The Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin was founded in 1981. The purpose of the Kolleg is to offer scholars and scientists the opportunity to concentrate on projects of their own choice for one academic year, free from administrative duties.
The Kolleg makes a point of creating a balanced mixture of both distinguished senior scholars and promising younger researchers, drawn from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.
The Rector and her staff aspire to provide optimal working conditions so that Fellows may devote themselves completely to their research and profit from the unforeseeable stimulation, and even creative provocation, that a diverse community of scholars can offer.
At the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, internationally recognized senior researchers, promising younger scientists and scholars, as well as outstanding public intellectuals or personalities from the creative arts are offered the opportunity to concentrate for one academic year on projects of their own choice. Every year since 1981, around forty Fellows have been invited to live and work side by side. They constitute a temporary learning community characterized by diversity (of disciplines, cultures, languages, etc.) and promising potential for stimulation and critique. The institution strives to provide optimal conditions and assistance for the invited researchers and offers a wide range of services. In selecting its Fellows, the Wissenschaftskolleg places no restrictions on country of origin, discipline, or academic position; however, a doctoral degree is a prerequisite. Candidates are subjected to a thorough evaluation. With the help of an international Advisory Board, invitations are issued with a view to composing a most stimulating group for each year, including representatives from the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities alike.
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.
Projects & Cooperations
Cooperative work and projects that often are the result of research by former Fellows help to enhance the work of the Wissenschaftskolleg by creating greater continuity. These allow for engagement with a certain question or a particularly promising field beyond the temporal framework of an academic year. In this way much which has been conceived and worked on at the Wissenschaftskolleg can be brought into the wider nexus of the Berlin and German scholarly communities. At the same time, projects and cooperative work can also redound to the benefit of the Kolleg, as such is always providing impulses for new research questions and for proposals regarding possible Fellow candidates.
The Wissenschaftskolleg’s library service provides you with all the media and information that you require for your research. We undertake research on all themes and issues as well as mediating contact to experts, archives, museums and other institutions. We support you in your bibliographical work and supply you with printed as well as electronic information in a quick and uncomplicated fashion.
For your use there is also a reference library with compendia and reference works from all disciplines as well as the Fellow Library with its publications of former and present Fellows, all of which have been compiled in an online catalog and can be searched through Wikoscope. On the campus of the Wissenschaftskolleg you have a wide array of electronic resources that are accessible through specific disciplinary points of entry. Our reading room offers you the use of single-user workstations and can also be employed by working groups.