The challenge

What is a New Institute in Urgent Times?


I’m Georg Diez, and I’d like to warmly welcome you to the first issue of our newsletter.

I hope you’ll join us as we explore the challenges and chances of an ecological, economic and political transformation. We are optimists and want to make change happen.

For us, this is personal. Each of us, from the founder Erck Rickmers to the most recent addition to the team, is motivated by an individual sense of responsibility – and the belief that we can make a difference towards systemic change.

A double ambition drives us. We are both an Institute of Advanced Study and a platform for change. We will build on research, on rigour, and on academic excellence, as founding director Wilhelm Krull insists upon. We also need to act, and to forge new alliances, as Maja Göpel, one of our incoming Directors of Research, points out.

We believe that we can learn a lot from activists and other actors in this moment of crisis and collaboration. This is one of the reasons why we decided to form a partnership with our friends at the Right Livelihood Foundation, the most trusted name in global activism – congratulations to this year’s Laureates, inspirational figures in the fight for a more just and equitable future.

Our programmes reflect this aim and ambition and a much needed cooperation across disciplines and sectors – they seek to proceed from insight to action over a diverse range of issues: the future of democracy, the green digital city, the economic transformation, the historic lessons of change

For change to happen, we must be diverse and inclusive. We must reach out and engage as many people as possible. We believe, and we feel, that we are not alone. The future is unfinished, as we say at THE NEW INSTITUTE

Please feel free to reach out to me with any comment or suggestions. See you here next month. And please check out this very Brooklyn take on our mission film by Studio Premo.


Georg Diez


Hamburg is our home.
The world is our habitat.
The future is our concern.
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The Foundations of Value and Values

We are excited to announce our first call for fellowships for the programme “The Foundations of Value and Values”. For this call, we identified a set of overarching questions, which offer guidance for any project proposed as part of a fellowship application: What is the source of value creation? How do values and value systems evolve – especially against the backdrop of rapidly changing environments? What is the relationship between universal, moral values and economic value? How can ethics, philosophy, and critical social theory be translated into policies? And how are we to transform a change in value and values into sustainable behavioural change at the individual and societal level, even though it may not be in the self-interest of the individual?

We welcome applications.
The deadline is October 28, 2020.

Apply Now


Our Values

We build on a set of values. These values are central to our work. There are, of course, different perspectives on these values, what they actually mean and why they matter. This is why we asked renowned philosophers, inspiring thinkers, trusted collaborators to share their insights. 


Love as Care


Read Now


The Capacity to Feel Fear

ESSAY by Corine Pelluchon

Read Now


Keep on Looking

ESSAY by Wilhelm Krull

Read Now


Promise Me

ESSAY by Rahel Jaeggi

Read Now

Institute Updates


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After months of preparation, THE NEW INSTITUTE went public with a soft launch due to the Corona pandemic. Maja Göpel and future THE NEW INSTITUTE fellow Markus Gabriel hosted a lively discussion, recorded in our future home and currently the most beautiful construction site in Hamburg. We immediately used this opportunity to take a photo of parts of our team in front of our future home The Warburg Ensemble (Georg Diez, Maja Göpel, Erck Rickmers, Christoph Gottschalk, Wilhelm Krull, Markus Gabriel). Special thanks to everyone who helped make the launch happen. As a special treat, you can watch the insightful conversation between Maja Göpel and Markus Gabriel, organized by our partners “DIE ZEIT” (in German). 


We are pleased to share some initial coverage of the launch of THE NEW INSTITUTE and of our vision for change.

Eine Denkfabrik für Hamburg
Hamburger Abendblatt, 09.09.2020
Denkerin auf der Baustelle
DIE ZEIT, 09.09.2020
Hamburgs neue Denkfabrik 
Capital, 09.09.2020
Motor für den Systemwandel
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10.09.2020
Zwischen Akademie und Aktivismus
taz, 12.09.2020


This coming decade will be essential if we want to change the course of things, tackle climate change before more tipping points are reached. This is one of the goals of the ten-year-project “Untitled”, initiated by Demos Helsinki, a think tank that we cooperate with. Geoff Mulgan, one of our Senior Advisors, is part of the team that conceived “Untitled”, and together with him and Luisa Neubauer, the most prominent voice of the German part of Fridays for Future, Nina Rismal and Georg Diez of THE NEW INSTITUTE held a workshop, online, addressing the question: How can we create an alliance of green digital cities? It was the start of a longer conversation, in connection to the programme “The New Hanse”.


At the end of October, we will launch our next call for fellowships, onThe Future of Democracy”. This call will focus on four central themes: strengthening deliberative democracy; reconfiguring the use of social media and online communication; enhancing decision-making and the role of AI and Big Data; and the future of political representation. We will be lead by our constructive approach in moments of crisis; or as Christoph Möllers, one of our Senior Advisors in this project, points out in his most recent publication on liberalism: “optimism is not necessarily irrational, it can also be be a political attitude that makes freedom possible”.


Tomas Saraceno

We see art as an important tool for breaking free of the constraints of the present and to see what’s coming, and what’s possible. We will partner with and invite and include artists in our work and programmes. Here we introduce artists that inspire us.

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Tomas Saraceno is one of the most interesting and inspiring artists at the intersection of technology, nature, sustainability and social innovation working today. His artistic practice includes large scale sculptures and proposals for creative applications of his concepts in real life. Saraceno’s work is strongly research-based, drawing from the latest insights into our understanding of the universe. His aerocene project for example tries to rethink mobility and transportation from a radical ecological perspective – using solar energy to power balloons, creating the most sustainable flight in the history of aviation, even certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.


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