Focus-groups pursue one-year projects in which three to five Fellows work together under a thematic umbrella. The groups may additionally invite short-term Fellows (up to three Fellows for three months each) and organize workshops with external guests.
Focus-groups should be dedicated to addressing original issues that fall outside the parameters of individual disciplines. The group is free to choose its own orientation regarding content. This “experimental mode” especially benefits from heterogeneous constellations of different disciplines, cultures or generations. Because the Kolleg has few applications from the natural and technical sciences, preference will be given to scientists from these disciplines when their group topic is at least of equal quality to other applications. However, the focal point remains a theoretical treatment of the topic, since the Wissenschaftskolleg has no laboratory space on its premises.
Along with scientific excellence, crucial prerequisites for receiving an invitation are an interest in other disciplines and a willingness to engage in discussion beyond one’s own field. This applies to every member of the group.
The application procedure is twofold. Preliminary applications can be submitted in response to the annual public call for applications. After an initial selection round, successful applicants are invited to submit a full proposal. The merits of each proposal are then discussed by a review panel taking into account external experts. The proposals that have passed the preselection process are subsequently presented to the Wissenschaftskolleg’s Academic Advisory Board, and the final decision is rendered by the Kolleg’s Rector.
Timetable for the Selection Process
- Submission of a pre-proposal by 1 January 2022
- Call for submission of a full proposal in March 2022
- Submission of a full proposal by 15 June 2022
- Academic Advisory Board meeting in November 2022 followed by the decision of the Rector as to who will be invited for the coming academic year
Scientists and scholars with a doctorate who have not yet held a full-year fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin are eligible to apply. Applicants may not be working together at the same institution or in an already funded joint project. As a rule, applicants must have published at least one monograph or several articles in prestigious journals.
Reapplications are only possible with a new project and, at the earliest, five years after your last rejected application.
Researchers affiliated with Berlin institutions of higher learning cannot be considered for participation in focus groups.
Applications consist of an overall concept pertaining to an umbrella topic and the group members’ individual projects also as related to the umbrella topic.
Applications must demonstrate the innovative character as well as the originality and relevance of the project, and they must justify the need for the participants to be working together.
Each group consists of one spokesperson and two to four additional applicants.
The pre-application must include the following information:
- Brief description of the project (4000 to 5500 characters inclusive spaces)
- Topic and questions, including a short description of the planned individual projects
- Methodologies and work methods
- The current state of research and prior contributions made to it by the various members of the focus group
- Information about the applicants
- Short CVs with information regarding a maximum of five publications relevant to the project (2 pages at most)
- One recent article (in German, English or French) from each applicant that succeeds in characterizing their work
- A list of possible short-term Fellows, with information pertaining to their request status (firm commitment, ongoing request, planned request)
The following information is expected in the full proposal:
- Brief summary (maximum 2000 characters = 1 page)
- A detailed description of the project (depending on the group size, 20,000 to 30,000 characters inclusive spaces = 10 to 15 pages) must cover the following aspects:
- Topic and questions
- Methodologies and work methods
- Current state of the research and previous contribution made to it by the various members of the focus group
- Descriptions of the planned individual projects (each description 4000 to 5000 characters inclusive spaces = 2 to 3 pages)
- Information on the planned workshops and other planned forms of collaboration
- For each applicant: complete CV and list of publications, two recent articles (German, English or French) that succeed in characterizing their work and at least one of which is relevant to the proposed research topic
- List of possible short-term Fellows, with information on their request status (firm commitment, ongoing request) and with short CVs (each a maximum of 2000 characters = 1 page)
Applications can be submitted in German or English.
Applications should be sent as PDF to application.focus.group(at)wiko-berlin.de.
For further information please contact Dr. Janina Schirmer.