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Call for Applications: Transatlantic Doctoral Academy on Corporate Responsibility

Seminar series for German and Canadian PhD students working on corporate responsibility/ business ethics. Study stipends available.

Corporate responsibility has become a crucial issue in modern societies and an emerging field in social sciences and humanities. Due to an ongoing process of globalization along with the lack of national regulatory mechanisms, questions of how to avoid “bad” corporate behaviour and to foster “good” business practices have increasingly risen. The debate on business ethics in recent years has clearly shown that corporate responsibility has to take into account both “das Menschengerechte” as well as “das Sachgerechte”. Thus, we must not overemphasize one or the other, but must seek an adequate balance between the Scylla of ethical application in business practices and the Charybdis of moral philosophical justification. Consequently, business ethics and the findings for corporate responsibility must be interdisciplinary-oriented and integrate management and economics as well as social, cultural, and philosophical perspectives.

The Transatlantic Doctoral Academy on Corporate Responsibility will bring together German and Canadian PhD students who are dealing with questions of corporate responsibility/ business ethics in their doctoral theses. The Academy is interdisciplinary-oriented and open to PhD students of all academic disciplins and from all German and Canadian universities. Eight Canadian and eight German PhD students will be selected to participate in a series seminars within the next two years in Germany and in Canada.

The PhD students will work in seminars, with a length of four to six days, taking place twice a year (one in Canada, one in Germany) on issues regarding corporate responsibility. These seminars include:

  • student presentations about their work, followed by critically discussions,
  • readings and discussions on crucial issues in the context of responsible corporate actions that are particularly relevant to Germany, Canada or both countries,
  • meetings with managers and politicians to discuss and reflect on concrete problems

Each seminar will take place with eight students, the faculty members of the host country, and 4 visiting students (from Canada or Germany, respectively).

Language of instruction and debate will be English.

In addition to the seminar series, the Academy offers a limited number of short term research internships for the Canadian students in Germany and for German students in Canada. The internships will take place at the institutes of the faculty members of the Academy or at partner organizations (businesses, NGOs, or political organizations). It will especially enable students undertaking empirical research in Germany and Canada to deepen their practical experience and knowledge of these countries.

Stipends and sponsors
Successful applicants are invited to participate in three (of four) seminars (two in their home country, one in the partner country). Travel costs (economy flights and train rides), costs for accommodation and food as well as costs for materials are covered by the Academy. There are no tuition fees or other costs for the PhD students.

The Transatlantic Doctoral Academy on Corporate Responsibility is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Plansecur Foundation, the Klaus-Dieter-Trayser Foundation, and the Corporate Responsibility Foundation.


    1. Seminar: 19-24 January 2009 in Montreal, Canada
    2. Seminar: September 2009 in Kassel, Germany
    3. Seminar: January 2010 in Kassel, Germany
    4. Seminar: September 2010 in Montreal, Canada

Application procedure

Applicants should:

  • undertake a PhD theses in the field of corporate responsibility/ business ethics,
  • be enrolled in a PhD program at a German or Canadian university,
  • have very good English language skills,
  • be interdisciplinary-oriented and open-minded for innovative approaches, and
  • be interested in both: theoretical and practical questions.

The Academy will review applications that include all of the following documents:

  • a letter of motivation,
  • a current Curriculum Vitae, eventually including a list of publications,
  • an exposé of your planed PhD theses (3 to 4 pages), and
  • this form.

Please submit all documents in English, German or French not later than 30 October 2008 to:

The Academy will be supervised by Dr Thomas Beschorner, DAAD professor at the Centre canadien d’études allemandes et européennes (CCEAE), Université de Montréal, Canada and by Dr Matthias Schmidt, professor at the Technical University of Applied Sciences, Berlin and director of the Klaus-Dieter-Trayser Foundation, Kassel Germany.

Please contact us for any further questions by email: