Research facility of the Evangelical Study Community

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The research facility of the Evangelische Studiengemeinschaft eV (abbreviated: FEST ) - Institute for Interdisciplinary Research - in Heidelberg is a non-university, interdisciplinary research institute . The Evangelical Study Community was created in 1957/58 by amalgamating two small academic institutions under church sponsorship: the Study Community of the Evangelical Academies in Bad Boll and the Research Academy Christophorus Foundation in Hemer .

The basic funding is provided by the members of the supporting association - the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the regional churches of the EKD, the German Evangelical Church Congress and the Evangelical Academies. In addition, there is a significant proportion of project-related financing from public third-party funds and from project funding from private and church institutions.

working area

A broad spectrum of scientific disciplines is represented at FEST. It ranges from theology and philosophy through the most important social sciences to natural science subjects and represents the desired breadth of the interdisciplinary discourse. The results are presented to the public within and outside the Church in various forms of publication, through lecturing and participation in advisory committees. The research program is geared towards four work areas:

Religion, law and culture

The work area “Religion, Law and Culture” bundles theological, legal and cultural research perspectives and relates them to one another. The work focuses in particular on three topics: medical and bioethics, public religion and institutional change.


The “Peace” work area is dedicated to the areas of religion and conflict, just peace and peace reports.

Sustainable development

The work area “Sustainable Development” focuses on the following topics: growth and welfare as well as indicators of sustainable development, welfare indices, introduction of management systems (environmental, energy and sustainability management), environmental education and the creation of climate protection and environmental concepts.

Theology and science

The work area “Theology and Natural Science” is primarily dedicated to the subject areas of people, nature and religion.

Institute management


The current director of FEST is Philipp Stoellger (since 2020, part-time).

Predecessors in office were: Klaus Tanner (2012–2019, part-time), Eberhard Schmidt-Aßmann (2006–2011, part-time), Eberhard Jüngel (2003–2006, part-time), Ulrich Ratsch (2001–2003, provisional), Heinz Wismann ( 1991–2000), Johannes Schwerdtfeger (1989–1991, provisional), Klaus von Schubert (1984–1989), Wolfgang Lienemann (1982–1984, provisional), Georg Picht (1958–1982).

Oliver Foltin is the deputy head of FEST (since 2020).


The following persons belong to the board of FEST (as of February 2020):


Regional Bishop Jochen Cornelius-Bundschuh (Baden)


Board of Trustees

A scientific board of trustees advises, accompanies and assesses the planning, development and implementation of FEST's research projects.

The scientific board of trustees includes (as of February 2020):


Michael Moxter (Theology) Hamburg


Honorary members

OK Councilor, Regional Bishop Susanne Breit-Keßler (Theology) Munich

Former employees (selection)

The later Heidelberg systematist Heinz Eduard Tödt had been a FEST employee since 1961. His student, who later became chairman of the EKD , Wolfgang Huber , was an employee and deputy head of FEST from 1968 to 1980. Günter Altner was a scientific advisor from 1973 to 1977.


The results of the research are published in particular in our own book series, e.g. B. "Religion and Enlightenment" (Mohr Siebeck), "Texts and Materials" (FEST) and "FEST for Practice" (FEST), in individual publications of books in various publishers as well as in magazines and anthologies.

The FEST newsletter has been published twice a year since 2008, in both electronic and printed form; it can be downloaded as a PDF file from the homepage. The work is also provided in the annual report, which is published annually and can also be downloaded as a PDF file.


The “Climate Protection Project Office”, which was set up with funding from the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), has been located at FEST since 2008 .

FEST is a partner in the Klima-Kollekte , founded in 2011 , the fund of Christian churches in Germany for CO 2 compensation.

Since December 2012, FEST has been validated according to the European environmental management system EMAS .

Since 2017, FEST has been publishing video recordings of selected lectures held during the Jour Fixe and other events on its website and on a YouTube channel .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ History of the FEST
  2. ^ Website of the research center of the Evangelical Study Community eV (FEST). Retrieved October 20, 2018 .
  3. Overview of work areas. Retrieved October 20, 2018 .
  4. Press release on the change in management. Retrieved February 12, 2020 .
  5. Head | FEST Heidelberg In: , accessed on October 25, 2018.
  6. Board of Directors. In: Retrieved February 11, 2020 .
  7. Composition of the Board of Trustees. Retrieved February 12, 2020 .
  8. Former employees. Retrieved October 20, 2018 .
  9. EMAS. Retrieved October 20, 2018 .

Coordinates: 49 ° 24 ′ 53.7 "  N , 8 ° 43 ′ 41.1"  E