Experimental spaces for issues of the future

Questioning the familiar, breaking new ground and discovering unknown terrain always leads to new insights. Findings that could be important in and for the future. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) wants to use experimental spaces to encourage researchers in the humanities and social sciences to try out new ideas for tomorrow's research.

9 Hände greifen nach Schildern mit einer Glühbirne; © Fotolia/Gaj Rudolf

Fotolia/Gaj Rudolf

The idea behind the experimental spaces is obvious. The world is changing and young researchers, in particular, want not only to investigate these changes, but also to help shape future developments. Experimental spaces provide an opportunity to approach topics with an open mind and to try out new ideas. The BMBF is therefore opening up experimental spaces for open-theme, experimental and even high-risk research. The aim is to generate new basic and applied knowledge that can serve as a basis for shaping future developments in science and society.

With the planned funding line "Zukunftsfragen der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften" (Future Issues in the Humanities and Social Sciences), the BMBF aims to facilitate the first working out of innovative and extraordinary ideas in humanities and social sciences research. The funding programme "Zukunftsfragen der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften" (Future Issues in the Humanities and Social Sciences) focuses on project ideas which

  • address current social issues or identify emerging problem areas,
  • pursue innovative concepts for the further development of disciplines and for the development of new fields of knowledge,
  • develop experimental forms of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary cooperation or
  • identify the potential of research results for transfer into social practice and draw up transfer strategies.

In order to improve the chances of success for original and unusual ideas, the BMBF also intends to test new assessment and selection procedures itself. A high degree of flexibility in the funding instruments is also intended to ensure that innovative project ideas can be processed or pursued as required.