The story

40 Years IZT - Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment

The IZT looks back on more than 40 years of successful history of continuity and change, strong tradition and supporting visions for the future. This makes the IZT a lively, diverse, reflexive and thus learning organisation with large inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge bases, which continues to maintain the balance between preserving & renewing in order to remain fit for the future.

The IZT - Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment was founded in 1981 as a non-profit limited company. Its history goes back to the 1960s and has naturally changed and developed over the years of its existence. The IZT is also faced with the challenges of an increasingly dynamic competitive environment due to globalisation and shorter technology cycles and the highly volatile framework conditions that go hand in hand with this.

None other than Robert Jungk, among others the first professor of futurology at the Technical University of Berlin, Dietrich Goldschmidt and Ossip K. Flechtheim were involved in the founding and remained closely associated with the IZT throughout their lives. The founding fathers agreed that the then still young discipline of futurology could only establish itself in what was then West Berlin at an independent private institute, not at one of the two universities.

There were a number of socially relevant questions that were taken up little or not at all by classical research at the time. This need gave rise to the so-called non-university research institutions.

One of the aims of the IZT was to address new socially relevant topics at an early stage. It has succeeded not only in bringing these topics into the public and political debate, but also in agenda-setting. The trick was and is to translate this forethought into funded research projects. The fact that the IZT can now look back on more than four decades of history shows that this has been successful.

The former president of Freie Universität Berlin, Rolf Kreibich (*1938), assumed the role of director and managing director in 1981 until his retirement in 2012. In August 2012, Professor Dr Michael Opielka (*1956) took over the scientific direction and management of the IZT for four years before returning to his own research studies in 2016. From October 2018 to 2023, the position of scientific director was held by Prof. Dr Stephan Rammler (*1968). In 2001, Dr Roland Nolte was appointed Managing Director from among the staff. From then on, the management consisted of two people. After Opielka's retirement, Roland Nolte took over the overall management in 2016. In 2019, Sabine Flores Tran was added to the management team as authorised signatory. In 2022, she was appointed as another managing director.

In the early days of the institute, the staff numbered less than 20, but now there are around 40 employees at the IZT. For a few years now, the institute has been experiencing increased growth. The legal form of the IZT is that of a non-profit limited liability company. This has a shareholders' meeting with significant employee participation (33%) as well as a supervisory board that also has a formative role and to which employees are also delegated.

The IZT is a very special institute because it is independent, critical, unconventional, courageous, solidary and agile. Highly motivated employees work together here at a high scientific level. Together, they address exciting topics of the future and in doing so open up great scope for shaping content and methods.