As part of our commitment to furthering academic collaboration and exchange, the institute sponsors a Visiting Fellow programme. The aim of the initiative is to enable visitors to spend a period of time in Lucerne, during which they can share and develop research and teaching ideas with our members. We believe that the academic and international diversity of our fellows greatly enriches the intellectual life of the institute.

Fellowships can be awarded in two categories:

  • Young Scholars Fellowships (with grant): each year, the institute allocates a limited number of funded fellowships for PhD students and postdocs. The grant covers travel and accommodation costs (up to a designated maximum), with the possibility of an additional stipend to defray supplementary living expenses. The standard period of tenure of a fellowship is between four and eight weeks. Applications are submitted in response to an annual call.

*** The Call for Applications for 2018 is now open. Further information here. ***

  • Open Fellowships (without grant): the institute also welcomes enquiries from established academics who wish to use our facilities, contribute to our teaching and research programmes, and/or discuss potential collaborations. Awards made in this category do not provide direct financial assistance. We can, however, support applications to national and international funding agencies, such as the Swiss European Mobility Programme (SEMP) or the Swiss National Science Foundation’s ‘Scientific Exchange’ scheme. Submissions can be made at any time and are evaluated on a rolling basis.



1. Young Scholars Fellowship: Call for Applications 2018

2. Visiting Fellows: Guide for Applicants 2018 (Young Scholars & Open Fellowships)



Visiting Fellows 2017

Dr. Matthew H. Birkhold

(Ohio State University)

Project: Narrating the Battlefield: Literature and the Law of War

Dates: 1 May - 5 June 2017




Matthew H. Birkhold is an assistant professor of German literature and an assistant professor of law at the Ohio State University, where his research and teaching focus on the intersection of law, culture, and history. He has published articles on child pornography law, Hollywood and secrecy law, Prussian jurisprudence, and indigenous cultural patrimony.

Currently, he is completing a book on fan fiction and the history of intellectual property. After graduating with a JD from Columbia and a PhD from Princeton, Matthew joined the U.S. Department of State as an attorney-advisor. There, he developed his next book project, "Narrating the Battlefield: Literature and the Law of War," which examines the role of fictional literature in developing international humanitarian law.

During the period of his fellowship, Matthew will deliver a public lecture on the subject of "The Rules of Eighteenth-Century Fan Fiction: A New History of the Literary Commons and Moral Rights" (further information here).



Tze Ping Lim

(Victoria University of Wellington)

Project: Fichte, Goethe and the Ownership of Fictional Characters: Taking an Interdisciplinary Approach to Copyright Law

Dates: 1 Oct - 30 Nov 2017



Tze Ping Lim studies philosophy and law at the Victoria University of Wellington. She is presently employed as an assistant to the Chair for Intellectual Property and International Trade (Prof. Susy Frankel), where she provides research support in intellectual property law, with a particular focus on copyrights, patents and trade marks.

Ping's own research interests range broadly across the fields of law, philosophy and literature. Her current project explores the legal question of copyright ownership of fictional characters through the lens of an illuminating historical case study - namely, Friedrich Nicolai's appropriation of figures from Goethe in his 1775 satire The Pleasures of Young Werther.