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Support on the Way from Doctorate and Professorship

Baden-Württemberg Foundation accepts three Freiburg researchers into its elite program

Freiburg, Dec 16, 2019

Support on the Way from Doctorate and Professorship

Friedemann Pestel, Bastian Schiller, Michael Staab (from left). Photos: Markus Herb, private, Felix Fornoff)

The Baden-Württemberg Foundation (“Baden-Württemberg Stiftung”) has provided more than 280 thousand euros for a two-year period to Dr. Friedemann Pestel of the Department of History, Dr. Bastian Schiller of the Institute of Psychology, and Dr. Michael Staab of the Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of Freiburg for their research projects. The aim of the foundation’s elite program is to support young researchers on their way to obtaining professorships. This year in a two-stage process an independent committee of experts selected fifteen recipients from a total of fifty applications. Among the activities the foundation supports are interdisciplinary exchanges between young researchers. It also consolidates career paths at the universities.

Dr. Friedemann Pestel, Department of History: Global Players
Orchestra Tours and the International Music Business in the 20th Century (Global Players: Orchestertourneen und internationaler Musikbetrieb im 20. Jahrhundert)

During the 20th Century, traveling symphony orchestras developed into the leading institution for performing classical music worldwide. In this way, they managed to shape international cultural relations significantly. Friedemann Pestel’s project is investigating tours by German and Austrian orchestras in Europe, North and Latin America, Asia, and Africa with respect to the political, economic, and artistic forces driving global musical mobility. He has analyzed the choice of tour destinations and repertoires. What is more, he is examining how music was politically exploited in the host countries and the musicians’ countries of origin as well as how the global music markets developed and the travel influenced the lives of the performers. This is because the growing mobility ensured that music business increasingly changed – as the global touring range of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics as well as Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra show.

Dr. Bastian Schiller, Institute of Psychology: Situational and Individual Determinants of Behavior towards Refugees – a Biopsychological Investigation (Situationelle und individuelle Determinanten des Verhaltens gegenüber Geflüchteten – eine biopsychologische Untersuchung)

Migration and integration polarize our society and pose both a challenge and an opportunity. Alone in Baden-Württemberg live 3.4 million people with immigration in their background – and 20 percent of them have arrived in the last four years. The reaction to refugees who have come to Germany ranges from voluntary aid commitments to open rejection. The project for which Shiller applied for funding aims to investigate in three studies the little-researched situational and individual factors for these varied reactions. For example, he would like to examine if the behavior towards groups of strangers changes in the presence of a perceived threat and if differences in behavior can be explained by personality characteristics, attitudes, and social skills such as empathy.  The findings of the project are expected to contribute to improved understanding of the causes of polarization within society with respect to refugees.

Dr. Michael Staab, Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences: Sex Determination and Biomass Allocation in Response to Habitat Quality

Changes in habitat influence species diversity and population structure within individual species groups as well. A classical theory of evolutionary biology forecasts that within a species population, the gender relationships between females are males are balanced. Yet gender relationships nevertheless are dependent on the availability of resources which is directly related to the quality of the habitat. Therefore, in insect populations in poor quality habitats, the number of males rises, which can, among other things, influence the population’s potential for survival. Staab is going to use nesting aids for solitary bees and wasps in order to test if habitat quality has an influence on resource distribution and gender relationships. The project will in this way test a plausible mechanism that might be behind the clear drop in the insect population.


Dr. Friedemann Pestel
Department of History
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 / 203-97871

Dr. Bastian Schiller
Institute of Psychology
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 / 203-97741

Dr. Michael Staab
Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 / 203-67787