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Fewer limits, more innovations

Wittenstein Foundation is new sponsor of the Albert Einstein Fellowship


The Einstein Forum and the Wittenstein Foundation are offering the Albert Einstein Fellowship for tomorrow’s outstanding thinkers, both in Germany and abroad, who wish to pursue a project in a different field from that of their previous research. The purpose of the fellowship is to support young limit pushers who, in addition to producing superb work in their area of specialization, are also open to other, interdisciplinary approaches – following the example set by Albert Einstein.

The Albert Einstein Fellowship has been supporting creative, interdisciplinary thought by young scholars since 2007. The topics addressed by the 13 fellows to date are extremely diverse – from “Russia and Germany’s way of confronting its Nazi past” to “Making opera in the steppe” and “A collection of linked historical fictions on politics and media technology”. What they all have in common is that, under the Einstein Forum’s funding rules, the project must not be directly related to the fellows’ current academic work, such as a dissertation or a postdoctoral thesis. On the contrary, the young researchers should consciously endeavor to think outside the box. “Breaking free from their previous academic focus, coupled with the will to venture into uncharted territory, gives our fellows a chance to develop innovative approaches. New, unimagined opportunities open up and enrich science, society and indeed their own personality”, says Professor Susan Neiman, Director of the Einstein Forum for the past 22 years.

It was this perspective that convinced Dr Manfred Wittenstein to support the Albert Einstein Fellowship with immediate effect through the Wittenstein Foundation, of which he is Chairman of the Board of Trustees, to the amount of €16,000 per year. “I believe it holds enormous potential for encouraging young people to innovate through the Albert Einstein Fellowship by discovering interrelationships through their projects and learning to overcome their own limits – limits of a spatial, personal and scientific nature that have manifested themselves in many people’s minds and that must be removed. Only then can space be created for new, innovative thoughts and ideas.”

Residents at Albert Einstein’s summer house

The garden cottage of Albert Einstein’s summer house in Caputh offers just the right atmosphere for fellows to work in. They spend between five and six months at Einstein’s former home in Brandenburg – a significant place in terms of science and architectural history alike – where he lived with his wife Elsa and his two daughters from 1929 to 1932. Numerous Nobel Prize winners and other well-known personalities such as Max Planck, Käthe Kollwitz or Heinrich Mann were guests in Albert Einstein’s house – just as the fellows are today.

Candidates for the Albert Einstein Fellowship, who must hold a university degree in humanities or in a social or natural science subject, are expected to document the academic work carried out in Caputh and present their project in a public lecture to both the Einstein Forum and the Wittenstein Foundation at the end of their stay in the summer house.

The Einstein Forum

The Einstein Forum is a foundation of the German federal state of Brandenburg that serves the public as an open laboratory of the mind with an innovative, international, multidisciplinary agenda. Through lectures, workshops and conferences it provides insights into the work of outstanding contemporary thinkers and encourages thinking outside traditional academic boundaries. The Forum has been awarding the Albert Einstein Fellowship since 2007, and the application period for the fourteenth fellowship is currently running until May 15, 2022.

The philosopher Susan Neiman is Director of the Einstein Forum. The Board of Trustees includes Eckard Minx, Michael Naumann and Gesine Schwan while Ute Frevert, Thomas Naumann and Jens Reich are among the members of the Board of Advisors.


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The Albert Einstein Fellowship is offered by the Einstein Forum and the Wittenstein Foundation to young researchers who are open to interdisciplinary approaches.

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The garden cottage of Albert Einstein’s summer house in Caputh offers the right atmosphere for fellows to work in.

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The garden cottage of Albert Einstein’s summer house in Caputh offers the right atmosphere for fellows to work in.

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