Three Early-Stage Researchers of the University of Mannheim Accepted into the Elite Program of the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung

Dr. Daniela Kuschel, Dr. Alex Spike Gibbs and Dr. Martin Schnuerch are accepted into the prestigious elite program. They will receive funding for a period of 36 months.

Dr. Daniela Kuschel, researcher in the field of Literary and Media Studies, analyzes how paralysis is addressed and represented in French literature and French media in her work on “Paralyzed Bodies and Locomotive Impairments – a Diachronic Perspective on Im/Mobility in French Literature” (in German: “Gelähmte Körper und eingeschränkte Bewegungsapparate – eine diachrone Perspektive auf Im/mobilität in der französischen Literatur”). In addition to 20th century literature, she also analyzes contemporary literature and modern media such as movies, comics, and games to analyze how representations of physical disability continue, change, or emerge. Kuschel has been an academic staff member in the Romance Literatures and Media Studies department of the University of Mannheim since 2014. With the project, Kuschel further develops the research she has conducted at the Sorbonne Université in Paris and the University of Passau for which she has been funded over the past year and a half as part of the Walter Benjamin Programme of the German Research Foundation.

In his project with the title “Political, Economic and Social Networks in the Late Medieval Village,” Dr. Alex Spike Gibbs, researcher in the field of Economic History, uses late medieval court documents for a social network analysis. He aims to gain insights into the social status of individuals and their interaction with each other, and to find out more about the causes of inequality in past and contemporary communities. Gibbs has been junior professor of Economic History of the Middle Ages at the University of Mannheim since January 2022.

The psychologist Dr. Martin Schnuerch was also accepted into the elite program. In his research project “When Repetition Creates Truth: Experimental Analysis of Individual Differences in a Pervasive Judgment Bias,” he analyzes the so-called truth effect: The truth effect describes the phenomenon that people believe information that is repeated often, even if it has been proven that the information is wrong. Schnuerch uses experiments and statistical modelling to analyze how and why people are different with regard to this effect. This can be used to create strategies to avoid bias, for example to fight the spread of misinformation. The post-doctoral researcher has been working at the department of Psychology of the University of Mannheim since 2020.

About the elite program
With its elite program for post-doctoral researchers, launched in 2002, the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung supports outstanding researchers pursuing a professorship by funding research projects that they apply for and manage on their own responsibility, thus enabling them to become independent in the academic world at a comparatively early stage. Over a maximum period of three years, the foundation provides up to 150,000 euros for personnel, travel, material and investment costs.

For more information on the elite program (in German):