CIERA is a public interest grouping (GIP) bringing together twelve of the most prominent French higher education and research institutions in the field of humanities and social sciences. It is supported by French Ministry for Higher Education and Research and of the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – German Academic Exchange Service). CIERA is a streamlined body that launches and coordinates a significant proportion of Franco-German programmes aimed at assisting junior and senior researchers. Founded following a political decision made in 1997 by the French and German governments, the centre was officially opened in 2001. It has since been renewed on a regular basis; its work was extended for ten years in 2015.
CIERA’s goal is to promote mobility towards Germany and German-speaking countries, scientific cooperation with German-speaking institutions and researchers, and research on all facets of German history and society (law, culture, politics, spaces, etc.). It has a special focus on research training in order to foster work with and on Germany from Master’s level upwards. CIERA does not provide doctoral contracts or project funding in line with the ANR (French national research agency), but fosters mobility and encourages networking, in addition to rolling out an original learning programme.
More generally, CIERA promotes a certain idea of the internationalisation of research. Considering humanities and social sciences in global terms does not simply mean speaking English. Above all, it concerns an understanding of the language of science – a language which is contextual, but which is universally understood. We are convinced that the best way to gain a long-range view of oneself and to access a genuine international dimension is through in-depth work on, and with, a foreign field, a foreign scientific tradition and a foreign understanding of concepts, methods and disciplines. As they are so close and yet so different – also as regards their scientific traditions – Germany and France provide an exceptional laboratory to make globalisation a reflective lever.
CIERA is therefore not merely a centre with a focus on Germany. It is also a transition to interdisciplinarity, to a greater understanding of scientific languages, and ultimately an invitation to explore more about oneself.
- Centre d'information et de recherche sur l'Allemagne contemporaine (CIRAC)
- École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS)
- Ecole normale supérieure (ENS)
- École normale supérieure de Lyon (ENS Lyon)
- Institut d'études politiques de Grenoble (IEP)
- Institut d'études politiques de Paris (IEP) - Sciences po
- Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (MSH)
- University of Cergy-Pontoise
- University of Lorraine
- University of Strasbourg
- University Lumière-Lyon II
- University Panthéon-Sorbonne-Paris I
- University Paris-Sorbonne-Paris IV
Master’s students, doctoral students, junior researchers, professor-researchers: you do not strictly have to be a German scholar and your work does not have to focus only on Germany for you to contact us.
Whether you are looking for field research or to search the archives, to set up scientific cooperation on a subject or shared theme, to explore future collaborations or to learn how to organise an international scientific meeting, CIERA’s programmes have something for you.
All programmes are aimed at fostering mobility, exchange, training through research and emerging networks. Our structure is light and is not geared towards providing funding for your studies or a major concerted research programme. However, CIERA, within the interstices of existing major funding programmes, and without complicated applications, makes it possible to conduct real work on and with Germany, and to launch the initial phase of broader cooperation initiatives.
CIERA is a network of networks. It was founded in 2001. To find out more about its history please click here.
Resulting from an agreement between twelve university and research institutions, it is based on their cooperation: CIERA’s main decision-making body is therefore the general assembly which brings together the twelve member institutions. CIERA is chaired by Hélène Miard-Delacroix, who is also Chairperson of the GIP (public interest grouping).
The twelve institutions also delegate professor-researchers to sit on the Steering Committee, which discusses and steers CIERA’s actions and acts as a selection committee for most of its programmes.
Lastly, CIERA’s office (made up of its Director, two Deputy Directors and the General Secretary) and its team are in charge of CIERA’s daily tasks. They implement its main guidelines and ensure its smooth operation.
CIERA is not restricted to these twelve member institutions, however. Most of its programmes are also open to students and professor-researchers from other French, German, European and international institutions. The Scientific Board, which assesses and advises on CIERA’s activities, is made up of representatives from other institutions. All students, regardless of their location, can enrol with CIERA to receive privileged information about its activities. Simply sign up here, it is easy and free of charge.
In addition, CIERA provides an opportunity to forge cooperation initiatives with all German institutions without exclusivity. It works closely with other institutions promoting Franco-German work in humanities and social sciences, such as Centre Marc-Bloch, the Université Franco-Allemande, IFRA-SHS Frankfurt, the Institut historique allemand in Paris, the Maison Heinrich-Heine at the Cité universitaire internationale in Paris, the Goethe Institute in Lyon, to name a few.
Lastly, membership in the global network of DAAD centres allows CIERA to promote the bi-national lever more effectively to access reflective internationalisation of research into the humanities and social sciences.
CIERA is the fruit of a top-level political decision, as is often the case for Franco-German cooperation. This exceptional institutional investment has resulted in an atypical laboratory for internationalisation. In September 1997, the French and German governments met in Weimar and signed an agreement which included the following declaration:
“We believe that the mutual understanding of our countries’ realities must be deepened. The coming foundation of a French study and research centre on Germany meets this requirement, while contributing to the multidisciplinary training of the future specialists in contemporary German society”.
On this basis, the French ministry and the German DAAD started work alongside several French academics, who submitted various projects. The selected consortium became CIERA, the foundation of which was published in the French Official Journal on 13 December 2001.
CIERA has since expanded and several institutions have joined the public interest grouping (GIP), i.e. the alliance of member institutions. The Centre also opened sites in Strasbourg, Grenoble and Lyon. CIERA moved premises several times, before finding its permanent site in the Maison de la recherche of the University Paris-Sorbonne, which has recently been renovated. With each renewal, CIERA is serenely heading towards the celebration of its first twenty-five years of operation! The Centre has proved its usefulness and while its programmes are constantly being adapted to requirements, its core action has remained unchanged. Its team, which works through the contributions of member institutions and CIERA’s own budget, is the Centre’s beating heart, ensuring its smooth operation, conducting its programmes and supervising its publications and communications – find out more here.
CIERA’s also owes its success to the strength and inspiration of those who directed its creation and consolidation: Michael Werner, its founding Director, René Lasserre, its first Chairperson, and Nathalie Faure, its General Secretary. In 2015, Messrs. Werner and Lasserre handed over seamlessly to Christophe Duhamelle, the current Director, and Hélène Miard-Delacroix, the current Chairperson. Also in 2015, the members of the GIP renewed the agreement binding them for another ten years and the DAAD also renewed its support: CIERA’s work will continue! As a friendly nod to its founders, CIERA has given their names to the “René-Lasserre grant” internship programme and to the “CIERA Michael-Werner thesis award”.