Knowledge for Tomorrow - Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa

In the civil-war-torn country of Sierra Leone, Dr. Sylvanus Spencer is reasearching the role of freedom of expression for peace building and democratization (Photo: Erik Zöllner).

This funding initiative aims at extending and strengthening research in the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.


The funding initiative is open to all disciplines and aims at the development and sustainable reinforcement of research in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research projects, developed and carried out by African scholars and scientists in close cooperation with their German partners, shall provide junior researchers in Africa with an opportunity to enhance their skills and academic qualifications. Special emphasis is put on the development, reinforcement, and extension of academic networks inside Africa beyond existing language barriers.

Scope of Funding

The following call aims at post-docs starting academic careers in Africa. Funding can only be approved for research projects carried out in cooperation with a partner academic institution in Germany, and for Junior and Senior Fellowships with a 36-month duration.

Open Calls

Currently no open call.

Workshops, Symposia and Summer Schools in Africa

Applications will only be accepted for processing after previous consultation with the respective contact person.


The funding initiative was introduced in 2003. By way of preparation, the Foundation organized a number of events during which the pertinent parameters were discussed. This applied especially to the researchers on the African side.

From time to time, the Volkswagen Foundation organizes thematic workshops in order to aid the identification of promising areas of future-oriented research and the development of innovative lines of research in a spirit of partner-like cooperation. These meetings are used to discuss the current status of research, identify research issues, and to explore and develop possibilities for cooperation with other researchers and research institutions inside sub-Saharan Africa. Attendance at these workshops is by invitation only. Details of how to apply are posted on the Foundation’s homepage.

Information on previously held thematic workshops.