Doctoral programme "Problem-oriented Sport Science"

The doctoral programme designed together with the Institute of Sport Science at the University of Tübingen from 2017-2020 will be expanded in the funding period 2021-2024 by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Technical University of Munich. The University of Bern thus supports one of the few internationally oriented doctoral programmes within sports science.

Position paper on the philosophy of the doctoral programme (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 programme "Problem-oriented Sport Science", the participating institutions plan to continue and expand a programme that aims to achieve both a high scientific and a high social impact. The prerequisite for a high scientific impact is a high-quality theoretical and methodological foundation for the research work. The social impact is to be achieved by orienting the research work to the "supremacy of phenomena" (Magnusson, 1992) and thus to concrete phenomena and problems of sport, which is associated with the opportunity to achieve research results that can contribute to the solution of problems from the practice of sport.

The programme 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;
  • stimulating problem-oriented and interdisciplinary thinking and interdisciplinary cooperation;
  • increasing the visibility of doctoral degrees;
  • sensitisation to ethical and science-theoretical questions of a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary sport science.

The considerations on 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 dispensing with interdisciplinary exchange.

The programme consists of three types of colloquia:

  1. Interdisciplinary 3-day summer school that takes place annually. This event is mandatory for all members of the doctoral programme. Three different contents are planned:
    1. Cross-disciplinary basics of an interdisciplinary sport science (e.g. problem/application orientation, social responsibility, interdisciplinarity, research-ethical and science-theoretical topics);
    2. Thematically (e.g. talent research, empirical school sport research, organisational development) and/or disciplinary (e.g. sport sociology, sport psychology, sport medicine) workshops with a narrower focus, in which, among other things, individual dissertation projects are also discussed;
    3. "special interest groups", which are self-organised sessions that offer a concrete networking and exchange opportunity to specifically adapt the content of the Summer School to the needs of the doctoral students.
  2. 2-day (subject- or topic-) specific satellite workshops (similar to 1b), in each of which some of the students of the doctoral programme will participate.

The Summer School is supervised by the professors of the participating institutions, the workshops are supervised by approx. 2 persons from this circle. In addition, the doctoral students in the summer schools are usually supported by 3 external experts who act as speakers and tutors.

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 Summer school planned for 2020 has been cancelled due to the Corona pandemic.

An online PhD workshop in the field of sociology and management of sport will take place from 24-26 March 2021.

The first Summer school of the 2021-2024 funding period will take place on 23-25 June (probably in Magglingen).

Doctoral students who are supervised by a habilitated member of the participating institutes are eligible to participate.

If you are interested in a doctoral programme at the Institute of Sport Science, please contact the relevant professor directly.

For further information on the doctoral programme, please contact the head of the programme, Prof. Dr. Mirko Schmidt, or the co-ordinator of the doctoral programme, Sofia Anzeneder.

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