In each “class”, the Wissenschaftskolleg strives to put together a group of Fellows that is greater than the sum of its individual members. To this end, the Wissenschaftskolleg invites outstanding researchers from all disciplines and from all over the world for a research year in Berlin.
There are two paths to candidacies for fellowships: Candidates for fellowships can either apply on their own behalf or they can be nominated. Applications and nominations can be submitted at any time. We operate an electronic application platform for researchers applying on their own behalf.
Ideally, a fellowship gives the invited Fellow the opportunity to make discoveries and be inspired to new ideas and insights through his or her contact with the other Fellows and their projects. This goal guides the selection.
Fellows are free to choose their projects for their stay at the Wissenschaftskolleg; there are no thematic specifications. The research projects proposed with the application do not have to have any relationship to Berlin, but it must be possible to carry them out in residence.
The Wissenschaftskolleg also invites a few artists (musicians, authors, film-makers, etc.); they are suggested by Senior Advisors whom the Rector has charged with this task. Prominent persons of public life can also be invited; the initiative for this lies with the Rector of the Wissenschaftskolleg.
Intellectual curiosity, interest in disciplines other than one’s own, and readiness to discuss also beyond one’s own disciplinary interest are decisive preconditions for a fruitful Fellow residency. We regard researchers who reflect on and theoretically or conceptually work on the basic assumptions of their discipline as the ideal candidates for a fellowship. Creativity is an important asset, it should, however, not be achieved at the expense of thoroughness – or vice versa.
Applications from young researchers are welcome. It is expected that they have published at least one monograph (especially in the humanities) or were able to place several articles in respected publications (natural and social sciences).
Early-career life scientists are fostered in particular in the framework of the College for Life Sciences (CfLS) and in this context can apply in a separate procedure.
In general, candidates who apply with an academic/scientific project must have completed a doctorate. Passive knowledge of English is required.
The Fellows live and work on the Wissenschaftskolleg’s small campus in Grunewald district; this includes a common meal on weekdays. Research that requires constant absence (in labs, archives, or other facilities outside Berlin) is thus unsuitable for a fellowship.
One aspect of the Wissenschaftskolleg’s mode of operation is to separate the invited researchers from their routines and accustomed surroundings and to expose them to new experiences. For this reason, researchers from Berlin research institutes or Institutes of higher learning are not considered for fellowships.
Applications should include the following documents:
a current curriculum vitae with a list of publications;
two recent articles (at least one of them in English, the second one in German, English, French or Spanish if at all possible) that are characteristic of the applicant’s most significant research work and/or related to the proposed research topic;
a description of the project planned for the applicant’s stay in Berlin (3-5 pages); an introductory section (max. 200 words) should explain the project’s significance to readers from other disciplines. The description should also briefly summarize extant work in this area of research (state of the art) and how the project would advance the current state of knowledge.
Applications can be submitted via the Wissenschaftskolleg's electronic platform.
Each candidate is evaluated on the basis of his or her individual achievements. With individual applications, this means research achievements already made, the quality of the submitted project suggestion, and the applicant’s ability to engage in multidisciplinary discussion.
Discipline-specific evaluation criteria are essential for judging a candidate’s prior research career. In the humanities and in all disciplines in which a monograph plays an important role, these major publications will be intensively evaluated.
The evaluation criteria are adjusted to the respective career stage: for young researchers in the humanities and legal sciences, the quality of their first major publications plays an important role; for already established researchers, their current or past influence in their respective field is more important. Here, the international reception of prior research work is also considered.
Independent of the stage of the applicant’s career, the project is judged by whether it seeks to take new directions.
The reflected suggestion of new hypotheses or theoretical approaches is welcomed in contrast to the reproduction and application of fashionable theories; here, there should also always be scope for unseasonable ideas.
If two applications have the same quality, preference will be given to the research project that is still at its beginning and can consequently profit more from a phase of open-ended research. But the description of the research project should provide indications of how and in accordance with what criteria the project will proceed.
The interest of the Wissenschaftskolleg is to put together an intellectually diverse group with representatives of different disciplines and cultures of knowledge. This means that researchers will be invited also from countries and universities that do not have the same international visibility as the leading “Western” research institutions. The criterion of selection here is the applicant’s position within his or her national research landscape.
Researchers whose applications are rejected and who want to apply again must wait five years before a fellowship will be considered.
Second fellowships are not possible.
The decision of the Wissenschaftskolleg is final.
Applications should be submitted on the Wissenschaftskolleg’s electronic platform. In exceptional cases, the documents can be sent as a PDF to admissions(at)wiko-berlin.de or on paper to the Kolleg’s postal address.
There are two paths to candidacies for fellowships: Candidates can either apply by themselves or they can be nominated. Applications and nominations can be submitted at any time. We operate an electronic application platform for researchers applying on their own behalf.
In accordance with the Charter, the Rector and the Permanent Fellows meet to discuss candidacies.
The Academic Advisory Board meets twice a year, in May and in November, to discuss all candidacies and to recommend invitations. External evaluations are commissioned to judge the disciplinary profiles; these are presented to the Academic Advisory Board.
After the conclusion of these consultations, the Rector issues the invitations.
Essential for the selection procedure are the comparative weighing and evaluations of the candidacies in terms of discipline-specific selection criteria and the composition of the Fellow “class”.
The qualitative judgment comprises considerations of research achievements, the evaluation of the stringency and originality of the submitted project, and careful reading of the selected publications.
All persons taking part in the selection of candidates are requested to reveal any possible conflict of interest in the decision-making process. This is based on the rules passed in 2018 to avoid conflicts of interest.