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25 years of the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg

The facility in Delmenhorst has been an attractive location for researchers and science enthusiasts since 1997.

The Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK) in Delmenhorst is known and loved by people in Bremen, Lower Saxony and around the world. Academics can live, work, and network as fellows for up to ten months. The HWK is also an academic course center in the region, offering a wide range of lectures for the general public. This autumn, the HWK is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The HWK was founded in 1997 as a joint project between Bremen, Lower Saxony, and the city of Delmenhorst. The focus is on supporting the research priorities of the Universities of Bremen and Oldenburg, as well as the networking of academic institutions in the northwest region. As the Institute for Advanced Study, it follows the model of the institute of the same name at Princeton University (USA). “As a place of academic liberalism and pluralism, the HWK gives scientists the freedom to conduct research on a project undisturbed for around ten months – often in cooperation with the universities of the region,” explains Kerstin Schill, President of the HWK. The professor of Neuroinformatics at the University of Bremen has headed the research institution since 2018.

“A place of spiritual freedom and dialog”

Every year, around 60 fellows make their way to Delmenhorst. An international scientific advisory board reviews all proposals received in response to the annual call and decides on the basis of their scientific quality and innovation. After 25 years, the alumni network of the HWK comprises more than 700 people worldwide on many continents. “At the HWK, outstanding scientists from the natural, human, and social sciences come together to work on their projects undisturbed by academic commitments. Here you will encounter artists and authors with scientific interest in an atmosphere of intellectual freedom and interdisciplinarity,” emphasizes HWK President Kerstin Schill. The focus is on the autonomy of the fellows with regard to the organization of their academic work as well as the organization of their daily life.

For several years now, the fellowship program for senior and junior scientists has been supplemented by postdoctoral funding for early-career researchers from the northwest region. Seven junior researchers from the University of Bremen are currently taking part in the program.

Portrait Kerstin Schill
Kerstin Schill has headed the HWK since 2018. The scientist is also a professor of computer science at the University of Bremen.
© Kai Uwe Bohn / Universität Bremen

The opportunity to collaborate with the marine science institutes of the University of Bremen makes a fellowship in Delmenhorst particularly attractive. Thanks to its outstanding technical equipment, the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Research at the University of Bremen can offer researchers job opportunities that are unparalleled internationally. “Anyone studying at MARUM will find the Delmenhorst HWK Campus to be an inspiring, interdisciplinary working environment that offers opportunities to exchange ideas with many neighboring disciplines, as well as an attractive place to live in green surroundings,” says Schill.

Academic and popular-science courses

With around 120 courses a year, ranging from small workshops to international conferences, the HWK is also a central academic course center in the region. The people from other institutions who come to Delmenhorst to work appreciate the location between the regional scientific centers and the quiet and manageable working environment, the general conditions of which are easily adapted to working groups of all sizes. The HWK’s state-of-the-art media equipment also allows them to collaborate with partners all over the world.

In addition to around 120 academic courses per year, the HWK also offers a popular-science lecture program for the public, which has so far attracted around 12,000 people from a large catchment area. Scientists invited from all over Germany will report on their research at the HWK, explain their findings, relate them to their personal understanding of science, and engage in conversation with the audience – often on issues that affect society as a whole.

Anniversary lectures until October 5

The Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an anniversary program from September 12 to October 5, 2022. It includes three anniversary lectures on the theme “Science and Society: The History of a Complicated Relationship,” which address the topics of freedom, participation, and the limits of science. The speakers will be Professor Maria-Sibylla Lotter (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Professor Mark Schweda (University of Oldenburg), and Professor Armin Nassehi (University of Munich).

The HWK website provides further information on the anniversary program and all events at the HWK.

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