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Department of Social Sciences

About us

The Sozialforschungsstelle Dortmund (sfs) is one of the long-established German research institutes in the field of social science labour research. Founded in 1946, the former state institute became a central scientific institution of the Technical University of Dortmund in 2007. Since April 2020, the Social Research Centre has been a scientific institution of the new Faculty of Social Sciences. The overarching guiding theme of the sfs' research work is social science innovation research. It examines how social innovations arise and how they relate to technological innovations. Another focus is on the question of the conditions and perspectives for realising economically, ecologically and socially sustainable development. The sfs is involved in shaping social, technological and ecological processes of change and innovation.

The Social Research Centre can look back on 75 years of social science research and has meanwhile carried out several hundred research and joint projects with partners from science and practice at regional, national and European level.

For many years until today, the sfs has been cooperating closely with citizens and institutions in the city of Dortmund and the surrounding area and has been accompanying transformative processes of change in various cooperative contexts. For this, the Social Research Centre was awarded the Dortmunder Dialog Prize 2022 of the GFS (Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Strukturwandels in der Arbeitsgesellschaft e.V.), which the Director Prof. Dr. Jürgen Howaldt accepted on behalf of the Institute at the 81st Dortmunder Dialog event. The laudation by Dortmund's Mayor Thomas Westphal and the award ceremony as well as the subsequent lecture by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Howaldt were recorded on video (German language only).

The Social Research Centre is divided into research areas. The central bodies of the Institute are the Executive Board, the Management and the Scientific Advisory Board.

Impressions of the sfs and the location at the Minister Stein colliery