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The Present Futures Forum provides a platform for networking, collective reflection and project development. The aim is to work together at the intersection of the humanities, social sciences, technical and natural sciences in order to develop disciplines in a mutually reflective manner. Questions surrounding major societal transformations, such as those arising from the use of intelligent systems in spheres of work and daily life, the change in knowledge dynamics resulting from digitalization, or the shift of values in product development in response to the climate crisis, can only be resolved in their complexity through interdisciplinary cooperation. The Forum fosters a close exchange across disciplinary boundaries allowing methodological reflection and criticism. Herein lies additional innovation potential for a targeted transfer of methods such that arising challenges can be adequately addressed. Universities represent a central place for the active shaping of transformation processes — a site not only to drive such processes forward but also understand them within their socio-political and cultural contexts in order to steer them in a responsible direction. 

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A central characteristic of the Berlin approach is that, beyond the traditional mere accompanying research of the humanities and social sciences, it seeks to develop research of joint reflection between the humanities and social sciences on one hand and the natural and technical sciences on the other. Reflection and discourse between the various scientific disciplines allows for the further development of the respective disciplines. Following the Forum’s hypothesis, only through such means of close cooperation and open exchange can the respective disciplinary strengths reach their fullest potential and adequately respond to current societal challenges. 

The Present Futures Forum aims to create a space for encounters and discourse in the field of integrative science and technology research such that faculty members and young scientists of the humanities and social sciences can come together with their colleagues from the technical and natural sciences. To this end, the Forum provides accessible networking opportunities in the form of themed short lectures, interfaculty teaching colloquiums or workshops of thematic working groups. This structured environment accompanies research by promoting interaction, communication and exchange, and serves as the initiator and incubator of (preparatory) projects. The Forum carries out a double function: on one hand it serves an inward facing window that draws attention to the activities of the Berlin University Alliance in the field of integrative science and technology research, and on the other hand as an outward facing window that makes this research visible to and open for exchange among the international research community and the public.



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