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Research transfer

The Cluster of Excellence investigates in studies spanning epochs the question of what makes religion a motor of political and social change, and attaches great importance to the transfer of its research findings to society. As well as carrying out fundamental research, its approximately 140 scholars seek to engage the general public in dialogue on pressing issues of the future and contribute their expertise, be it in the form of studies on conflicts over religious rights and practices, Islam and politics or anti-Semitism, as well as the role of religion in integration, identity conflicts, religious constitutional law or the relationship between religion, violence and gender.

Centre for Research Communication

The Centre for Research Communication uses formats specific to a particular theme to disseminate the Cluster of Excellence’s research from the humanities and social sciences to a large number of target groups in society. It promotes dialogue with representatives from the media, politics, educational institutions, culture, churches, and religious communities, as well as with the general public. The Centre is the first point of contact for all those interested in the Cluster of Excellence.

The Centre for Research Communication’s concept for the humanities and the social sciences quickly became a model across Germany. The Centre regularly disseminates its knowledge about the requirements of communicating research in the humanities and social sciences in lectures, essays, interviews and on podiums, and advises other institutions in the humanities.

Media Relations and Social Media

The centrepiece of the Cluster of Excellence’s knowledge transfer is its national and international media relations, for which the Centre for Research Communication identifies research findings’ social relevance, disseminates them in multimedia formats and thereby achieves a wide reach. The expertise of the researchers from more than 20 subjects is thus integrated into current debates. In print and online media as well as in radio and television, the public is regularly informed about the Cluster of Excellence’s research results. The media relations, which are supplemented by social media and coordinated with the University Press Office’s university-wide communication, have met with a great deal of interest over the years. This means that issues can often be raised that had previously attracted little public attention.

Invitations to lectures and to panels in foundations, political committees, schools, museums, educational institutions, religious associations and schools of journalism follow in what often becomes a snowball effect. Research communication thereby gives rise to further forms of transfer such as political consulting and the transfer of research results to various areas of society. Added to this are the website www.religion-und-politik.de/en, which is kept up-to-date and has multimedia on offer, and a newsletter with more than 2,400 subscribers from academies, foundations, museums, schools of journalism, as well as political and religious institutions.

Journalism on Religion

Run by the Cluster of Excellence and the School of Journalism ifp in Munich, “Journalism on Religion”, the first in-service training programme in Germany, qualifies young media professionals to report on religions in pluralized societies and on religious conflicts in a nuanced and critical manner. The programme has proven to be effective in strengthening specialist journalism, and makes the Cluster of Excellence’s everyday media work sustainable. The programme will run again from January 2025 to June 2026 in five modules in Berlin, Münster, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne and Munich.

Annual themes

The Cluster of Excellence works in annual themes pooling interdisciplinary research on socially relevant topics. The annual programmes are open to the general public and comprise a wide range of events and media formats that shed light on the annual theme from the perspective of different disciplines, eras and cultures. Thus, instead of numerous individual projects, this allows the Cluster to communicate overarching fields of research and to embed its research within the appropriate interdisciplinary and social context.

Discussion and Cultural Events

The Centre designs and supports many other formats in the field of research transfer, the spectrum ranging from advising politicians and stakeholders, through creating digital information and materials for educational work, to a wide variety of transfer events for citizens of all age groups. The Cluster of Excellence also runs regular discussion forums and cultural events, such as exhibitions, film series, concerts, lectures, book presentations, and panel discussions. These are often coordinated in cooperation with institutions outside the University such as museums, publishing houses, trusts, educational institutions, schools of journalism, cinemas, choirs and schools. The Centre advises Cluster of Excellence members on planning such events and supports the activities with its media work.

Campus of Theology and Religious Studies

Transfer activities will be continued in the future on the only "Campus of Theology and Religious Studies” in the world. From 2025, this will bring together Protestant, Catholic and Islamic theology at the University of Münster, as well as its Centre for Religion and Modernity (CRM) and the Institute of Westphalian Church History in the adjoining Hüfferstiftung, and will foster scholarly discussion across disciplines. As a location, the Campus in the city of the Peace of Westphalia will also provide a neutral venue for mutual understanding in the highly contested field of “religion and politics”. It will be a site for discussion among leading national and international representatives from academia, politics, religious and non-religious communities, and NGOs, as well as from the media, culture and the arts.

Political Consulting

The Cluster of Excellence is in constant dialogue with politicians and figures in society from churches, religious and non-religious communities, and non-governmental organizations who have a professional interest in religion and politics. For instance, in focusing its research and transfer activities on “religious policy” and “dealing with religious diversity”, the Cluster of Excellence has called attention to a policy area that had previously been scarcely considered in federal, state and local politics. The spectrum of formats ranges from panel discussions and lectures to background talks and parliamentary breakfasts.

Transfer Strategy at the University of Münster

The Rectorate of the University of Münster attaches great importance to the transfer of research findings to society as a whole, and has continued to develop its transfer activities in recent years. The Cluster of Excellence contributes its experience and knowledge to the further development of transfer, and helps to connect and advise other faculties and research networks at the University. This creates a holistic university transfer structure that takes into account the fact that specialized research transfer is currently under development at German universities.

Training in Subject-Specific Research Communication

The Centre for Research Communication regularly trains and advises researchers in subject-specific research communication, this ranging from training in current media work and identifying research themes relevant to the general public, to advising scholars on the design of transfer formats for different target groups. The Centre also offers students of the humanities and social sciences the opportunity to observe its work, as well as career advice.

Research Communication for the Humanities – a pilot project