Goals and Mission

Free from everyday academic duties researchers have the chance to realise an interdisciplinary project at the ZiF, together with international colleagues. For this purpose the ZiF awards fellowships and scholarships, providing its guests with ideal working conditions and a professional infrastructure.

Interdisciplinary exchange as a crucial driving force for scientific progress: This conviction, propagated by the ZiF's founding father Helmut Schelsky, has been proved right time and again over half a century.

An unbiased perspective by colleagues from other disciplines makes methodical assumptions and boundaries more explicit, opens up new approaches to the common object of study and sometimes - as is evidenced by the ZiF's history - even helps define completely new fields of research. This is why the ZiF invites research groups (as opposed to individual researchers) to dedicate themselves to a theme connecting various disciplines. Interdisciplinarity is conceived of as a process permanently requiring new definition. Hence, the ZiFencourages research groups to render concrete and develop further the term and the practice of interdisciplinarity for themselves. The ZiF endeavours to do justice to the big interdisciplinarity between the Natural Science and the Social Sciences/Humanities as well as to the increasing differentiation within disciplines. It attempts to be inspirer, mediator and host to interdisciplinary cooperation, even if it proves intricate.


[...] systematic and regular discussion, colloquia, critique, and agreement in a group of scientists interested in the same topics, although perhaps from different perspectives, are of the greatest benefit for a scholar and his/her work.
Helmut Schelsky (1964)