Challenges for Europe

area of research: humanities, cultural and social sciences
type of funding: international research projects
up to 1 million Euro
up to 4 years
research teams working on European challenges
consortia involving 3-5 principal investigators from at least 3 different European countries
additional benefits: funding for communication of science and research

next call will start in Feb. 2020

Europa bei Nacht, aus dem Weltraum gesehen (Foto: mode_list -
The call is dedicated to the challenges and dynamics of change within Europe. (Photo: mode_list -


For some years now, Europe has been facing a number of serious challenges which cause severe frictions among European states and can only be addressed collectively. Among them are economic crises, social inequality, migration, populism and nationalism, the erosion of democracy, disinformation, terrorism, and cyber security.

In light of these challenges, the Foundation encourages researchers to develop research-based impulses for future cooperation within Europe. With this call, the Foundation wants to stimulate basic research on issues affecting Europe and the European Union, encourage comparative studies, and strengthen academic collaboration among European scholars.

Scope of Funding

The call targets scholars in the humanities, social and cultural sciences. Funding can be provided for the constitution of European research groups comprising up to five principal investigators (PIs) from at least three different European countries. A collaboration with researchers from Southern and Eastern Europe is particularly desirable. The scientific qualification of young scholars has to be a central element of each research project.

Updated details of requirements and the application procedure can be found in February 2020 under Information for Applicants (pdf) and in the FAQs (pdf). Applications must be submitted via the electronic application system of the Volkswagen Foundation.


In light of numerous crises within Europe in the past years, the Volkswagen Foundation set up the call "Challenges for Europe" in summer 2017.