MECAM Working Formats in its main phase (2023- 2029)

MECAM implements various formats in the fields of scientific research and the promotion of young researchers, as well as in knowledge transfer and scientific mediation. The working formats are based on the MECAM principles of intergenerationality, interdisciplinarity and interregionality.

The Interdisciplinary Fellowship Programme is at the core of MECAM’s research program and will be led by MECAM’s directors. MECAM offers free office space, excellent working conditions, and monetary compensation for its Fellows in Tunis. Fellows contribute with working on their own, self-chosen projects, by exchanging among each other and with partners, and by engaging in academic activities of the Centre during and beyond their stay in Tunis. MECAM also invites Fellows to discuss the centre’s overarching theme of “Imagining Futures: Dealing with Disparity” from the vantage point of their respective research projects. In particular, up to ten fellows are invited at different career stages, with different disciplinary backgrounds and regional affiliations. In addition, MECAM invites up to six promising postdoc fellows preferentially from the Maghreb for up to three years who will conduct research advancing MECAM’s IRFs. Part of MECAM’s fellowship program is the MECAM fellow seminar (“MECAM Spectrum”) which is accompanied by MECAM’s PIs from Germany and Tunisia. MECAM Spectrum is a regular forum in which Fellows can present their work among each other and discuss it with scholars from MECAM’s partner institutions in Tunisia and Germany and members of MECAM’s program for early career researchers.

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Fellowship Programme Vertical

The guiding theme of MECAM’s research activities will be organized into five interdisciplinary research areas (IRFs), linked by three areas of methodological exploration (see below). These constitute the MECAM research program. In concrete terms, the five IFG themes developed during the preliminary phase will be transformed into five IRFs, a process that will be accompanied by the academic expertise of principal investigators (PIs) from Germany and Tunisia. This will expand the fight for resources. The themes of the former IFGs in the preliminary phase will be modified to become the five, broader Interdisciplinary Research Areas (IRFs), with a focus on individual fellowships (junior and senior) of up to 8 moi in duration, including joint fellowship seminars (MECAM Spectrum). The Rencontres Ibn Khaldoun will continue to take place mainly in Tunisia, but will be supplemented by a policy component and related awareness-raising and transfer events in Germany. In these working formats, i.e. the MECAM Spectrum, the following MECAM guiding theme “Imagining the Future: Facing Disparity”.

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During the main funding phase, MECAM plans to continue its fellowship programme by returning to residency fellowships in Tunis if the pandemic situation permits. The individual fellowships offered 19 during MECAM’s main phase will be primarily targeted to promising postdoctoral researchers (junior fellows), as well as more experienced senior scholars (senior fellows). MECAM will invite up to ten fellows per year for a period of ten months, although shorter periods of a minimum of three months can be arranged upon request. Fellow invitations will conform to criteria of regional distribution of their institutional affiliation to pursue their research projects at MECAM; re-invitations are possible.

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During the main funding phase, MECAM will invite up to six promising postdoc fellows for up to three years of which a maximum of three will be present at MECAM at the same time. MECAM intends to preferentially appoint scholars from the Maghreb for these postdoc fellow positions to build up potential members of MECAM’s future academic leadership.
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Rencontres Ibn Khaldun

Rencontres Ibn Khaldun, are public events meant to transfer MECAM’s research findings to the broader public to go beyond established academic formats, to trigger societal debates, and to enable the exchange of ideas among scholars and civil society actors. As experienced during MECAM’s preliminary phase and by collaborating with a diverse range of partners, the dissemination of scholarly findings may contribute to stimulating dialogue within society. In the main phase, this format will be developed further along two dimensions. First, Rencontres Ibn Khaldun are planned to be regularly held in other 10 Tunisian cities, among them Sfax, to broaden and intensify dialogue with Tunisian partners also outside of the capital Tunis. Second, in order to transfer policy-relevant findings from MECAM’s research to the European policy community, MECAM Policy Talks in Berlin, and other European capitals will be organised.

Public events will be held regularly at MECAM’s premises in Tunis. The aim of these events is to make the research center’s work accessible to a wider, non-academic audience. With the Rencontres Ibn Khaldoun, MECAM is creating a platform for dialogue, where the results of scientific research can be critically discussed and put into perspective with political, cultural and civil society players. Four events a year, mainly at MECAM and other venues in Tunis, but also in Germany (“Outreach Events”).
Four events a year, mainly at MECAM and other venues in Tunis, but also in Germany (“Outreach Events”).The Rencontres Ibn Khaldun are an important transfer format, enabling research results to be put into practice. The Rencontres Ibn Khaldun will take place mainly in Tunisia, but to add a political component, there may be associated outreach and transfer events in Germany outreach and transfer events in Germany.

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Traveling/Transregional Academies and Workshops:

The Traveling Academy testifies to the center’s dynamic trans-regional dimension. Researchers from the Maghreb, Europe and the rest of the world will be taking part in MECAM’s Traveling Academies. Traveling Academies are organized in different countries of the region, in a variety of contexts, and aim to engage different research traditions. Traveling/transregional academies and workshops, mainly with other Merian centers in the Maghreb and Mashreq, provide collaborative working formats for fellows, alumni and academics from partner institutions.

Traveling Academies and Transregional Workshops are collaborative research endeavours that have been further developed based on the experiences of the preliminary phase. Based on specific research topics which will be embedded in MECAM’s five IRFs, traveling academies are meant to promote collaboration and exchange among current and former fellows, and among members of MECAM’s partner institutions by providing pace for a scholarly exchange among a group of preselected scholars. All events are accompanied by a participatory science communication strategy. Due to the integration of former fellows, traveling academies form an important part of MECAM’s alumni strategy. In addition to that, transregional workshops can be used to identify, test and develop new topics, methods, and research questions within the frame of MECAM’s guiding theme and its five IRFs. They represent smaller and shorter events providing an intensive working environment that test the viability of research ideas and can be used to develop new forms of cooperation across MECAM fellows and members of its partner institutions. Transregional workshops are exploratory in nature and innovative in their interdisciplinary and regionally cross-cutting character.

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Traveling Academy Vertical
Docotral School Vertical

Annual doctoral seminar lasting three to five days twice per year (one in Tunis and one in Algiers) for doctoral students from the Maghreb and Germany, in close collaboration between MARA (Marburg Research Academy/Philipps University Marburg)the École doctorale (Université de Tunis), the “Religion and Society” Laboratory (University of Algiers 2/Algeria), the DAAD and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The doctoral school aims to identify potential future MECAM scholarship holders

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MECAM invites a limited number of scholars for shorter research stays of up to two weeks as Visiting Scholars to Tunisia, usually in the context of academic events or upon recommendation by members of MECAM’s community of scholars (especially fellows).

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Germany Research Visits

Apart from the regular fellowships, MECAM invites a limited number of scholars for shorter research stays of up to two weeks as Visiting Fellows to Tunisia, usually in the context of academic events or upon recommendation by members of MECAM’s community of scholars (especially fellows). Three Germany research visits per year are also possible for Maghrebi scholars and PIs at the Philipps-Univeristät Marburg and accompanied by its PIs. MECAM’s directors, EC and IAB members may also propose visiting fellows/candidates for the Germany research visits of strategic relevance to MECAM and its research agenda, for example to balance disciplinary approaches, to promote the engagement with emerging academic topics and perspectives, or to foster exchange with other Merian Centres and German or Tunisian institutes.

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