support of the project on the legal transformation in Azerbaijan, which also aims to modernise teaching and research activities in the country.

A new connection with Istanbul

When Henning Rosenau, a professor of law, received his appointment to teach in Halle in 2015, he also brought with him his longstanding involvement in supporting the Turkish-German University (TDU). Martin Luther University is a member of the German consortium and, since February, has been supporting TDU in developing the new university, which was founded by the two nations in Istanbul in 2010. Two economists from Halle are now involved as well. They believe the German-Turkish exchange is more important than ever, especially in light of the tough political situation in Turkey right now.

Hans Adler, Elisabeth Décultot

Sulzer – the unknown philosopher

At present, it’s hard to get hold of the writings of Swiss philosopher of the Enlightenment Johann Georg Sulzer or find much literature about his work. This is set to change in the coming years: Humboldt Research Award winner Professor Hans Adler from the University of Wisconsin–Madison is planning a complete edition of the works and letters of Sulzer together with Halle’s Humboldt Professor Elisabeth Décultot.

Students from Fukushima visit the University of Halle

Twenty-three students from Fukushima University visited the University of Halle for three days in November. The group learned about alternative energies and the German government’s decision to phase out nuclear energy. At the same time they offered their perspectives on the current situation in Fukushima, nuclear policies, and development in the region.

DNA

Context: CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors

Gene scissors derived from bacterial “CRISPR/Cas” systems are considered to be a revolutionary discovery in the field of biosciences. It has never been easier to modify the genetic material of plants, animals or humans. Dr Johannes Stuttmann from the Institute of Biology explains the technique as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

Ice age in Ethiopia: refuge in the mountains?

Did the people in Ethiopia take refuge in the mountains during the last great ice age 16,000 years ago? An international team of soil scientists, archaeologists and biologists are conducting research on this as part of a new project entitled “The Mountain Exile Hypothesis”. To do this, soil scientists from Halle will be traveling to the remote Sanetti Plateau to examine the soil there and use modern biogeochemical methods to look for traces of mankind that are thousands of years old.

“There is no road map”

Field research is not limited to the natural sciences. Fieldwork is often conducted in the humanities and social sciences, too. But how? Professor Georg Breidenstein and two of his colleagues describe how it is done in the textbook “Ethnografie – die Praxis der Feldforschung” (Ethnography – the Practice of Fieldwork). In an interview, the educationalist discusses why participatory observation is necessary and what makes social science fieldwork special.

Oil in Chad: a blessing and a curse

When a country has access to oil reserves, this goes hand in hand with unimaginable wealth, right? Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world. Since 2003 oil has been produced in this central African state. For twelve years, ethnologist Dr Andrea Behrends has been onsite examining how its society and culture have been changed by oil production.