Research Alliance Ruhr

Top international research on pressing issues of the future - this is what the University Alliance Ruhr has been working on in four research centres and one college since 2021. The initiative of the Ruhr Conference is a testament to the Ruhr area’s transformation into a vibrant metropolis of knowledge. Unprecedented career opportunities are unfolding here and now for excellent scientists and scholars from all over the world.

College for Social Sciences and Humanities

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The College for Social Sciences and Humanities provides a forum inviting international guests to further develop the University Alliance Ruhr’s  established research focuses in the humanities and social sciences through collaboration and the addition of new topics. The Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen, one of the oldest joint institutions of the UA Ruhr, acts as the organizational basis for funding measures in the social sciences and humanities.

As an expansion of the KWI, the College represents a program in which established research foci in the humanities and social sciences are examined, further developed and supplemented to include new topics and focus areas through transparent cooperation with colleagues from the UA Ruhr and international guests. Fellowship and residency programs make it possible to formulate innovative questions and forms of collaboration through direct engagement . This format is particularly effective in fostering creative freedom for colleagues in the earlier stages of their careers. To ensure that the development of the College is a successful collaboration between colleagues from the three universities in the Ruhr area, the speakers Friedrich Balke (Ruhr Universität Bochum), Ute Schneider (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Maximiliane Wilkesmann (TU Dortmund University) are available for information, in addition to Julika Griem, director of the KWI.

Interdisciplinary Dialogue

Junior research groups and experienced scholars are at the very heart of the College, in keeping with the specific research logics and working methods of the humanities and substantial parts of the social sciences. Within the UA Ruhr’s rich disciplinary and interdisciplinary landscape of the humanities and social sciences, the College seeks to drive strong collaborations, future-oriented method development and reflection from the perspective of the academic fields, scientific policy and society at large. Not based on predefined topics for large networks, the College’s instruments create starting points for strategic research communication and planning within a diverse culture of disciplines.

Funding: Research Groups

Using the College’s funds to support younger colleagues is a top priority. For this reason, at least three research groups will be set up, with three doctoral students in full-time positions working together on a topic of their choice over three years under the direction of postdoctoral researchers. The groups will be formed through a process in which a committee of researchers from the UA Ruhr selects up to five groups with a thematic focus. Group leaders must apply with a concept detailing the research topic, how it fits into the research areas at the UA Ruhr universities, and the group’s potential for international networking. Doctoral candidates are selected by the group leaders. Researchers both within and outside the UA Ruhr are eligible to apply. We will release information about the selection criteria and deadlines on this page and on the UA Ruhr’s College  information platform in good time.

Funding: International Senior Fellowship Programme

This funding is intended to create a special leverage effect for the continued internationalization of the UA Ruhr’s work in the social sciences and humanities. With the addition of up to 18 new fellows, the existing Junior Fellowship Programme  at the KWI as well as other college structures – Käte Hamburger International Centres, for example – will be expanded and linked. The College seeks to do more than simply offer a haven  to the outstanding international guests targeted by this measure: It aims to encourage sustainable cooperation starting with the selection process. For this reason, the fellows will be recruited through tandem applications in which colleagues from the UA Ruhr and the proposed guest explain the added value generated by the one-year stay in the Ruhr area. For new professorships at the UA Ruhr universities, the tandem invitation of a renowned Senior Fellow can form part of the appointment offer for a period of up to three years. Senior Fellows will be selected by a newly appointed international advisory board of the College. At the same time, a professional staff structure will be created at the KWI to properly support international guests and their families.


New professorships will also serve to strengthen the humanities and social sciences of the UA Ruhr in an internationally visible way. Rather than filling existing subject areas, these professorships are intended to reinforce and expand interdisciplinary interfaces with strong candidates. The denomination criteria will include an explanation of the specific interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature of the new position with regard to the strategic development of the UA Ruhr. In addition, a suggestion must be given as to whether the position should be put to open tender or whether candidates should be actively recruited. In both cases, an assessment must be made in good time as to whether sufficient candidates for the proposed position can be expected based on the current market situation. The new professorships will be offered with a reduced teaching load. This funding measure will also be accompanied by a professional support structure, such as dual career offers.


Scientific Board Members:

Managing Director:


The College for Social Sciences and Humanities is part of the Research Alliance Ruhr.