At the heart of the Wissenschaftskolleg is the idea that Fellows must have the freedom to choose their own distinctive research project. The Fellows' only obligations are to reside at the Wissenschaftskolleg, and to meet once a day for a meal and each Tuesday for the weekly colloquium. At each Tuesday Colloquium, one Fellow presents his or her work to the other Fellows followed by an hour of rigorous discussion.
Such an intellectually heterogeneous atmosphere often creates a productive friction that leads Fellows to reconsider their approaches, and may lead to unexpected innovation. Indeed, this special form of critical self-examination is possible only within a framework of wide intellectual variety, enhanced by the inclusion among the Fellows of composers, musicians, novelists, poets or visual artists.