About FiF

Forum for Interdisciplinary Research

Interdisciplinarity is based on independent disciplines. On the other hand, it essentially lives from the in-between of the disciplines. The Forum Interdisciplinary Research of TU Darmstadt, FiF in short, has been dedicated to this in-between sphere of disciplines since its foundation in 2008.

In its different event formats, it attempts to give impulses to scientific thinking and understanding. According to Martin Heidegger, the in-between, in which we move and have to move, “is only by moving in it”. This becomes possible in thinking. This thinking is demanding, difficult, exhausting. For that reason, creative time and thinking spaces are required in order to find time for thinking beyond the academic “business”. Such free spaces, which make it possible to discover new possibilities of thinking and understanding, are offered by FiF (more on thetopics).

Apart from its academic activities, FiF is also a center of academic administration. This is an essential part of modern university life. On behalf of the Presidential Board and Senate of TU Darmstadt and in cooperation with the FiF Commission and FiF-Fellows, FiF organizes and supervises the periodic call for internal TU funding for interdisciplinary research projects. In doing so, FiF creates significant accents in the life of the university, scientifically as well as in terms of science policy.

Introducing FiF:

Part 1 “What is the FiF?” (2021)

A film by Verena Hirnig.

Authors: Thomas Walther, Heike Krebs, Andreas Grossmann.

Part 2 “How does the FiF operate?” (2021)

A film by Verena Hirnig.

Authors: Thomas Walther, Heike Krebs, Andreas Grossmann.

10 Years of FiF – A review (2009-2019)

In the course of more than ten years since its foundation in 2008, FiF has become something different from what it was in its initial days. The organisation has grown with its tasks.

This includes tasks of science management (such as the organisation of interdisciplinary project funding at the TU Darmstadt within the framework of the interdisciplinary research funding initiative) as well as the development of new event formats – such as the day of interdisciplinarity since 2016, the FiF Lecture since 2017 and the event format DenkRäume since 2018.

In particular, however, since 2017 FiF has been accepted and established as a central university institution by a Senate resolution. Thus, the basis has been created to be able to provide impulses for interdisciplinary research in the future as well.

The anniversary year 2018 provided an opportunity to celebrate all this – with a series of high-ranking events and, last but not least, a ceremony and a festive reception.

The small anniversary publication published on the occasion of FiF's birthday (Zwischendrin, ed. by Andreas Grossmann, Heike Krebs and Josef Wiemeyer, Darmstadt 2018) provides insights into the “control room” of FiF and into current and future challenges of institutionalized interdisciplinarity at the TU Darmstadt. In this spirit: Ad multos annos!

The objective of FiF in all its activities is the promotion of an interdisciplinary scientific culture at the TU Darmstadt.

People have been talking about interdisciplinarity since the 1960s. One might therefore think that interdisciplinarity is antiquated. However, disciplinary research, which is also a precondition for interdisciplinarity, is always dependent on the expertise and research perspectives of other disciplines. Therefore, interdisciplinary work requires to make detours: to leave familiar paths and to be open for other scientific access. Understanding interdisciplinarity in this way is a contribution to reflection – and to creativity.

With its event formats FiF creates a space for creative, experimental thinking beyond the daily routince of science. At the same time, FiF organizes and supervises the internal TU calls for funding for interdisciplinary research projects and thus also gives a signal in terms of science policy at the TU.

The Forum for Interdisciplinary Research was established in November 2008 as an open platform with the objective of promoting interdisciplinary cooperation at TU Darmstadt. The most important maxim of the new foundation was: From the center to the network! Interdisciplinary research has a long tradition at TU Darmstadt. It has become so familiar that it does not require large institutes or complex administrative measures to keep it alive and to expand it in a systematic way.

For the Forum, this means repeatedly that it only has to pool, accompany and advise in order to achieve a productive effect. The backbone of its work, however, is the scientific impulse of its Fellows, who set independent priorities and incorporate their expertise from engineering, natural sciences and humanities into the programme design.

This joint work is accompanied by project funding from the FiF Commission, which supports smaller interdisciplinary projects and can also be used as a start-up funding for larger applications. In combination, this creates a simple but effective tool for maintaining scientific diversity at TU Darmstadt.

Since 2017 FiF has been established as a central institution. Since 2018 IANUS has formed part of FiF, limited initially for five years.

Introducing FiF… (2015)


Authors: Josef Wiemeyer, Heike Krebs, Andreas Grossmann

In organisational terms, the Forum is a central institution of TU Darmstadt and is subordinated to the Presidential Board.

The active, managing body of FiF is its executive Director, elected by the Senate, in cooperation with the group of Fellows, i.e. scientists at the university who provide interdisciplinary impulses and provide the thematic framework for events and activities initiated by FiF for two to three years. They are supported by the administrative office of FiF.

All interested scientists and young academics of TU Darmstadt can be part of FiF through active participation. FiF is open to the public. An overview of FiF's activities to date is shown in the following links:

FiF event formats

FiF Themenschwerpunkte

The intention is to cooperate in the following areas:

  • TU joint research projects
  • Main areas of research
  • funded projects of the TU Funding Initiative for Interdisciplinary Research
  • interdisciplinary research institutions of TU Darmstadt


The current FiF statutes can be found in the following document.

Organisational structure of FiF (opens in new tab)

FiF organizational structure

Up to 5 selected scientists at the TU Darmstadt serve for approx. 3 years as Fellows of the Forum. The Fellows comprise the active core of the interdisciplinary research forum. The Fellows ensure the continuity of the plenum, plan the Forum's yearly retreat and draft – above and beyond the plenum – a fixed portion of the programme. They are supported and assisted by the scientific associates at the FiF and the office staff.

On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, a comprehensive focus on the Forum for Interdisciplinary Research was published in the university magazine of TU Darmstadt on July 3, 2018.

Download hoch³ (PDF) (opens in new tab)

How to reach FiF – directions and map

You will find us at Magdalenenstraße 23 in 64289 Darmstadt in building S1|60.

You can find further TU Darmstadt locations on the pages about the campus and via the campus navigation system.

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