Programmes

At THE NEW INSTITUTE, we seek new ideas and initiatives to develop viable options for our common future. Our fellowship programmes address the most urgent questions of our time at the intersection of ecology, economy, democracy and the human condition. We aim to analyze what needs acting upon. And act upon analysis

As a mission-driven Institute of Advanced Study and a platform for change, we bring together researchers, thought and opinion leaders, policy makers, activists, artists, journalists, and government officials to collaborate in rethinking commonly held beliefs and explore new perspectives.

Based on intellectual rigour, the creativity of visionary thinkers, and an international network of partnerships, we inspire opportunities for mutual learning. Together, our goal is to turn ideas into action, developing possible concepts, rational pathways and scalable solutions.

We have a shared commitment to generate interdisciplinary, trans-sectoral, and international collaborations to break new ground based on integrity, and mutual trust. As the consequences of climate change, population growth, rising social inequality, and the degradation of democracies unfold, the urgency of our challenge becomes ever more acute.

It is against this background that THE NEW INSTITUTE is embarking upon a programme-oriented approach at the intersection of four major fields concerning a viable, possible future on our planet.

The scope of the programmes ranges from foundational questions about the formation of a sustainable value system for the 21st century, to steps needed to transition to a net-zero emissions economy and the questions of data ownership and the city as a place for democratic reinvention.

Questions of morality and ethics are explored with activities focusing on our habits and behaviours. We bring together researchers from a wide variety of disciplines with practitioners from various sectors to explore the decisive factors and conditions for enabling behavioural change that can accommodate the different needs for achieving future-proof sustainability.

This programme also speaks closely to the objectives of “Future of Democracy”. Strengthening deliberation and representation in our political systems is critical to enable democracies and their institutions to respond to the challenges ahead in a more equitable and sustainable manner.

Anyone who wants to responsibly shape the future needs to have a good understanding of the past. We explore some of the major transformations in the second half of the 20th century and will be interviewing people who were intimately involved in these processes of change. Their testimonies, and their reflections on present and future challenges, enable us to build a global archive of social, economic, and environmental change.
We wish to contribute ideas for a systemic transformation within our societies to mitigate the threat posed to humankind by the ecological crisis. While we do not engage in scientific climate research itself, each of our programmes addresses different aspects of urgent systemic change. The programmes are closely interlinked, and each programme is governed by at least one overarching question:

  • The Foundations of Value and Values: What is a sustainable value system for the 21st century?
  • The Future of Democracy: Which governance structures and forms of decision making enable legitimate and effective systemic change for a sustainable future?
  • Economic Transformation: What is an economy that serves social and planetary needs?
  • The New Hanse: How can the City of Hamburg and its government become a model for digital and sustainable transformation?
  • Changing Mindsets – Changing Behaviours: What role do behavioural changes play in socio-economic transformations, and how can we ensure that they are just and inclusive?
  • Voices from the Past - Lessons for the Future: What can we learn from past protest movements to help us build a better future from the present?
  • Leadership and Governance: What type of crisis and change management skills are required for new modes of governance?

Fellowships

Become a fellow at THE NEW INSTITUTE and help shape social change with us. We welcome applications to form research groups from the realms of academia, activism, politics, art, media, journalism, business, administration. What matters is diversity of experience and a solution-oriented mindset.

We are seeking people driven by curiosity and inspired by openness, who are willing to work collaboratively across disciplines, with a mission to translate knowledge into practical solutions. Fellows should excel at what they are doing.


INDEPENDENT AND COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS

As with any Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), fellows at THE NEW INSTITUTE can pursue their own projects.

As a Platform for Change, we also expect our fellows to devote half of their time to collaborative work in the fellow group. Within the programme framework of THE NEW INSTITUTE, fellow groups devise questions for collaborative exploration, developing tangible outcomes with societal relevance during their residency. Possible outcomes include (but are not limited to) discussion papers, policy papers, pilot projects, prototypes, artistic representations, multi-stakeholder dialogues, outreach activities, atypical alliances.

Publications and any other results arising from the joint work during the fellow's stay will be published under the aegis of THE NEW INSTITUTE. Publications arising from the fellow's own work will be published independently by the fellow with reference to funding from the THE NEW INSTITUTE.

Fellows generally work within one of our programmes (URL link) in groups of up to 15 people. Exchange between individual fellow groups across programs is explicitly desired. Most groups comprise around 70% academics and 30% practitioners from other sectors such as activism, politics, art, media, journalism, business, administration.

Each program has one or more program directors who steers the group. Each fellow group is accompanied and supported in its professional work by program managers.


TIMING AND DURATION

As a rule, fellowships for academics last up to 24 months. Fellow stays for people from politics, activism, art, media, journalism, business, and administration comprise 6 months or shorter periods - with flexible start dates. Stays of less than one month are also possible - in this case, however, not as fellows, but as contributor or guest.

During their stay, we ask fellows to be present four days a week.

The fellow year usually begins on October 1st and runs until August or September of the following year. Non-academic fellowships can have more flexible start dates.

For joint fellow work, it is ideal if as many fellows as possible begin on this date. We understand this is not always possible, and individual residency periods can also be arranged.

During their stay, we ask fellows to be present in Hamburg four days a week. We will honor all religious and cultural holidays. Absences, e.g. during the summer months, are to be arranged individually.


ENDOWMENT AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT

1. International academics - principle "leave of absence"

Established academic fellows usually come to the THE NEW INSTITUTE on a leave of absence or research sabbatical from their regular position, e.g. a chair. They continue to receive their salary, while THE NEW INSTITUTE covers the costs of the replacement professorship at the respective fellow's home institution.

In addition, there is a stipend that is sized to cover additional expenses. These include:

  • A contribution to the rent, which is subsidized by the THE NEW INSTITUTE at 100%. Fully furnished apartments are provided, typically in the Warburg Ensemble.
  • A contribution for meals in the Warburg Ensemble during the week.
  • Costs are covered for travel to and from Hamburg (also for partners and family).
  • Individual research costs can be agreed upon, on a project-by-project basis.

The fellowship is generally tax-free in Germany. Social security contributions are not paid. Usually, the corresponding contributions are continued by the position granting the leave. The result is a "no loss, no gain" financial situation for the fellows.

2. Junior researchers - principle "THE NEW INSTITUTE connection"

Fellows at the junior researcher level receive an individually negotiated stipend, which roughly corresponds to the endowment of junior researchers at the corresponding career level in Germany and - even taking into account current salaries - is usually between 3,000 and 4,000 euros net (including family allowances, if applicable). This includes a subsidy for health insurance.

The scholarship is generally tax-free in Germany. Social security contributions are not paid, but the stipend is calculated in such a way that fellows can make voluntary contributions to a pension plan.

From the stipend, fellows pay, among other things:

  • 100% of their health insurance
  • A contribution to the rent, which is subsidized by the THE NEW INSTITUTE at 80%. Fully furnished apartments are provided by the THE NEW INSTITUTE; usually located in the Warburg Ensemble.
  • A contribution for meals in the Warburg Ensemble during the week.
  • Costs for travel to and from Hamburg, also for partners, will be covered.
  • Individual research costs can be agreed upon, depending on the project.

3. Fellows from other fields

For fellows from the fields of journalism, politics, business, art, depending on the individual constellation, an agreement is made according to the principle of "leave of absence" or "THE NEW INSTITUTE connection".


LIVING AND WORKING

Our home is the Warburg Ensemble – nine historic townhouses side-by-side in the heart of Hamburg. Fellows (and their families, if applicable) live and work at the Warburg Ensemble during their stay.

We can host up to 35 fellows.

We provide fully furnished apartments for fellows in the Warburg Ensemble, with kitchenettes and private workspaces. We welcome fellow partners and children, and can tailor individual accommodation needs and requirements accordingly. Our Fellow Services team can assist with all matters regarding schooling, daycare and general relocation. For further questions please contact our head of Fellow Services Alexandra Kunze directly: alexandra.kunze@thenew.institute.

As well as apartments, the Warburg Ensemble comprises a wide range of workspaces for solo and collaborative work, a library, several meeting rooms and event spaces. We nurture a social environment at THE NEW INSTITUTE, and mealtimes take place together in the refectory, where there is also a bar. A large, private garden behind the Warburg Ensemble runs the length of the nine buildings.

Read more about the Warburg Ensemble.


HOW TO JOIN

There are several ways to become a Fellow at THE NEW INSTITUTE:

1. Unsolicited applications

Unsolicited applications to be part of one of our ongoing programs at the THE NEW INSTITUTE can be submitted at any time. All completed applications will be reviewed by a panel that meets several times a year. It may take up to four months from the submission of your application to hear a decision. Unsolicited applications are accepted from the following groups of people:

  • Scholars from all disciplines within the humanities and social sciences for fellowships of up to two years (at least 2 years past Ph.D.)

  • Representatives of politics, administration, business, art, media, journalism, activism with a strong interest in questions of ethics, social change, human behavior, awareness of ecologically and economically sustainable futures for fellowships of up to six months; a division into several shorter stays is possible.

Candidates should identify with THE NEW INSTITUTE’s mission and be interested in contributing to social, economic, and environmental transformation. They should have the ability to bring transformative ideas to the TNI, create new knowledge, and develop it with an eye toward workable solutions. Ideally, candidate*s have already engaged with networks beyond their own field (e.g., actors beyond academia using creative formats to create public effectiveness). Candidates must be highly interested in interdisciplinary and trans sectoral contexts. A good command of English is a prerequisite.

Unsolicited applications may be sent to programmes@thenew.institute (one pdf, condensed format). All applications must be submitted in English. Incomplete applications or applications that do not reference the overarching questions of each program will not be accepted.

Applications must include the following components:

  • Letter of motivation (how candidates want to contribute to the THE NEW INSTITUTE and what they expect from a fellowship; up to 5,000 characters, including spaces).
  • Curriculum vitae and list of publications or overview of major works, contributions, and projects.
  • Within the respective THE NEW INSTITUTE program of interest: reference to one (or more) of the overarching questions formulated there in each case for collaborative work in the group and formulation of your own project; up to 20,000 characters, including spaces
  • Work plan and time schedule

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Barbara Sheldon, Head of Research and Fellow Management: barbara.sheldon@thenew.institute.


2. Nomination

Nominations for ongoing programs may be submitted on an ongoing basis by current fellows, alumni, and partners of TNI. All completed nominations are reviewed by a panel, which meets several times a year. It may take up to four months from the submission of the nomination to hear a decision. Nominations are accepted for the following:

  • Internationally recognized top academics from all disciplines within the humanities and social sciences for fellowships of up to two years.
  • Representatives of activism, politics, arts, media, journalism, business and administration with a strong interest in issues of ethics, social change, human behavior, awareness of ecologically and/or economically sustainable futures, for fellowships of up to six months; division into several shorter stays is possible.

Candidates should be outstanding, internationally recognized individuals in their respective fields who identify with TNI's goals and are interested in contributing to social, economic, and environmental transformation. Based on past success, they should have the ability to bring transformative ideas to THE NEW INSTITUTE and develop research findings with an eye towards practical solutions.

Candidates have experience and demonstrated success working with networks beyond their own field (e.g., academics beyond academia using creative formats to create public effectiveness). Candidates must be highly interested in interdisciplinary and trans-sectoral contexts. A good command of English is a prerequisite.

Nominations must include the following:

  • Curriculum vitae and publication list or overview of the most important work
  • 2–3 letters of reference

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Wilhelm Krull, Founding Director: wilhelm.krull@thenew.institute.


3. Active recruitment

THE NEW INSTITUTE management recruits potentially suitable candidates also by direct approach. Potential candidates are reviewed by a panel of experts who meet several times a year. As a rule, the following groups of persons are recruited:

  • Internationally recognized top academics from all disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, for fellowships of up to two years.
  • Representatives from activism, politics, economy, art, media, journalism, business and administration, with great interest in questions of ethics, social change, human behavior, awareness of ecologically and/or economically sustainable futures, for fellowships of up to six months; a division into several shorter stays as well as flexible periods of stay are possible.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Wilhelm Krull, Founding Director: wilhelm.krull@thenew.institute.

HOW WE WORK

Questions are at the heart of how we work. Care, courage, creativity and commitment are our core values.

They steer our cooperative and collaborative approach to getting things done. We understand the power and potential of bringing people together and we believe in conviviality and hospitality.


  • How do we open up new horizons?
  • How do we create a shared meaning of where we want to go?
  • How do we make sure that all voices are heard, that all stakeholders are at the table?
  • How do we shape a new form and understanding of leadership?
  • How do we make sure that new ideas will foster new initiatives?
  • How do we close the gap between insight and action?
  • How does change happen?

Being new refers to our mindset and our approach. It means being responsive, reflexive, responsible and respectful – to embrace difference and complexity as fundamental truths in our changing world. It means being an open network and a porous platform, not a closed-door institution. It means being comfortable with the uncomfortable reality of uncertainty and the open-endedness of questioning.

We want to create an institute that supports and enables our ambition. Our goal is to reflect, retreat, reconvene; to connect our philosophy with our practice to inspire projects that drive meaningful change.

ARTWORK BY ALFREDO CARLO / HOUSATONIC

Credits:

Alfredo Carlo, Housatonic, 2020

Image Information:

The organization of knowledge along lines both intuitive and logic, creating meaning in the maze of words, thoughts, concepts – this is a process of knowledge production in its own right. Alfredo Carlo of the Bologna based agency Housatonic worked with us to facilitate the way we gained a shared understanding about the words and values, the systemic analysis and the role of the individual. He created mind-maps, often in real time, reflecting what was said and opening up new spaces for insight and inspiration. We are, after all, more than the sum of our parts.

Centres

We are connected to four research centres through the Humanities and Social Change International Foundation, started by Erck Rickmers in 2016 to understand the nature of our current societal challenges in his quest to promote social change. THE NEW INSTITUTE builds on this work and experience.

The Humanities and Social Change International Foundation established research funding for centres at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Ca ‘Foscari University, Venice; University of Cambridge and Humboldt-Universität, Berlin. In 2020, the foundation changed its name and became THE NEW INSTITUTE Foundation. Our core interests are mirrored by the research programs of the four centres.

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