Themes and Plans

All applicants must submit a sketch of the research project they intend to pursue in Berlin. This description and the applicant’s prior research accomplishments are of central importance for the selection decision.

Fellows are free in their choice of plans for their stay at the Wissenschaftskolleg; the institute makes no restrictions in the form of annual themes or the like. The research proposals submitted with the application do not need to have any relation to Berlin, but it must be possible to carry them out in residence here.

Interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary research is widespread today – indeed, it is the new normal in most fields. An interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach can therefore no longer be regarded as a value in itself; it is a value only if it leads to a fruitful examination of a disciplinary (or multidisciplinary) question that will inspire further research along new lines.

Intellectual quality is the primary criterion in the evaluation of applications. In cases of roughly equivalent quality, preference is given to the research project that is still in its early  stages and can thus still profit from a phase of open-ended research. However, the proposal should still provide indications of how and in accordance with what criteria the research will proceed.

If applicants wish to work jointly on a project, proposals to form small teams may also be submitted. The Wissenschaftskolleg welcomes small Focus Groups of three to five Fellows that undertake a fresh exploration of complex issues or socially relevant themes neglected in other contexts. Both the individual members and the proposed Focus Group topic are evaluated in these joint applications.