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 the Topics ).

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 organises 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.

Ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of FiF 2023

with Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Jürgen Mittelstrass

“University, quo vadis? Idea, reality and future of the university”.

The highlight of the festivities was the FiF's “birthday party” on 12 July. The speaker was Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Jürgen Mittelstraß from the University of Konstanz. His lecture, followed by a response from the Darmstadt philosopher Prof. Dr. Petra Gehring, addressed a fundamental question: “University, quo vadis? Idea, reality and future of the university”.

Time and location: 12 July 2023 | Lichtenberg-Haus 6 pm.









15 Years of FiF


It is hard to believe, but it is true: FiF celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in 2023. Since its foundation in 2008 and its recognition as a central institution of the university by Senate Resolution in 2017, a lot has happened in the small centre at Magdalenenstraße 23. But in spite of all the changes that the years have brought, there is also stability in change. Since its foundation, FiF has regularly organised calls for proposals for TU funding for innovative interdisciplinary research projects. With its own event formats such as the Academic Quarter, DenkRäume, Workshops, Forums and, of course, the FiF Lecture, FiF also continually pursues the goal of giving the existing and highly practised interdisciplinary scientific culture at TU Darmstadt some fresh food for thought. And this has also been the case in the anniversary year. With Dieter Thomä, an internationally respected philosopher who teaches at St. Gallen University hold the FiF Lecture on 16 May. In a Forum on 1 June, which was organised together with the Federal Foundation for Building Culture (Bundesstiftung Baukultur), its Chairman Reiner Nagel spoke on the topic of “Conversion Culture”. Last but not least, we were pleased to welcome the doyen of German science policy, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Jürgen Mittelstraß from Constance. As a philosopher, Jürgen Mittelstraß has influenced debates on university policy in this country for decades and has also played an important role in discussions on interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. We are pleased and honoured that he has accepted our invitation to hold the festive lecture. The lecture is titled “University, quo vadis? Idea, reality and future of the university”.

Celebrate with us: Ad multos annos!

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.

Part 3: Topics and Events – insights (2022)

A film by Fabio Ullrich.

Authors: Thomas Walther, Heike Krebs, Andreas Grossmann.

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! In the appendix of the relevant Senate resolution of November 2008 it says:

“The Forum for Interdisciplinary Research at TU Darmstadt is an open platform. It brings together existing activities, branching out into the university, it initiates ideas and cooperations and makes interdisciplinary TU research visible to others”.

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 the project funding of 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.

Following an initial evaluation in March 2014, the University Senate decided with one voice in its meeting on 29 March 2017, on the basis of a new evaluation by the Scientific Council, to maintain FiF as a central institution. Since 1 January 2018, IANUS has been integrated into FiF and is represented with its specific thematic area of scientific-technical peace and conflict research.

During the first funding period (2008-2013), the responsibility for FiF in the Presidential Board of TU Darmstadt rested with the former Vice President for Scientific Infrastructure and Interdisciplinarity, Prof. Dr. Petra Gehring. Her position was then taken over by Prof. Dr. Josef Wiemeyer as Director of FiF and Chairman of the FiF Commission. His term of office ended on 31 March 2020. He was succeeded by Prof. Dr Thomas Walther on 1 April 2020.

Dr Andreas Gelhard, who also researched and lectured at the Institute of Philosophy, was the academic director of FiF from 2009 to 2014. At the beginning of 2015, Dr Andreas Großmann became academic director of FiF. He is also a lecturer at the Institute of Philosophy. Since 2009, the management of the office rests in the hands of Dipl.-Soz. Heike Krebs.

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 Interdisciplinary topics

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
FiF organizational structure

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.

For those who are interested in FiF

All current topics and important information on FiF events are available via our newsletter or via Instagram (@fif_tuda).

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