The College is a project that aims at supporting early Postdoc researchers with the development of their own projects in the field of interdisciplinary educational research. Its major goals are the promotion of the early independence of excellent young researchers who recently completed their PhDs, and the advancement of interdisciplinary educational research in a life course perspective. Long-term aims of the College are:

  • promotion and improvement of interdisciplinary educational research of young researchers at the postdoctoral level,
  • joint research activities among participating (senior and junior) researchers,
  • the establishment of an interdisciplinary educational research network of researchers working at Leibniz Institutes and universities, and
  • an increased scholarly awareness of “public science”.


The College is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant number: 01JG1201) and the Jacobs Foundation (grant number: 2011-963)—in cooperation with additional funding provided by from the six Leibniz Institutes (mentioned below).


The College started with 30 fellows on March 1, 2013. These fellows were in a pre or post-doctoral status (ABD doctoral students or up to 12 months past promotion).

The College’s activities of support include interdisciplinary discussions and workshops on theories and methods of key subdisciplines in educational research, and funding of interdisciplinary projects developed independently by the young researchers themselves and carried out in cooperation with colleagues from other disciplines within the College (either be some “seed money” for research tandem or micro-groups or by seven fully funded postdoc-positions from March 2014 till February 2016, placed by a competition among the 30 fellows).

To further promote postdoctoral scholars’ early involvement in international educational research networks, the College is supporting research visits abroad, organizing international workshops and conferences, and inviting internationally distinguished scholars in the field of educational research for research visits and the College’s workshops/conferences. These activities do not only support international network-building, but also promote a comparative research perspective and the projects of the College’s postdoctoral scholars.

Finally, it promotes young scholars’ awareness for “public science”, i.e., the awareness of the value of conducting problem-oriented – theory-based – empirical research and of actively engaging in discussions about their research results with experts and specialists working in politics, schools, organizations and media.

Programme 2013-2016

The first year of the College was devoted to workshops on theory (within the three College’s research areas) and methods, to the development of ideas for interdisciplinary research projects. The kick-off workshop (KW) and the two workshops on disciplinary research (FW) and advanced methodology (SW) were designed to support the young researchers in developing ideas for interdisciplinary projects.

In November 2013, participating young researchers submitted their research projects and competed for funding for these projects, which were provided in the form of seven two-year postdoctoral positions by the College. The postdoctoral positions are two-year employment contracts – not fellowships. The seven research projects/postdoctoral positions are hosted by the six Leibniz Institutes in strong collaboration with the participating university researchers. Projects have to be carried out in collaboration with a scholar from a different discipline (based at one of the participating Leibniz Institutes, the participating universities, or at one of the College’s international partners). In addition to the seven postdoc positions funded through the College, a second year of support is also granted to the remaining 18-20 participants out of the initial pool of 30 participants.

Additional to the spring (SW) and the fall workshops (FW), there was a public science workshop in July 2013, where fellows learned to improve their awareness on and acknowledgement of the value of doing problem-oriented research and to present research findings to the “public”.

The second year of the College (2014) was devoted to the College’s research projects, tandems and micro work groups, and research visits abroad as well as to preparing publications. This was supported by a theory and a method workshop. In addition, as a career development opportunity, the College organized a workshop on soft skills and funding opportunities for young researchers.

The third year of the College (2015) is devoted to the continuation of the College’s research projects and to preparing additional publications. Moreover, the College hosted a project workshop for its young researchers to discuss and receive support for their post-College research proposals. The research results of the College’s research projects and the latest research projects conducted by the participating senior researchers will be presented at the College’s International Conference in January 2016.

Programme of the College 2013-2016

KW = kick-off workshop
SW = spring-workshops
FW = fall workshops
PSW = public science workshop
SIW = soft skills & information
PW = project workshop

Interdisciplinarity & Research Areas

The College uniquely combines efforts to promote young researchers’ early independence with advanced theoretical and methodological training. Additionally, it aims at building sustainable structures of interdisciplinary collaboration, reinforced by the fact that young researchers and also senior researchers are encouraged to acquire solid knowledge and competencies in more than one discipline – competencies that are seen as a prerequisite for fruitful interdisciplinary collaborations and advances in knowledge. The College combines perspectives from educational science, psychology, sociology, and economics.

The projects will contribute to our knowledge in three research areas:

  • Educational inequality and success against the odds
  • Competence development as an educational and social process
  • Returns to education.

The active participation of renowned researchers from the various disciplines in the College’s activities will provide an outstanding setting for developing new and innovative research ideas in the field of interdisciplinary educational research as well as for building a sustainable research network.