Cluster of excellence with a focus on the study of the ancient world

With deep roots in the Berlin-Brandenburg region, the Topoi Cluster of Excellence also has an international reputation as an outstanding institution in the field of antiquity studies. Prestigious non-university institutions are also part of the Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin joint research association. The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz and the German Archaeological Institute have excellent international contacts. In combination with the universities’ contacts, they are being expanded further in the cluster.

Excellent international cooperation partners

Global cooperation at all academic levels

The cluster has cooperation agreements with the other institutions around the world that have a similar density and variety of disciplines, partners and projects. These include the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in New York, University College London, Cambridge University and the Laboratoire d’excellence "TransferS" at Ècole normale supérieure in Paris. They collaborate at all levels: from collectively conducting individual research projects to cross-institutional cooperation: in the collaborative training of young academics, for example.

Local partnerships

Digs and cultures in all corners of the world

Topoi research projects study cultures of the Mediterranean region through to the Middle East, from North Africa to Northern and Central Europe and the Eurasian Steppe. Researching these societies – including local digs – requires close collaboration with the local scientific institutions and archives, as well as the local authorities. This collaboration, which Topoi is expanding, is based on established networks such as that of the German Archaeological Institute and as well as on the (often) longstanding contacts between scientists. For example, the Cluster of Excellence is involved in setting up a research infrastructure in countries such as Iraq and Kyrgyzstan.

International visitors

A transparent, reliable international network

More than 40 international visiting scientists come to Berlin every year as junior and senior fellows. Here, they continue their own studies and contribute their own knowledge to the Cluster’s research projects. The fellows work on projects with their colleagues in Berlin, participate in workshops and conferences, and give public talks. A sustainable, reliable international network has emerged from this exchange. Since the foundation of Topoi in 2007, it has already produced new externally funded research projects.

With the support of the Einstein Foundation, renowned scientists from abroad are integrated into Topoi as “Einstein Visiting Fellows” to run a partner project between the Cluster and their home university or to set up a cross-institution working group.

Topoi also participates in the EU-financed COFUND/POINT Marie-Curie programme run by Freie Universität Berlin. Each year, this scholarship programme supports three to five outstanding young scientists from overseas for up to 24 months to work on their own research project at Topoi.