NEXT – Law between Normativity and Reality (completed)

Frau hält Hände zum Stop-"T"


Law as a subject of legal science always describes and generates relations of normativity and reality. The relevance of this relationship was impressively demonstrated in the 2021 climate protection decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court. Here, law shapes and changes social reality and, at the same time, this reality forms the framework and reference point for law. At this interface of legal normativity and reality, questions of high social relevance arise, for example in the areas of sustainability or digitalization.

In its research, however, jurisprudence focuses predominantly on the normative dimension of law. Within the core area of legal doctrine, an examination of such real-world aspects often takes place at most via an inclusion of empirical findings for the assessment of facts or legal consequences. Systematic interweaving with theories and findings of other disciplines is rare, as is corresponding interdisciplinary research.

With the call for proposals “NEXT - Law between Normativity und Reality”, the Volkswagen Foundation would therefore like to promote cooperative legal science projects that are characterized by an inclusion of questions that specifically deal with the relationship between normativity and reality and make it the subject of legal science research.

Scope of Funding

The funding initiative addresses teams of two or three researchers from the legal sciences as well as cooperation partners from other disciplines. During a funding period of up to two years, projects can be funded with up to 350,000 euros.

Details of requirements as well as the application procedure can be found under Information for Applicants (pdf). Applications must be filed electronically via the electronic application system.


The call for proposals "NEXT - Law between Normativity und Reality" is part of the funding framework "NEXT", with which the Volkswagen Foundation aims to address topics and research approaches that, on the one hand, exhibit a high degree of knowledge potential and future relevance, but, on the other hand, are currently not or not sufficiently pursued scientifically. The funding framework is the overarching umbrella for various calls on different thematic areas which are all intended to stimulate the scientific landscape and to direct the focus to what could be "next” as the title of the framework indicates. 

The call is part of the Foundations’ profile area Exploration.