Doctoral program "Interdisciplinary Sport Science" Bern-Tübingen

The doctoral programme "Interdisciplinary Sports Science", which was conceived together with the Institute of Sports Science at the University of Tübingen, will be supported by swissuniversities with a substantial amount of money for four years as part of the "Doctoral Programs at Universities 2017-2020 TP1". This will make it possible to establish one of the few internationally oriented doctoral programs within sports science.

Position paper on the philosophy of the doctoral program (PDF, 14KB)

The (still young) sport science is one of the subjects that gain their self-image to a large extent from their object orientation. For this reason, phenomena that can be observed in the social subsystem of sport form the starting point for sport science research. The associated research problems are often so complex that an interdisciplinary approach is required. In contrast, sport science is still confronted with science policy requirements that are more likely to be met by disciplinary approaches and an orientation towards the respective parent discipline (e.g. sport psychology → psychology). The chance of acceptance in the scientific community and thus the chance of successful third-party funding acquisition and well-placed publications seems to be more lucrative with a closer orientation towards an established maternal science. At the same time, however, there is the danger that a narrow orientation towards maternal science will cause the subject of sport science to disappear from view. A science whose basic concern was "a better sport" (Ommo Grupe) could thus become a relatively unconnected collection of sub-disciplines whose orientation towards the subject area of sport is increasingly losing importance. This would mean, as it were, that the social impact of sport science would decline.

With the doctoral program "Interdisciplinary Sport Science", the participating institutions of the University of Bern and the University of Tübingen have established a program that aims to achieve both a high scientific and a high social impact. A high-quality theoretical and methodological foundation of the research work is seen as a prerequisite for a high scientific impact. The social impact is to be achieved by orienting the research work to concrete phenomena and problems of sport, which is connected with the chance to achieve research results that can contribute to the solution of problems from the practice of sport.

The program is intended to generate added value for doctoral students at various levels:

  • Improved supervision by several tutors from different institutions and from different sport science sub-disciplines
  • Possibility of networking with other doctoral students and with international experts
  • Stimulation of interdisciplinary thinking and interdisciplinary co-operation
  • Increasing the visibility of doctoral degrees
  • Sensitisation for ethical and scientific theoretical questions of an interdisciplinary sport science

The considerations of interdisciplinarity and problem orientation form the research paradigmatic framework and are to be deepened in superordinate colloquia. In addition, - with a view to Heckhausen's demand formulated in 1987 that scientific knowledge in the narrow sense can only be gained in a disciplinary way - monothematic resp. monodisciplinary colloquia should also be offered, without, however, completely foregoing an interdisciplinary exchange.

The program consists of two types of colloquia:

  1. Interdisciplinary 3-day summer/winter school, which takes place once a year. This event is mandatory for all members of the doctoral program. Two blocks with different contents are planned:
    • Cross-disciplinary basics of an interdisciplinary sport science (e.g. problem/application orientation, social responsibility, interdisciplinarity, research-ethical and scientific-theoretical topics)
    • Thematically (e.g. talent research, empirical school sport research, organisational development) and/or disciplinary (e.g. sport sociology, sport psychology, sport medicine) more narrowly defined workshops in which, among other things, individual dissertation projects are also discussed.
      The summer school is supervised by the professors of the two participating institutions. In addition, the doctoral students in the summer schools are usually supported by external experts who act as lecturers and tutors.
  2. 2-day subject- or topic-specific workshops, each of which is attended by some of the students of the doctoral program.
    The workshops are supervised by approx. 2 professors and other tutors as required.

The first Summer School took place from 29 June to 1 July 2017 in Tübingen (D). You can find a short report (in German) here.

The second Summer School took place in St. Moritz from 27 to 29 June 2018. You can find a short report (in German) here.

From 9 to 13 April 2018 an international PhD workshop on the topic "Culture, Sport & Society" took place. You can find the short report (in German) here

The third Summerschool took place from 4 to 6 July 2019 in Grafenhausen (D). A short progress report can be found here.

The next summer school will take place from 24 to 26 June 2020.

All students enrolled as doctoral candidates at the University of Bern or the University of Tübingen who are supervised by a professor involved in the doctoral program are admitted to the doctoral program.

Those interested in a doctoral program at the Institute of Sport Science should contact the corresponding professor directly.

Further information on the doctoral program is available from the head of the program, Prof. Dr. Achim Conzelmann, and the coordinator of the doctoral program, Nina Schorno.

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