Project of the Fellowship Program

For the first time at the University of Rostock, an interdisciplinary multi-day event for PhD students and PostDocs will be held in English, focusing on water as a central research topic. The Winter School Water is funded by the Vice-Rector of Research and Knowledge Transfer and is the first of a series of events in the coming years in which external scientists will be invited as discussion partners for our junior scientists. The aim is to bring together the next generation of young scientists from different disciplines and to get in touch with the opportunities and challenges of the interdisciplinary approach in an early stage of scientific career. 

The program is open to all PhD students and PostDocs of the University of Rostock and the An-Institutes of the University of Rostock.


Water is an integral ressource and object in many fields of research, although, we sure address it in very different ways. In Biblical Studies, for example, (the field of Theology concerned with the cultural history of early Christianity in Antiquity), water is an important historical and ritual research object. It was used for cleansing and purification, as well as for drinking, and that way was a basis for everyday life the same way it still is today. It was an integral part of every ritual, of medicine, of technical efforts – think of the aqueducts or sea trade – and of the cosmology, as well as, it played a big role in many explanations of how the world was believed to function. All of these aspects hold true throughout many fields of research, be it the humanities, or life sciences, or natural sciences, or engineering sciences.

Water is important. Now, there are as many different ways to approach this broad subject as there are fields of research. In this workshop, we want to get together and think about these differences but also about the similarities of the role water plays in our specific fields. Together with you, we will dive into the meaning of this everyday matter. By putting together our notions of water as an object of research, we aim at getting the feeling for what a big thing water actually is for all of us, in our role as researchers.

We will compare our approaches towards water. We will discuss possible interdisciplinary similarities. And we will share our different views of the subject with each other. We will do so by entering group discussions, splitting up into expert groups, giving small presentations and enjoying a keynote lecture, held by one particular speciallist of the subject from the field of Biblical Studies, Prof. Peter-Ben Smit from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Universiteit Utrecht. He will be conducting part of the workshop, assisted by Prof. Soham Al-Suadi of Biblical Studies at the Faculty of Theology at Uni Rostock and her staff. Further more, we will delve into the philosophy of science behind our various approaches towards the subject of water. We will consider, in what way our approaches differ, and in what way they might be similar, and in what way they might add to each other. Last but not least we will have a realtime writing workshop together. There we will be formulating a part of possible grant proposals, focussed on our common experience as well as on our specific fields of study.

We are sure, after the four days workshop each of us will see water with different eyes and as an important object to reconsider scientifically.

We are looking forward to seeing you there.


3rd - 6th December 2018

Project leader

Prof. Dr. Soham Al-Suadi
Faculty of Theology


Target group

PhD students and PostDocs of the University of Rostock and the An-Institutes at the University of Rostock

Number of participants

15 - 18

Project finance

Prof. Dr. Udo Kragl
Vice-Rector of Research and Knowledge transfer (PFT)


Daniel Pauling M.A.
Faculty of Theology

Henrike Dilling
Student Assistant

Dr. Doreen Schwarz
Graduate Academy


The program is continuously updated and adapted to the current state of planning. Therefore, the program is variabel and can still change.

Program overview


Please note: An application is necessary! The participation is free of charge. The Winter School "Water" will be held in English. To apply for your paticipation at the workshop, please use the application portal. A short letter of motivation is one part of the application.

Registration still possible.