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The Zukunftskolleg within the Excellence Strategy

Since its establishment in 2007, the Zukunftskolleg has pioneered the promotion of early career researchers, encouraging and actively practicing scientific collaboration that goes beyond departmental and national boundaries, career stages and status groups. The Zukunftskolleg also plays a central role in the Excellence Strategy and is further developing in terms of content and strategy, for example through the ZUKOnnect Fellowships that were introduced in 2019 and that attract outstanding young scholars from low income countries.
The Zukunftskolleg

The Zukunftskolleg is an Institute for Advanced Study and supports early career researchers along their path to a successful academic career by offering them access to international scientific expertise, networking, interdisciplinarity, independence in their choice of projects and their work, infrastructure and financial support. With this strategy and through a proven and professional selection process that is gender- and diversity-sensitive and constantly evolving, the Zukunftskolleg recruits outstanding young researchers who demonstrate a high success rate on their way to a professorship.

To fulfil its function, the Zukunftskolleg acts as a central interface within the university. Here - according to the university's motto "creative.together-, the recruited and associated early career researchers from all departments as well as the clusters come together to live a "culture of creativity" and to form a vibrant international community that introduces new research ideas to the university and connects minds across the boundaries of individual disciplines. This prepares the breeding ground on which the ideas of the future are born.

To support all early career researchers at the University of Konstanz, the Zukunftskolleg puts various funding instruments to the test, with the aim of encouraging and acknowledging postdoctoral careers. This testing of new research instruments is highly efficient thanks to the governing structure of the Executive Committee, which is unbureaucratic and led by the fellows, and the Zukunftskolleg’s fast and flexible administration. The Zukunftskolleg contributes to strong international networks both in Europe (NetIAS) and throughout the world (UBIAS), which foster intercultural exchange and enable it to diversify at international level. Since 2020, advances in the Zukunftskolleg’s digitization facilitate an “inclusive” digital presence at hybrid events and make it possible to extend fellows’ affiliation with the Zukunftskolleg by awarding digital fellowships. Cooperation with the university’s central services and lively exchange with the clusters in the Excellence Strategy enhance the Zukunftskolleg’s intra-university networking and contribute to adaptable support for the Excellence structures and their long-term development.

What we offer and further develop within the Excellence phase:

  • Interdisciplinarity and intra-university networking across 13 departments and two clusters
  • Zukunftskolleg fellows and associated early career researchers form a vibrant international community that introduces new research ideas to the university and connects minds across the boundaries of individual disciplines
  •  Joint Zukunftskolleg-Cluster Fellowships selected via a professional recruitment process that is gender- and diversity-sensitive and constantly evolving
  • Support of the early independence of early career researchers through own research funds and an innovative governing structure, including an Executive Committee in which the fellows have majority representation
  • Think tank for funding instruments (interdisciplinary, intersectoral, international) to encourage and acknowledge postdoctoral careers across the whole university
  • The Zukunftskolleg’s fast and flexible administration makes the implementation of new ideas and funding instruments highly efficient
  • Inclusive internationalization and intercultural exchange, e.g. ZUKOnnect and Herz Programme for Africa, Asia and Latin America and strong international networks of the Institute for Advanced Study (global UBIAS and European NetIAS with the joint funding programme “Constructive Advanced Thinking”), e.g. with bilateral partners such as the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS) in Tokyo (Japan) and the Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) at the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
  • Participation in policy discussions within the German (German Science and Humanities Council) and European (YERUN, ERUA) academic systems and generation of scientific expertise by fellows and administration
  • Advanced digitization