About the interdisciplinary college
Join IK and be part in a 20-year tradition of interdisciplinary discourse

About Us

The Interdisciplinary College (IK) is an annual, intense one-week spring school which offers a dense state-of-the-art course program in neurobiology, neural computation, cognitive science/psychology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and philosophy. It is aimed at students, postgraduates and researchers from academia and industry. By combining humanities, science and technology, the IK endeavours to intensify dialogue between the various disciplines. Participants come mainly - but not exclusively - from European countries, lecturers from all over the world. Courses include up-to-date introductions to the main fields of the IK, as well as an in-depth treatment of the focus topic, which is changing from year to year. The IK is also a unique social event. In the long evenings, participants enjoy a very special atmosphere: minds meet, music is played, and friends are made in the welcoming conference site at Lake Möhne.

What is Our Goal?

You will attend a lot of very interesting courses and lectures, some relating to your usual topics and so some that are completely exotic to you. You will learn a host of new things and remember some almost forgotten bits, while you will grow curious at quite a few new topics. The house will be brimming with discussions and interdisciplinary exchange that leaves most participants thinking differently, or from new angles, about their usual topics. IK will also leave you quite sleep deprived following a week of up to 10 hours of lectures and up to 10 hours of other fun activities ("waterball", hikes to the lake, excursions on bike, gatherings in the basement bar, music by the fireplace, dancing, games, table tennis, etc.) a day. There will be free and open discussion and interaction between students, lecturers and all other participants, drawing a benefit from the fact that everyone is comparatively unexperienced in at least some topics while bringing along expertise in others. Many participants decide to make visible active contributions by either presenting a poster, a rainbow lecture, by volunteering as a "sunshine" to support one of the lecturers, or even by making an artistic or comedic contribution (which often happens in spontaneously formed teams) to the dinner gala night on Tuesday. Participants have often described the IK as a celebration of curiosity where you can connect with brilliant people from a broad range of disciplines that are somehow involved with -or affected by- cognition.


Building and accommodation

The Heinrich Lübke Haus, the main accommodation during IK, provides a completely wheelchair-accessible house. There are several rooms (3 people bedrooms) with a wheelchair-accessible bathroom (including an accessible shower). Every floor of importance for the spring school is linked with a lift and is accessible for people with reduced mobility.

If you’d like to bring your assistance dog, please contact us in advance so we can figure out what accommodations are needed (and if they are available) to ensure a safe environment for the dog (and all the cats living on the property).


There is no gender neutral or wheelchair-accessible public toilet, but the talks and courses are in the same building as the accommodations (or in a forum right next to the house), therefore it will be possible to access the personal (bath-)room in-between the classes.


It is possible for lecturers to bring children to IK. The Heinrich Lübke Haus is a reasonably safe place for children of all ages. Due to its location in a rural residential area there are no immediate hazards, such as heavy traffic. Many accommodations and playtime activities for children are available, so if you would like to bring you family, please directly contact the conference management before you register. Please note that child care cannot be provided by the organizers.

Hearing and sensory processing

The spring school itself is a somewhat loud place, just due to the number of people engaged in conversation. Especially the mealtimes take place in a noisy environment (a big cafeteria where everybody gathers, talks, discusses, and eats).

The talks and classes are pretty similar to standard university lectures (except that the participants usually all try to actually follow). The evening lectures however bring all the participants together (around 200 people), and so will be the most challenging with respect to sensory processing and focus. If you want to participate in these lectures, it is advisable to arrive early to get a good seat close to the speaker to address sensory or attention difficulties.


This accessibility information is provided by student representative and participant Zam Franz, who cannot ensure the correctness and completeness of each individual point in this list and kindly asks to please contact them (zam@techfak.uni-bielefeld.de) or the conference manager (christine.harms@ccha.de) in case your decision to come to IK is contingent upon the above-noted information, or other questions of accessibility. Kindly proofread and signed by the diversity and inclusion task force.

The history of IK

The IK evolved from the former 'Artificial Intelligence Spring School' (KIFS), which took place almost annually from 1982 to 1996, and contributed significantly to the development of AI in Germany. Since the beginning of the 1990s, AI had been well established in German universities and the mission of the KIFS had been fulfilled. It was time for a comprehensive departure into interdisciplinarity. This venue was paved out by several events, especially by two workshops "Wege ins Gehirn" (Paths into the brain) and "Autonomie und Adaptivitaet" (Autonomy and Adaptivity). These non-public workshops were organized by the Federal Ministery of Education and Research and brought together leading scientists in these fields. The final decision to turn the KIFS into the Interdisciplinary College was taken at the first of these workshops in 1996. The IK "movement" has since then been carried on by a body of leading researchers from the concerned disciplines. The IK inherited the charming scenery (Heinrich-Luebke-Haus in Guenne/Moehnesee) and the intensity of the KIFS. Since 2003 the IK is held in English. The IK has now been run annually since 1997, each time with overwhelmingly positive feedback from its participants.


Executive Committee

Tarek Besold (Telefonica Alpha, Spain)
Ansgar Büschges (University of Cologne)
Jennifer Fewell (Arizona State University)
Zam Franz (Bielefeld University)
Barbara Hammer (Bielefeld University)
Dieter Jaeger (Emory University)
Herbert Jaeger (Jacobs University Bremen)
Katharina Krämer (University of Cologne)
Rainer Malaka (University of Bremen)
Stephan de la Rosa (MPI for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen)
Felix Schmitt (University of Vienna)
Ronald Sladky (University of Zurich)
Jan Smeddinck (University of Bremen)
Terry Stewart (University of Waterloo)
Kai Vogeley (University of Cologne)
Susan Wache (University of Osnabrück)
Ipke Wachsmuth (Bielefeld University)
Wanja Wiese (University of Mainz)
Elisabeth Zimmermann (University of Vienna)  

Advisory Board

Tamim Asfour (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
Jessica Grahn (University of Western Ontario, Canada)
Arvid Kappas (Jacobs University Bremen, Germany)
Ed Large (University of Connecticut, USA)
Justin London (Carleton College, USA)
Gregor Schöner (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)
Natalie Sebanz (Central European University, Hungary)
Luc Steels (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain)
Jun Tani (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology)

Conference Management

Christine Harms (Conference Manager)
-ccHa- Schillerstrasse 8
D-53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler
Tel.: +49 (0)2641/903578
Fax.: +49 (0)2641/903580
e-Mail: christine.harms@ccha.de

Sarah Schulz (Ada Health, Berlin)
Benjamin Paaßen (Bielefeld University)

Event Location


Zur Hude 9

59519 Möhnesee-Günne



Phone: +49 (0) 2924 / 806-0

Fax: +49 (0) 2924 / 806-402