Innovative Approaches to Antiviral Drug Development (completed)

area of research: life/natural sciences
type of funding: research project
up to 700,000 Euro
3 years (possibly +2 years)
outstandingly qualified group leaders and professors at universities in Germany
prerequisite: translational interest of a European company
additional benefits: funding for the preparation and storage of research data (data reuse); funding for communication of science and research
Illustration Menschen im Labor bei der Forschung zu antiviralen Wirkstoffen
The funding initiative 'Innovative Approaches to Antiviral Drug Development' bridges the gap between high-risk basic research and practical application. (Design: Freepik


The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the associated respiratory disease COVID-19 are challenging drug research worldwide. However, even beyond the current corona pandemic, innovative approaches are required for the development of therapeutics against underexplored and yet unknown viruses. One example are viruses that are transmitted via change of host from animals to humans at an unpredictable point in time and can cause serious diseases. Against this backdrop, the Volkswagen Foundation supports a diversified virology and drug research at German universities and supports highly innovative research approaches with recognizable translational potential.

Scope of funding

This call is open for outstandingly qualified scientists at German universities from medical and synthetic chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, virology and virus immunology, veterinary medicine, molecular and structural biology as well as related fields. Cooperation between members from natural science and (bio)medical institutes are particularly welcome. 

A letter of support by a company expressing a potential translational interest is obligatory for an application. Dependent on the research goal, a statement on ethical issues or a formal ethics vote is required.

Funding for a three-year research project is offered with a maximum budget of 700,000 euros. Successful projects will have the opportunity to submit a continuation application on translational aspects for another 2 years with up to 1 million euros.  
Further details on the conditions and the application procedure can be found in the "Information for Applicants 121" (pdf). Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Foundation’s electronic application system.


This funding call was established in August 2020 in reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic. Up to now, 12 projects have been funded.