Between Europe and the Orient – A Focus on Research and Higher Education in/on Central Asia and the Caucasus

area of research: all disciplines
type of funding: events/meetings (science/research); exemplary infrastructural projects; reintegration measures
researchers in Central Asia and Caucasus with cooperation partners in Germany
additional benefits: training programs, funding for communication of science and research

Apply Anytime Until Dec. 20, 2021

Adilet Bekturov (TU Bischkek, KGUSTA) befragt kirgisische Hirtennomaden zu den wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Auswirkungen von Naturgefahren auf ihre Lebensweise. (Foto: Maxim Shubovich für VolkswagenStiftung)
Adilet Bekturov (TU Bishkek, KGUSTA) surveys Kyrgyz peasants about the economic and social effects of natural hazards on their nomadic way of life. (Photo: Maxim Shubovich for Volkswagen Foundation)


As a consequence of the collapse of the Soviet Union, 70 million people along the southern borders of the Russian Confederation, all with different ethnic backgrounds and languages, were catapulted into independence. The funding initiative entitled "Between Europe and the Orient – A Focus on Research and Education in/on Central Asia and the Caucasus" addresses the newly emerged independent states of Central Asia and the Caucasus as well as Afghanistan and some of the immediately neighboring regions of the Russian Federation and China. The overall aim is to work closely with local scholars and scientists to develop relevant research projects and to strengthen intraregional cooperation.

Scope of Funding

Thematic Calls

Within the frame of two thematically defined calls for proposals in the areas of environmental and social sciences, the Volkswagen Foundation has been supporting 13 cooperative research projects since 2014 and 2015, respectively. These involve significant participation of scholars and scientists from the target region and are accompanied by training and advancement of young researchers. Further calls for joint research proposals in these or other thematic areas are not envisaged.

Structurally-Oriented Measures

In addition to the thematic calls, the Volkswagen Foundation offers support for a number of measures that can be applied for at any time: Projects aimed at the integration of researchers from Central Asia and the Caucasus who are returning from abroad, workshops, symposia and summer schools as well as targeted aid for the creation and expansion of the academic infrastructure in the region.

Details of conditions and the application procedure can be found under Information for Applicants 72 (pdf). Applications must be filed electronically via the electronic application system.


The funding initiative "Between Europe and the Orient – A Focus on Research and Education in/on Central Asia and the Caucasus" was started in 2000. In late November 2011 the Foundation decided to modify its offer to include a combination of theme-based calls and projects aimed at structural development.