Career Paths

At the Zukunftskolleg, we love to keep track of the career pathways of our former Fellows. We celebrate their successes and hope that the Zukunftskolleg was a helpful stepping stone in their career. We are proud how our former fellows overcame all obstacles to advance their research and want to tell more people about it. In 2017, we hightlighted the career paths of some of our alumni.  Take a moment and get inspired by these outstanding researchers.

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Poster Alumni Julien Bernard

Julien Bernard

What are the boundaries of science? How are science and truth related to each other? As a philosopher of science and maître de conférences of philosophy at Aix-Marseille University, Julien Bernard tackles these problems with great passion - even though there are no definite and fixed answers to them.

Poster Alumni Beatriz Puente-Ballesteros

Beatriz Puente-Ballesteros

Beatriz Puente-Ballesteros' research transcends both disciplines and cultures. As a medical doctor, sinologist and historian of science by formation her career took her from Spain to Germany and then all the way to China, where she is now an an assistant professor for East-West Interactions and Exchanges in the Department of History at the University of Macau.

Poster Alumni Chiara Gianollo

Chiara Gianollo

Chiara Gianollo is a linguist and one of the best examples of how essential it is to have an external adviser, somebody who is not a direct supervisor or boss, to advance a career in academia. During her fellowship, she took full advantage of the possibility to invite a Senior Fellow to the Zukunftskolleg. Today, she is a senior assistant professor at the Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies in Bologna.

Poster Alumni Thomas Voigtmann

Thomas Voigtmann

Why is paint extremely viscous in the can, but easy to apply on the wall? And why doesn’t it immediately drip down as soon as it is applied? Thomas Voigtmann knows the answer: As a professor of physics at the University of Düsseldorf and group leader at the Institute of Materials Physics in Space within the German Aerospace Center in Cologne he shares his enthusiasm about soft matter with us.

Poster Alumni Monika Class

Monika Class

Now a Junior Professor of English Literature and Culture at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Monika Class reflects back on her education and working experience in Germany and England and believes that the means and methods of studying, researching and teaching depend a lot on the country and culture in which one lives.

Poster Alumni Laura Iapichino

Laura Iapichino

Dealing with equations, numbers and calculations has always been the most natural thing for Laura. She persued her goals with great ambition, and was successful: Today, she is an Assistant Professor for Mathematics at the University of Eindhoven, living the dream of her life.

Poster alumni Martin Bruder

Martin Bruder

For Martin Bruder, everything pointed towards a career in academic psychology. But he took different turns in his path and has been working for the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), a non-university research institute, since 2015. He talked to us about exciting opportunities to combine academic rigour and political impact.

Poster ALumni Karsten Rinke

Karsten Rinke

Even as a child, Karsten Rinke was fascinated by water. He followed his heart and studied biology with a focus on limnology. No wonder that Konstanz was an ideal place for him to live and do research! Today Rinke is head of the Department of Lake Research at the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) where he takes full advantage of former Zukunftskolleg Jour Fixe visits.

Poster Alumni Eleanor Coghill

Eleanor Coghill

Eleanor Cogill says that “you should only go into an academic career if you absolutely enjoy research.” She sure does - while other teenagers decide to learn Spanish or French, Eleanor taught herself Egyptian hieroglyphs and Latin. Today, she is a Professor of Semitic Languages at Uppsala University.

Poster Alumni Karsten Lambers

Karsten Lambers

Karsten Lambers once considered to study aerospace engineering - today, he is still aiming high and detecting archaelogical objects via satellite images.  As a Professor of Archaeological Computer Sciences he combines information science with archaeology. Apropos interdisciplinarity: Currently he is planning a project with Sasha Kosanic, Associated Fellow affiliated with the Department of Biology.

Poster Alumni Philip Leifeld

Philip Leifeld

Philip Leifeld is a true Alumnus of the University of Konstanz: He completed both his Master's degree in Politics and Public Administration and his PhD here and stayed for a Fellowship at the Zukunftskolleg. Today, he is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow and shares some insight into his research and academic career with us.

Poster Alumni Iris Tatjana Kolassa

Iris-Tatjana Kolassa

While others are talking about how to combine an academic career with motherhood, Iris-Tatjana Kolassa just took the plunge: Today, she is both a Professor of Clinical and Biological Psychology at Ulm University and a mother of twins. Would the award-winning scientist do it the same way again? You will know after reading the text.

Poster Alumni Malte Drescher

Malte Drescher

Malte Drescher is a Heisenberg Professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of Konstanz. He talked to us about how he got there, his time at the Zukunftskolleg and things he would have done differently. He also shares some valuable advice for young and motivated researchers. Bonus: After reading the text, you will know what "spin markers" are.  


DAAD, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst

The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) is one of the most important funding organisations in the world for the international exchange of students and researchers.

DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft

The German Research Foundation DFG is an organisation for science and research in Germany. It receives the large majority of its funds from the federal government and the states. Early career support is one of the main missions of the DFG.

Deutscher Wissenschaftsrat

The Deutscher Wissenschaftsrat (German Council of Science and Humanities) provides advice to the German Federal Government and the State Governments on the structure and development of higher education and research.

Emmy Noether Programme

The prestigious Emmy Noether Programme is funded by the DFG. It supports researchers in achieving independence at an early stage of their scientific careers. It gives them the opportunity to rapidly qualify for a leading position in science and research or for a university teaching career by leading an independent junior research group and assuming relevant teaching duties.

Excellence Initiative

The Excellence Initiative was passed by the German federal and state governments to promote top-level research and to improve the quality of German universities and research institutions. German universities were invited to apply for this highly competitive funding programme.

The Excellence Initiative has three funding lines: (1) Graduate schools are designed to train doctoral students while offering the best conditions within a research field, (2) Clusters of Excellence support and promote scientific research in socially or economically relevant subjects; several researchers work together on projects and exchange ideas on relevant topics, (3) Universities of Excellence are recognized for their institutional strategies which guide the long-term development of the university.

From the very beginning of the Excellence Initiative in 2007, the University of Konstanz has been successful in all three funding lines of the Excellence Initiative: Its cluster “Cultural Foundations of Social Integration“ was recognized in 2006. This was followed with the recognition of its institutional strategy "Modell Konstanz - Towards a Culture of Creativity” as well as its Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology and the Graduate School of Decision Sciences.


A Habilitation is a post-doctoral qualification or academic degree at universities.

Heisenberg Programme

The Heisenberg programm of the DFG encompasses the Heisenberg fellowhip and the Heisenberg professorship. Heisenberg fellowships are designed to enable early career researchers to dedicate themselves fully to their research activities and provide funding for a maximum duration of five years. A Heisenberg professorship is funded for a period of five years by the DFG, which, following a positive evaluation, is continued on a permanent basis by the respective university. A conversion of fellowship to professorship is possible.

Jour Fixe

The Jour Fixe is the weekly interdisciplinary session of the Zukunftskolleg and provides an opportunity for cooperation across disciplines, for discussion of work progress, and for promoting research at the University. The meeting focuses on regular presentations of new projects and results of current projects, introduction of new junior research groups, as well as topical discussions and debates concerning higher education policies.

Mentorship Programme

The Mentorship Programme enables postdoctoral researchers at the University of Konstanz to network with distinguished colleagues both in Germany and abroad, and to maintain these contacts. The programme gives young researchers the opportunity to invite renowned scholars in their field to Konstanz for a few days as mentors, and to consolidate the cooperation by in turn visiting their mentor. The young researcher has an opportunity to develop new projects or establish a research partnership with the mentor, to optimise grant proposals together or to identify shared areas of key research.

Senior Fellowship 

Senior Fellows are established guest scholars from the natural sciences, humanities or social sciences who join the Zukunftskolleg for a research stay and work with the Fellows.