Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives on Cultural Heritage and Change (completed)

area of research: humanities, cultural and social sciences
type of funding: international research projects
up to 1,5 million Euro
up to 4 years
research teams working on cultural heritage and change
prerequisite: involvement of scholars based in Germany, Italy or Sweden as well as in low and middle income countries outside of Europe
Menschen vor traditionellem Holzhaus
The research project "Shared Knowledge", which deals with the "decolonization" of ethnological museums, accompanies the construction phases of a traditional community house of the Kotiria in Macucu (Colombia). (Photo: Mikko Gaestel)


This call for funding is part of a broader international funding framework entitled “Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives”, which aims to enable international research collaboration and to generate new insights on understudied issues of global relevance. The different thematic areas that are addressed through this overarching funding scheme are oriented towards those challenges that have been acknowledged by the United Nations’ sustainable development agenda as requiring specific action. "Global Issues” aims to stimulate and strengthen collaboration between researchers based in different parts of the world who usually do not join forces.

Thematic Call: Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives on Heritage and Change

While much of the discourse surrounding the development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is strongly focused on economic, ecological, and social aspects of development, the cultural dimension has been less emphasised. Yet, culture also plays an important role in fostering sustainable development and should be included in strategies and approaches for reaching a sustainable future. This insight is now motivating a call for funding focusing on cultural heritage and change. 

Cultural heritage ranging from the tangible to the intangible, from narratives and practices to monuments, landscapes and objects, is subject to a variety of processes of change and transformation. War, terrorism, environmental change, tourism, and digitalization – these are only a few examples of a wide variety of processes affecting and potentially threatening the world’s cultural heritage and impacting upon people’s lives, including aspects of self-conception, identity, origin, and socialization.

Based on various exchanges with the research community from a broad set of disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, the foundations encourage multilateral research teams from all relevant fields of study to investigate the processes and research questions of cultural heritage – heritage as an agent for and an object of change. 

Applications may address one or more of the following areas of special interest:

  • Theoretical development of heritage including conceptual analyses of what is regarded as ‘cultural heritage’ and ‘change’ and by whom.
  • Contributions of cultural heritage to an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable future.
  • Consequences of the use of ICTs in relation to cultural heritage. 
  • Threats to heritage such as war, terrorism, or climate change. 

The Foundations strongly encourage research that moves beyond traditional questions and approaches and significantly advances the current state of the art.

Scope of Funding

This call for funding targets mainly the humanities, cultural and social sciences, but by no means excludes the involvement of other disciplines. Funding will be provided for small, but strongly interacting research consortia of up to five partners. Besides one partner working at an institution in Germany, Italy or Sweden the involvement of two partners based in Low and Middle Income Countries outside of Europe is generally required. Funding will be provided for up to four years and covers all direct project-related costs. Project consortia may apply for a maximum amount of EUR 1.5 million.

Details of requirements as well as the application procedure can be found under Information for Applicants 116b (pdf). 


The funding initiative “Global Issues” was established in 2017 with the aim of promoting research focussing on the changes impacting society at the beginning of the 21st century (as framed by the SDGs). There are four thematic calls. This call is a joint funding initiative of Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy), Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Sweden) and the Volkswagen Foundation (Germany). Information on the other thematic calls can be found here: