Academic Program

The JQYA relies on creative and motivated individuals, as our Fellows and Members enjoy complete freedom in shaping the Academy Program and initiating lively and fruitful discussions.

For this academic work to be focused, the Fellows and Members regularly set a new Academy Topic. The joint thematic development of this topic takes place across disciplines within the annual Academy Program.

Outline of the Academic Program

The Academy Program provides a framework for close intellectual and interdisciplinary exchange not only between Fellows and Members, but also with leading personalities in research, industry, and society. These take place in the following activities:

  • Kickoff Meeting and introduction of new Fellows and Members, including short project presentations by all new awardees.
  • Annual Academy Day: Tandem Symposium and Award Ceremony – an inspiring launch for the new cohort with leading personalities from science, industry, society, and politics, including the presentation of results from the joint project(s), and the welcoming of new Fellows and Members.
  • Three to four study days, round table discussions or think tanks devoted to internal discussions of the Academy Topic, the development of the joint project, and compilation of results, which will be delivered as a keynote lecture at the Award Ceremony, a public panel discussion, or a joint JQYA publication. 
  • Scientific tandems to engage with interdisciplinary issues and research approaches from other scientific disciplines, and to jointly organize scientific events, e.g., lectures, workshops, and book presentations.
  • Public events in cooperation with partners of Goethe University, e.g., lecture series with Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft, participation in RMU Postdoc Career Weeks, Night of Science, Green Office, etc.
  • Lecture series with concluding discussions at the Director’s invitation. Invited speakers are senior scientists from Goethe University and partner institutions.
  • Internal workshops to develop and define the next Academy Topic. 
  • Training with external coaches, e.g., on interaction with media, critical interviews or scientific communication.

Our Academy Topics

Academy Topic 2024/2025: COMPLEXITY

The topic “Complexity” holds significant relevance for our contemporary society in a rapidly evolving world; it encourages our Fellows and Members to explore intricate systems, phenomena, and structures that challenge conventional modes of analysis or thought.

Complexity is an inherent facet of nature, human societies, language, art, science, and technology. The JQYA fosters interdisciplinary dialog among researchers from natural and life sciences, arts, and the humanities. Our Fellows and Members will work together to decipher the intricacies underlying these fields and analyse the interrelationships between complex systems, ecological networks, human behavior, and artistic expression. Striving for clarity, we will illuminate specific methodologies and theories, as well as innovative tools, models, and strategies, to distil the essence of complexity and to articulate our discoveries with simplicity.

Complexity underpins pressing contemporary issues. It plays a pivotal role in understanding and addressing challenges such as climate change, biodiversity, global health crises, migration, the ever-evolving digital landscape including Artificial Intelligence, and the intricate tapestry of human culture, art, and language. The Academy Topic “Complexity” invites us to navigate the intricate web of our world, disentangling, interpreting, and enhancing our understanding of the complex systems and phenomena that shape our lives.

Academy Topic 2022/2023: CONNECTIVITY. NETWORKS. FLOWS.

For 2022, the JQYA has chosen the topic „Connectivity. Networks. Flows.“ to address current issues in sciences, arts, and humanities. Our new topic opens the door to an interdisciplinary exchange highlighting the following scientific concepts:

  • The parameters and elements of connectivity, i.e. the capability of being connective or connected, which is one of the key principles in a wide array of natural, social, and technological systems.
  • The structure and function of networks, i.e. systems consisting of many similar parts that are connected to enable movement or circular communication between or along them or with a control centre.
  • The emergence and relevance of flows, i.e. the continuous and easy movement, which creates unique trajectories.
JQYA - Connectivity Network Flows

Academy Topic 2019-2021: Tenets, Variations, Transformations

This topic takes up “Nature and Normativity” and extends the term “normativity” in the sense of principles (= tenets) to their variability and the formation of new principles, if the variability is to be so great that a paradigm shift occurs.

As basic principles, tenets not only guide the practice of scientists across disciplines, but also the social and political life in our societies. Even though widely accepted, such principles are, however, subject to important variations. Any changes over time, that are transformative in scope, challenge the fundamental nature of tenets. Such paradigm shifts result in a conceptual re-thinking such as discovering of unknown natural laws, changes of institutional policies, definition of novel traditions, priorities, research fields, etc.

The three new key terms offer multiple avenues for a truly interdisciplinary discussion by posing scientific questions such as:

  • What are the “tenets” we as a community adhere to in various contexts such as scientific practice across disciplines, or in society and politics?
  • What type of “variations” can we discern from these tenets, and under what conditions are these still acceptable deviations of a given norm?
  • How do we define “transformations”, and to what extent do these deconstruct or replace pre-existing tenets and their variations?
  • How are the assumptions of these concepts correlated in the different disciple fields?

Academy Topic 2018: Nature and Normativity 

In the history of the sciences / humanities and societal changes, a mutual interference and understanding of the concept of nature and the norms for human acting can be identified. Under the conditions of modern sciences and current political developments, we pose the following questions:

  • What is our understanding of “nature” or of the “natural” in the sciences and in the humanities?
  • What do we mean when we define a regularity in nature as “Natural Law”?
  • How is the understanding of “nature” or of “natural” constitutive for our reading of “normativity”?
  • What are the relations among the supposition of “nature” and the concept of “normativity” in the different fields of our disciplines?