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Today, more than ever, the modern welfare state is needed so that we can successfully respond to the profound socio-economic structural changes taking place in the labour market, in families and between the sexes. Society’s aging population in particular brings with it complex challenges, hand-in-hand with rising costs for pensions, health and (social) care. At a meta-level, questions of equality of opportunity, social participation and of the – moral as well as economic – costs of social division play an increasingly important role. The follow-on costs of “end-of-pipe policies” will rise steeply in the coming years, thus continuously increasing the pressure to act. To address these challenges the project group “The Future of the Welfare State” was formed and met over the course of a year. The project was developed and implemented in cooperation with the Bonner Akademie für Forschung und Lehre Praktischer Politik (BAPP, Bonn Academy for Research and Practical political Teaching).