5i Strategy

The Zukunftskolleg aims to promote the careers of young researchers of all disciplines. As a means of achieving this objective, the Zukunftskolleg relies on the 5-i strategy: Early independence with an international, intergenerational, intra-university and interdisciplinary angle.


Early independence is the essential idea behind the Zukunftskolleg: Researchers are able to carry out research free of restraints early in their career. The Fellowships enable young researchers to implement independent research projects or even to build their own research groups.

Independence can also be found in the management of the Zukunftskolleg: Decisions are made in the Executive Committee consisting of five Fellows and the Director. Thus, the Fellows take care of their own concerns.


However, independence does not mean ›on their own‹: science is a communal enterprise. This is why Fellows do not only belong to the Zukunftskolleg, but also to their Departments. The Departments benefit from the impressive amounts of external funding acquired by the Fellow as well as from the Fellow’s teaching responsibilities. The Fellow, on the other hand, can build relationships with the academic community and use laboratories and facilities of the Department.


Internationality is part of everyday life at the Zukunftskolleg and the university. Fellows come from many regions of the world, and they go to many regions in the world. To expand their international networks, Zukunftskolleg Fellows are encouraged to invite mentors, researchers and Senior Fellows from all over the world. This builds strong ties within the global academic community. Learn more about our internationalisation strategy in our annual report.


Early independence also includes learning from previous generations. Experienced researchers are tremendous sources of experience and knowledge. The Zukunftskolleg supports intergenerationality through several funding instruments that build bridges between experienced and junior researchers. For example, Fellows can invite Senior Fellows or apply for our Mentorship Programme.


The Zukunftskolleg is a place for people from different departments to meet and talk science. This enables interdisciplinarity.  Fellows are encouraged to step out of line and explore the zone between the disciplines: The weekly Jour Fixe is the interdisciplinary session of the Zukunftskolleg. Besides, the Zukunftskollegs offers specific funding instruments for interdisciplinary projects.