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Academy Projects

Founded in 1970 by the state of NRW, the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts is a highly renowned scholarly society that advises the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia on issues relating to the promotion of cutting-edge research. The selected full and corresponding members of the Academy Class of the Humanities and the Young College include Professor Storch and Professor Kablitz, spokespersons for the DFG Review Board "Philosophy" Professor Speer and Professor Hammerstaedt, as well as university professors from the Faculty of Philosophy.

Among the Academy's select and highly competitive long-term funding, three projects and – together with the Cologne-Center for eHumanities (CCeH) – the central coordination office for the Digital Humanities of the NRW Academy are located at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Cologne.


Averroes Edition


The Averroes Edition produces scholarly editions of the works of the Andalusian Philosopher Averroes or Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Ibn Rušd, born in Cordoba in 1126, died in Marrakesh in 1198, more particularly editions of his treatises and commentaries on Aristotle in the field of Natural Philosophy. The edition comprises Averroes’s original Arabic texts as well as their Medieval Latin and Hebrew translations. Also edited are three commentaries by Averroes’s predecessor Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā Ibn Bāǧǧa, known as Avempace, born in Saragossa around the year 1075, died in Fez in 1139.

The Averroes Edition is a project of the North-Rhine Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts and the Thomas-Institut at the University of Cologne, it is directed by Andreas Speer and David Wirmer and pursued by a multilingual team of editors. The project has been established as part of the Akademienprogramm of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German federal states for a period of 25 years beginning in 2016. It forms part of an international collaborative corpus edition – Averrois Opera (Corpus Philosophorum Medii Aevi) – overseen by the Union Académique Internationale.



Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Andreas Speer, Thomas-Institute

Prof. Dr. David Wirmer, Thomas-Institute



Digital Averroes Research Environment (DARE):




The “Capitualaria” project is preparing a new edition of the Frankish capitularies, a pivotal corpus of legal sources from the European Middle Ages. The new edition of the Frankish capitularies aims to take their unique history of transmission into full consideration. More details on the project can be found here.

The project is part of the German Academies’ Programme since 2014. It is funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts. As a long-term project it will run for 16 years with an endowment of € 5.28m. The director of the project is Karl Ubl, professor of early and high medieval history at the University of Cologne.

The edition is being prepared in close collaboration with the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH) and the Cologne Center for eHumanities (CCeH). In addition, we cooperate with the Carolingian Canon Law Project (CCL) in Lexington (Kentucky) and the Computational Historical Semantics Project (CHS) in Frankfurt/Main.


Director: Prof. Dr. Karl Ubl, Department of History




Cologne Papyrus Collection


The Papyrus Collection has existed at the Department of Classics at the University of Cologne since the 1950s. The collection was founded by Joseph Kroll, then director of the institute, and Reinhold Merkelbach. In 1972, the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts began to generously support the collection. It provided funds for the acquisition of papyri and initiated a working group together with the University of Cologne. The current head of this project is Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hammerstaedt.

In accordance with the collections of Greek papyri and coins that are maintained and continuously expanded here, the research areas are Greek-Roman Egypt and Ancient Asia Minor. Here scientists restore, decipher, translate and comment on the papyri of the collection and work on the indexing of scattered published texts. The results are published in the series "Papyrologica Coloniensia".

With its large collections in Berlin and Heidelberg, the Cologne Papyrus Collection is one of the most important institutions of its kind in Germany.


Director: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hammerstaedt, Department of Classics




Cologne Center for eHumanities



Central Coordination for Digital Humanities of the NRW Academy

Research in the Humanities is undergoing a profound change. Digital methods and technologies are now an integral part of all Academy projects. Since 2015, the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts has therefore entrusted the Cologne-Center for eHumanities (CCeH), an institution of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cologne, with the function of a "Central Coordination for Digital Humanities of the NRW Academy". The CCeH, which has supported the Academy for many years in the digitisation of ongoing Academy projects, thus receives a number of additional tasks which it carries out for the Academy, so to speak as its external Digital Humanities (DH) department. Thus the CCeH takes over the comprehensive digital support and consultation of the academy and its projects, in particular the development of new spreading concepts at the interface of information technologies and Humanities, the organization of measures for competence development in the DH for participants in Academy projects as well as the development of concepts for the sustainable longterm protection of the research by archiving, storing and providing of the results. The CCeH as the central coordination office DH also advises the Presidium of the Academy on questions of the digital humanities at the level of the Academy Union and acts on behalf of the Academy in operational digital matters, such as filing applications within the framework of relevant funding measures.

The CCeH as a broadly positioned and widely recognized competence center in the fields of Digital Humanities is given the opportunity by the long-term cooperation agreement with the Academy to establish a stable structure, which continuously provides the necessary professional and technical competence as well as human resources for the support of the humanities research projects. The Academy benefits from the cooperation with a strong competence center, which supports the individual Academy projects with additional methodological and technical competencies.

The scientific management of the Central Coordination Office is the responsibility of the CCeH spokesman, Professor Dr. Andreas Speer, who is also a member of the Academy. The Central Coordination Office is managed by Professor Dr. Patrick Sahle, who is in charge of operational management and coordinates administrative and organisational tasks.