Professor Kukla
News Story

Professor to Research Spatial Information in Germany With Prestigious Humboldt Award

Philosophy professor Quill Kukla, a senior research scholar at the university’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics (KIE), is one of only 100 applicants around the world to receive the highly coveted Humboldt Research Award

The award is given to scholars whose work has had a significant impact in their field and spotlights those expected to continue their innovative research throughout their career.  

The Humboldt Foundation award was created for scholars from all disciplines and nationalities to work in Germany for up to one year, collaborating on long-term research projects alongside colleagues at an academic institution. 

Exciting Connections

“I’m extraordinarily honored to receive this award,” says Kukla, who serves as the editor-in-chief of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. “I already have wonderful, exciting connections to colleagues in Berlin and Hannover, and much of my own research recently has focused on the city of Berlin itself, so this will be a fantastic opportunity to further my own research, collaborate, and build connections.”

Kukla says they will focus on geographic knowledge and the representation of spatial information. 

“I also have important side projects that I will be pursuing – one on socially charged public speech and one on street art and its role in placemaking, territory and place identity,” says the professor, a core faculty member of Georgetown’s Disability Studies program.

Shaping Concepts

Kukla, who describes their work as “quirky and off the beaten path,” says receiving an award that is typically reserved for more traditional research is exceptional.

They were nominated for the award by Mathias Frisch, a physicist and professor of philosophy at Leibniz University because of the Georgetown professor’s published work on the role of values and interests in scientific methodology and in shaping scientific concepts, particularly in medicine.

Kukla has written on public health ethics, the ethics of health communication, research ethics, methodological issues in medical research and the social epistemology of medicine.

Immensely Proud

While in Germany, Kukla will work with Frisch and other philosophers of science. 

They say these academics are “deeply interested in the role that social interests play in shaping scientific methodology, research programs and the communication of scientific knowledge.”

Before coming to Georgetown, Kukla served as co-coordinator for the Feminist Approaches to Bioethics Network and from 2003-2005 was a Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University. 

They also will help create a collaborative network among philosophers at Leibniz University Hannover and at the Technical University of Berlin.  

“The Kennedy Institute and the philosophy department are immensely proud of Quill’s work and are pleased to see them given the international recognition this prize implies,” says Daniel Sulmasy, KIE’s acting director. “They clearly deserve this award and we look forward to reading the results of their ongoing work in philosophy.”

-by Shelby Roller (G’19)