Herzog-Ernst Scholarship Programme at the Research Library Gotha and the Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt

Job Type: Visiting

Application Deadline: October 6, 2019


The Research Library, housed in Gotha’s Friedenstein Castle, holds a remarkable collection on early modern and modern cultural history. After Berlin and Munich and alongside the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel, it houses the most significant collection in Germany of historical sources from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. To these were added in 2003 the Perthes Collection Gotha from the holdings of the Justus Perthes Gotha press, established in 1785. It is considered one of the most significant cartographic collections worldwide.

The library holds, keeps, and catalogues these sources, which are part of a European cultural heritage. The library collection encompasses c. 700,000 prints, of which about 350,000 are early modern. To this are added c. 11,500 manuscript volumes containing a considerable collection of manuscripts, autographs, and literary remains pertaining, among other things, to the cultural history of early modern Protestantism, as well as a collection of some 3,500 oriental manuscripts – the third largest of its kind in Germany. Moreover, the library holds a remarkable collection of letters by German emigrants to America.

The Perthes collection with its collection of maps, cartographic library, and the press archives offers a unique collection in situ. The cartographic collection is comprised of c. 185,000 maps from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, produced by Perthes and other cartographic printers throughout the world. The cartographic-geographic library holds 120,000 volumes, a genealogical-statistical book collection, as well as a complete exemplar of the Almanach de Gotha, produced by the Perthes press. The press’ archive, with 800 linear metres of archival material, includes, inter alia, the transmission of the editing of Petermann’s Geographische Mitteilungen, a collection of the press’ specimen copies, as well as 1,650 copper plates. The Perthes collection is housed in the Perthes-Forum close-by Friedenstein Castle.


The Gotha Research Centre is an internationally renowned research institute of the University of Erfurt, maintaining close ties to the Gotha Research Library and the museums at Friedenstein Castle. Our main objective is to conduct and facilitate international interdisciplinary research projects in the field of cultural and intellectual history of the modern period. A large part of our research is closely related to the remarkable holdings of the adjacent Research Library. Current research projects include e.g. work on numismatics and antiquarianism in early modern history, natural history and history of cartography from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. In addition, the Research Centre offers a rich programme of (guest)lectures, conferences, and colloquia. Our goal is to serve as a platform where scholars from all over the world can conduct research and discuss their ideas and work in progress in a challenging and congenial atmosphere. The Gotha Research Centre is headed by Prof. Martin Mulsow (philosophy/early modern history of ideas) and co-director Prof. Iris Schröder (nineteenth-century global history), assisted by a board of directors and an international scientific advisory board.



The research support programme for visiting academics of the Herzog-Ernst-Scholarship aims to promote academic research through the use of the resources of the Research Library Gotha and of the associated historic collection of the Justus Perthes Gotha Publishing House as well as collections held by the Schloss Friedenstein Trust.

The academic orientation of the scholarship programme is intended to carry on the universal spirit of the library itself and its diverse resources. In this sense, the programme possesses an open thematic and disciplinary character. Still, the following focal points are emphasized and applications should reflect the clear-cut fields of the Research Library:

  • The ducal court in Gotha as an example for European court culture
  • History of publishing and book trade
  • History of science and cultures of knowledge as global history, history of transfer, and entangled history, 16th to 20th century
  • History of European literature, particularly 16th to early 19th century
  • Early Modern and 19th-century study of Classical religions, history of Protestantism, and Islam
  • Philosophy and history of the German and European Enlightenment
  • Heterodoxy, dissidence, and subversion
  • History of the humanities, e.g. numismatics, oriental studies, philology
  • History of natural science, e.g. alchemy, astronomy, physics and botany
  • History of spatially oriented disciplines, 16th to 20th century, e.g. ethnology, geology, geography and statistics
  • History of cartography and imperial history
  • Cartography and “critical geopolitics”
  • History of objects and the historical study of material culture

Also available for researchers are the holdings of the Thuringian State Archive of Gotha, which is located in the Perthes-Forum.

In cooperation with the Ernst-Abbe-Stiftung and the Melton Foundation Jena the Global Solvers CO LAB: 13-5-3 UN-limited for international junior staff will take place in Gotha from 6th to 12th June 2020. Applicants with an (historical) interest in UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 5 (Gen-der Equality), SDG 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing), and who are planning to be present in June are particularly welcome. For the previous CO LAB, see here. There will be a separate call for applications for the workshop itself.


For academic engagement with the resources held in Gotha, research scholarships for Ph.D. students will be awarded for periods of up to nine months (€ 1,300 per month) and postdoctoral scholarships for up to six months (€ 1,800 per month), starting on 1 February 2020. Please note: German language skills are not necessarily a requirement for admission to the programme.

Moreover, we welcome in particular applications corresponding to the following grant types: exploration stipends for PhD candidates embarking of their dissertation as well as “text and object” stipends for PhD candidates and postdocs, applying themselves to the relations between texts and objects. Applications for “profile stipends” for projects related to one of the research focuses at the Centre are likewise especially welcome. Senior scholars are invited to apply for a Hiob Ludolf-Fellowship (a monthly grant of up to € 1,500 for one or two months to help cover travel and boarding expenses).

The Research Centre is particularly happy to receive applications by female scholars. In 2018 the University of Erfurt was certificated once again as family-friendly institution. In the case of visiting scholars with children we offer a family allowance of € 100 per month, please provide a copy of the birth certificate. We are happy to assist in finding appropriate child care.

The scholarship holders are associated with the Gotha Research Centre, join the scientific community there, and present their projects to the public. Upon completion of the project, a short report regarding the outcome of the studies at Gotha Research Library has to be handed in, highlighting any relevant new findings. For the duration of the scholarship we expect you to reside in Gotha.

Applicants are requested to include the following documents to their application:

  1.  Application Form
    2.    Curriculum Vitae
    3.    A brief outline of the project (2–5 pages) including a statement why it is necessary to do research in Gotha
    4.    Two recent letters of recommendation regarding the proposed project (both experts should be named in the application form); can be sent separately by post or e-mail
    5.    Copies of relevant certificates
    6.    A list of publications, where applicable

Applications for the scholarship can be submitted under the heading “Herzog-Ernst-Scholarship” until 6 October 2019. Applications are accepted in German and English. Applications can be handed in electronically to the following e-mail address: herzogernst@uni-erfurt.de. Where necessary, insight into the documents may be requested.


The e-mail system of the University of Erfurt generally works with transport encryption. Please make sure that you use transport encryption when sending e-mails, too. If you also want to encrypt the content of your e-mail, please use – instead of the e-mail address above – the e-mail address bewerbung@uni-erfurt.de. The necessary key for sending the encrypted e-mail to this e-mail address you find, together with the certificate, by clicking here. If you do not make use of the possibility of encryption by certificate, encryption of the content of your e-mail is not be guaranteed. With handing in your application electronically, you give your consent that we check the e-mail and its attachments for harmful codes, viruses and spams, temporarily store the required data and continue the correspondence (unencrypted) by e-mail. By submitting your application, you also agree to the further use of your personal data in the context of the application process. This consent may be withdrawn at any time without giving reasons; just contact us. Please note that by withdrawing your consent your application might not be considered any longer. For further information on data protection in accordance with art. 13 EU Data Protection Regulation (EU-DSGVO), please refer to the information sheet here (“Data Protection Information for Applicants”).

Find out more information by clicking here.

Contact Info:

Kristina Petri
Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt
Schloßberg 2, 99867 Gotha
0049 361 737 1712

Posted: August 07, 2019