The funding initiatives relating to other countries serve international cooperations and the systematic support of institutions and projects outside Germany.
Science is globalized to a high degree – a fact amply illustrated by the popular slogan ‘world-wide competition for the best minds’. However, when the goal of internationalization is viewed explicitly from the side of research, a number of barriers become apparent. Some of these have their roots in money and politics, others in disciplinary methods, technological conditions, or institutional structures, as well as in language and inter-cultural understanding. In this respect, too, the Volkswagen Foundation strives to break down and to transcend borders.
Thus the focus of this funding segment is on promoting cooperation between scholars and scientists in Germany and in countries outside the European Union, in particular in developing and transition countries. On the one hand, the aim here is that scientific institutions in other countries benefit from funded projects, and local scholars and scientists – especially the younger ones – are given the opportunity to train their research skills. To the same extent, though, it is intended to encourage and reinforce a stronger international orientation on the part of German research.
The guiding principle is to move away from the perspective of “research on” something and to adopt an approach of “research with” someone. Research projects are therefore developed and implemented with the joint cooperation of all parties involved.