The Center for Cognitive Science is funded by the Research Initiative of the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatine (450,000 Euro from 2014-2016; Universitaerer Potentialbereich Cognitive Science der Landesforschungsinitiative Rheinland-Pfalz for supporting excellent research clusters) and the participating research groups. The aim of the Center for Cognitive Science is to coordinate research projects between the University of Kaiserslautern, the Fraunhofer ITWM, and the German Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), which work on cognitive structures and processes, with a focus on topics such as perception, language, cognitive control and thinking in humans and artificial systems, resulting in synergies from different disciplines and perspectives, with a growing number of research projects and a sharpening of profiles and clusters at the university. The establishment of a Center for Cognitive Science is planned in order to provide an interdisciplinary platform for the sharing of resources and the exchange of knowledge and skills, beyond the individual disciplines. Groups from different fields, such as Psychology, Computer Science, Psycholinguistics, Mathematics, Neurobiology, Marketing (Cognition of decision making), Cognitive Neuroscience and Methods for Social Science are involved. The commitment is to raise interdisciplinary research grants, to publish related work, and to build the basis for the application of a Research Training Group (Graduiertenkolleg) funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation).
One of the main focuses of the Center for Cognitive Science is to establish the interdisciplinary Graduate School of Cognitive Science, an exchange platform for PhD students, young post-docs, and Principle Investigators, in order to support the academic career of our fellows through activities such as: weekly meetings to present the current projects and to discuss further steps, subsidized workshops and summer schools related to the field of Cognitive Science, organizing methods seminars which are given by the PhD students or post-docs themselves, and by assisting them in publishing, where we have established the interdisciplinary scientific peer review group.
One tool used to carry out our initiative is the PhD program of the Center for Cognitive Science. The goal is to support PhD projects where at least two Principle Investigators (PIs) from different disciplines (e.g. a psychologist, a computer scientist, and a linguist), work on a shared topic and together, are responsible for the supervision of a PhD student. This student is then funded with a one year scholarship by the Center for Cognitive Science, while the PIs share the costs for the other two years.
The Center for Cognitive Science organizes a weekly interdisciplinary colloquium (during the semester, every Thursday 3.30 pm - 5 pm, Building 57, Room 215), held in English, with national and international speakers from excellent research institutions. Three international workshops, reflecting the module structure of the Center for Cognitive Science, are scheduled between 2014 and 2016. In 2015, there will be the international workshop "Reading in the Forest" on the perceptual and cognitive functions of reading.
The Center for Cognitive Science hosts a honorary professor, Prof. Dr. Cees van Leeuwen, holder of the prestigious Odysseus professorship (comparable with the German Humboldt professorship) at the University of Leuven, Belgium, who teaches and provides expertise in research projects. Students of both universities have the possibility to participate in exchange programs.
We, at the Center for Cognitive Science, are an equal opportunity provider, adopting concepts as "Young Scientists" and "Gender and Diversity" and as such, have appointed one of our group member, Prof. Dr. Czernochowski, as equal opportunity commissioner. Special support is provided for female and international PhD students, post-docs and junior professors, but also for PIs (e.g., via family programs). Another member of the Center for Cognitive Science is delegated the responsibility as coordinator of the Graduate School of Cognitive Science and is a member of the board of the "Nachwuchsring" as well, the young scientist platform of the university.
We launched the Graduate School for Cognitive Science for students of the research-oriented MA program Cognitive Science. The idea is to ensure that MA students have the opportunity to get involved early in scientific discussions, methodological and softskill training, and to discuss ideas with more advanced PhD students and post docs as well as planning their further scientific career in the academia.