Call for Applications: WZB works 2023

The transfer of social science research findings into society continues to be a core concern of the Friends of the WZB. Transfer can take on all forms of communicating science beyond the boundaries of academic disciplines and, conversely, can also mean the uptake of societal issues by science. Whether they are communication projects, social and political consultings, forms of aesthetic translation or cooperation in the field of education, whether the joint development of projects or the communication of already existing research results - all formats promote dialogue.

In this sense, the Friends of the WZB are pleased to repeat the call for nominations for the funding project “WZB wirkt”:

With a total budget of 40,000 Euros total, up to four knowledge transfer projects can be funded. Application is possible by one or several persons from the research or research support area (at least one of whom must be employed at the WZB). If possible, the project should be completed by the end of 2023. The commission will consist of members from the friends’s circle and the WZB. Applicants of projects found to be particularly worthy of funding may be invited for an interview as part of the selection process.

Applications can be submitted in German or English. They should be no longer than three DIN A-4 pages and contain the following information:

- Description of the idea and the expected project steps (title, concisely formulated goal and here in particular the social impact, methods and procedure as well as time schedule)
- Financial plan (gross costs)
- Letter of support from the leader (if not in a leadership position)

The transfer projects should have an impact on society and be of benefit, however broadly defined, to society. 

Deadline is April 5, 2023; the application should be sent in one single PDF document to freunde [at]

If you have any questions, please contact Katrin Schwenk.

WZB works

In late 2021, the Friends of the WZB announced 40,000 euros from their association's membership fees for the funding of transfer projects from the WZB. Nearly a dozen applications were received. They impressed with great breadth, creativity, and passion; and in early 2022, a well-mixed committee, consisting of researchers and research support staff of the WZB, Friends of the WZB and a former journalist in residence of the institute, selected three applications for funding:

  • Lena Ulbricht: „‘Festifuneral’ - binäre Denk‐ und Ordnungsstrukturen in Wissenschaft, Politik und Kunst überwinden“. Lena Ulbricht, together with Thamy Pogrebinschi, representatives of the Karneval der Kulturen Berlin and other institutions and initiatives, is planning an innovative two-day festival in Berlin that will present and explore in workshops the fusion of modes of perception and expression from science, politics, art and social movements.
  • Jan Wetzel, Silvio Suckow et al.: „In guter Gesellschaft – Soziale Zusammenhänge verstehen und mitgestalten“. While the explanation of natural science issues has become more and more prevalent in video formats in social media, especially since the beginning of the pandemic, the social sciences remain less visible. Jan Wetzel, Silvio Suckow and their colleagues plan to develop a twenty-minute video format that takes viewers on walks through everyday situations, their social implications, and social science explanations. 
  • Sarah George und Theresa Pfaff: „Gestaltung einer inklusiven Verkehrswende. Parkraumbewirtschaftung als Maßnahme gegen den Klimawandel im Experimentierraum Kreuzberg“. Sarah George and Theresa Pfaff take the results of the DiMo research group's many years of research and surveys to the places where they originated. Workshops and events on parking management and traffic planning are to take place in the middle of the Kreuzberg neighborhood; in particular, tradespeople, people with disabilities, and people with a migration background, who are rarely involved in the political design process, are to be invited.

The project by Tommaso Virgili and Ruud Kooomans for the WZB seminar series "Liberalism and Islam in contemporary society" convinced the commission in terms of content and as extremely relevant in sociopolitical terms. It will be implemented at the WZB in another form.

Thus, the call for applications proved to be a complete success. The high response rate and the creative applications made this more than clear. Also the selection meeting itself was a very best example of transfer and participation and a living proof for the Friends that their generous annual contributions are well spent. A second call is planned for next year.

Friends of the WZB Award

The "Friends of the WZB Award" was initiated in 2015 by young researchers at the WZB. It is endowed with a free prize money of one thousand Euros. The jury consists of three WZB directors and the chairman of the Friends.

Winners of the "Friends of the WZB Award" 2021 are Jelena Cupać and İrem Ebetürk, research assistants in the Department of Global Governance, for their text "Backlash advocacy and NGO polarization over women's rights in the United Nations". The jury praised the work as a highly readable text that identifies NGOs as political actors that have been barely visible in international politics. With its high scientific merit, high relevance and innovative topic, the text makes an important contribution to the political science debate.

The previous award winners were:

  • Sönke Matthewes (Skill Formation and Labor Markets) for his publication on the early allocation of students to different types of schools and its consequences for their competence development.
  • Julia Pohle (Politics of Digitalization) for her paper on the urgency of digital policy issues and the importance of adequate decision-making structures and financial resources,
  • Werner Krause (Democracy and Democratization) for his analysis of the question whether and how parties of the political center react to electoral successes of radical right-wing and populist parties,
  • Tine Hanrieder (Global Humanitarian Medicine) for her contribution on the failure of reform efforts in the World Health Organization (WHO),
  • Anselm Rink-Hager (Migration, Integration, Transnationalization) for his evidence that German social welfare offices give better advice to people who are supposedly of German origin,
  • Maja Adena (Economics of Change) for her paper on the effect of radio propaganda on the electoral success of the NSDAP at the end of the Weimar Republic, and
  • Aiko Wagner (Democracy and Democratization) and Heiko Giebler (Democracy and Democratization) for developing a measurement concept for right-wing populism.

The WZB’s 50th Anniversary

On July 19, 2019, 800 guests joined the celebration of the WZB’s 50th anniversary at the Pierre Boulez Saal. The evening entitled “Europe: Myth and Vision” was a cooperation with the Barenboim-Said Akademie. The focus was on the premiere of Jörg Widmann’s new piece, Labyrinth IV, interpreted by Daniel Barenboim and the Boulez ensemble. The program included speeches by Jutta Allmendinger, Daniel Barenboim, Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek and Berlin mayor Michael Müller; a science slam on the subject of democracy by political scientist Christian Rauh, and an enthusiastic performance by the children of the Kreuzberg art lab S27. In the second part of the evening, American artist Joe Ramirez presented his installation entitled The Gold Projections, which included films specially produced in celebration of the WZB’s 50th anniversary, and an exhibition and short films gave insight into the WZB’s research topics. The anniversary celebrations were made possible in large part thanks to the generous donations of the “Friends of the WZB.”

Children’s Card Game on Children’s Rights “Geräecht”

“You are so mean!” Children often feel treated unjustly, but they rarely know exactly what their rights are. The card game on children’s rights funded by the “Friends of the WZB” helps children learn about three of their rights – the right to protection, the right to participation and the right to support/advancement – in order to better be able to assert themselves against adults. The game was developed by Michael Wrase, WZB legal scholar, and Ferdinand Weigel, student of visual communication at the University of the Arts’ “Visual Society Program”, in which designers and social scientists work and research together. The “Friends of the WZB” were the main sponsors of the project, with additional financial support by the German Children’s Fund who also distributed the free game.

Brochure WZBabies

As part of an internal WZB study on family friendliness and birth rates, the number of births and parental leaves between 2011 and 2017 were compiled and analyzed. Moreover, a survey of parents working at the WZB, the “Parents’ Diary”, collected personal experiences and opinions of colleagues with children. The results were published in the brochure “WZBabies” and show how the working environment of an institution like the WZB can become more family-friendly.

WZB Interview Project

In the past four decades WZB has shaped the Social Sciences in Germany. It is connected in many ways with German and international institutions but stands out in its multidisciplinary approach. The video interviews with researchers, politicians, presidents and administrative staff shall give an impression of the changes within the WZB, the influence of important researchers and its impact on many scientific careers. They are part of the inter-institutional history and are preserved in the WZB archives. The "Freunde des WZB" supported this project with a sum of 14.000 Euro.

The video-interviews can be found here.