Our Funding Portfolio at a Glance

If you are looking for financial support, try using our search device. This will help you to find the right funding initiative for your research proposal.

The Foundation develops independent funding initiatives in pioneering new areas of research. Additionally, support can be provided for unusually innovative project proposals and in the area of science communication; research institutions in the Federal State of Lower Saxony are also eligible for additional support.

In the following you will find an overview of all the Foundation's current funding opportunities. Use the two search filters to narrow your search.

Please note that several categories are excluded from funding. The exclusion criteria can be found under "What we do NOT fund". For instance, at the present time it is not possible for the Foundation to fund individual PhD fellowships or student stipends.

Type of funding:

'Freigeist' Fellowships

A great opportunity for junior researchers in all disciplines: The ‘Freigeist’ initiative is directed toward enthusiastic and charismatic scientists and scholars with an outstanding record: through a highly flexible funding scheme junior researchers are given the opportunity to enjoy maximum freedom in their early scientific career.

'Mixed Methods' in the Humanities?

The call "'Mixed Methods' in the Humanities?" supports projects in the humanities and cultural studies that combine and synergize qualitative-hermeneutical and digital procedures, and explore their combination on the example of a shared research question.

Europe and Global Challenges

The funding initiative entitled "Europe and Global Challenges" was set up to provide support for research projects predominantly in the humanities and the social sciences. It is required that, beside European scholars, the project involves researchers from at least one other region of the world.

Experiment! – In search of bold research ideas

The funding initiative 'Experiment!' supports daring new research concepts in science and engineering, as well as in the life sciences including behavioural biology and experimental psychology through a fast and small grant scheme.

Herrenhausen Conferences – Ideas and Concepts

The Volkswagen Foundation dedicates its "Herrenhausen Conferences" to scientific issues that are characterized by high actuality, social relevance, and large potential for innovation. The conference venue is Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover, Germany.

Humanities, Cultural Studies, Social Sciences and Professional Practice in Graduate Education

The aim of this call is to integrate practice-based elements into graduate training in the humanities, cultural studies, and the social sciences. The funding initiative comprises two lines of funding: On the one hand, it provides support for pilot-type graduate research programs in the humanities and cultural studies. In a second funding line, university graduate schools in the humanities, cultural studies and social sciences can apply for support for their doctoral students to undertake practical modules.

International Research in Computational Social Sciences

With this call, the Volkswagen Foundation offers financial support for cooperative research projects, both for international workshops and summer schools as well as for cooperative research projects between international postdoctoral researchers.

Lichtenberg Professorships

The Volkswagen Foundation combines support both for individual researchers as well as institutions via the funding initiative “Lichtenberg Professorships”. Outstanding (young) researchers are offered a tenure-track at a university of their choice in Germany, enabling them to carry out independent research in innovative and interdisciplinary areas for longer periods of time.

Opus Magnum

This funding initiative addresses outstanding researchers in the humanities and the social sciences. Disburdened from their usual academic obligations by a teaching substitute candidates shall have the opportunity to write an extensive scholarly treatise ("Opus Magnum").

Research in Museums

The funding initiative “Research in Museums” addresses small and medium-sized museums with different thematic scopes wanting to carry out research on their collections.

Symposia and Summer Schools

The Foundation provides support for interdisciplinary symposia, workshops, conferences, and summer schools in all subject areas.

University of the Future

The funding initiative entitled “University of the Future” was set up to support projects on structural innovation and to promote the internationalization of German universities.

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Additional Funding Options

Communicating Science and Research

This funding initiative of the Volkswagen Foundation provides support for public relations activities, translations, and self-organized events for its grant recipients. Some of the specific calls for proposals within the initiative are also open to new applicants.

Niedersächsisches Vorab

The funding initiative entitled “Niedersächsisches Vorab” is reserved solely for research projects at universities and research institutes in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Off the Beaten Track

The funding segment "Off the Beaten Track" leaves room for exemplary projects of an original, daring, and potentially transformative nature which do not fit into any established funding schemes.