The initial plan to found the institute was the outcome of many years of preparatory work by the individual professors involved and their research assistants. This work was focused mainly on right-wing extremism, youth violence, and violent crime. The second stage was the setting up of an Interdisciplinary Research Group on Multiethnic Conflicts to coordinate these activities. The third step was the draft plan for an institute that the then rector of the university, Helmut Skowronek, circulated to all faculties in June 1993, inviting their participation.
The Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (IKG) was founded by a resolution of the University Senate on December 18, 1996. Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Heitmeyer was appointed director. His deputy is Prof. Dr. Rainer Dollase.
The Institute was opened officially on April 16, 1997, with a symposium at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) on Societal Trends, Scientific Responsibility, and Violence. Papers were presented at the symposium by Anke Brunn, then Minister of Science and Research of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the former Rector of the University of Bielefeld Dr. Gert Rickheit, the Institute’s director Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Heitmeyer, the then President of the German Research Foundation (DFG), Prof. Dr. Frühwald (on “Science and Society”), and the President of the Social Science Research Center Berlin (Wissenschaftszentrum für Sozialforschung Berlin), Prof. Dr. Neidhardt (on “Violence, the Discussion on Violence, and Research on Violence”). These papers were published in German in the book series “Bielefelder Universitätsgespräche und Vorträge.”