Knowledge for Tomorrow – Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa

area of research: all disciplines
type of funding: workshops, symposia and summer schools in Sub-Saharan Africa
researchers who plan to organize scientific events in Sub-Saharan Africa
prerequisite: main applicant in Germany with cooperation partner in Africa

Apply Anytime Until Dec. 20, 2021

Menschen auf einer Baustelle
Theory meets praxis: Alternative components for the production of the basic building material concrete were an important topic of the symposium series "Knowledge Exchange for Young Scientists (KEYS)" in the Foundation's Africa Initiative. (Foto: OGS Studios for Volkswagen Foundation)


The funding initiative aims at the development and sustainable reinforcement of research in Sub-Saharan Africa and is open to all disciplines. A primary objective is to provide junior researchers in Africa with an opportunity to enhance their skills and academic qualifications and to open up future prospects in their home countries. Besides supporting African-German research cooperation, a special focus has always been on the development, reinforcement, and extension of academic networks within and beyond the African continent.

Scope of Funding

Workshops, Symposia and Summer Schools in Africa

Funding can be made available for symposia, workshops (usually up to 50 participants) and summer schools (max. 60 participants). The initiative is thematically open and not confined to any particular subject area. The basic criteria are:

  • developed in cooperation between German and African scholars
  • participants from African and non-African countries (incl. Germany)
  • active participation of young researchers (doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers)

Applications can be filed at any time but at least eight months prior to the event date.

Applications will only be accepted for processing after prior personal consultation. Details of requirements as well as the application procedure can be found under "Information for Applicants 81 (pdf)". Applications must be submitted via the electronic application system.


Within this funding initiative, established in 2003, the Foundation adopted a long-term and sustainable perspective that enables young researchers in the region to engage in longer-term research at African research institutions. During the first phase of this initiative, cooperative research projects jointly developed and carried out by both junior as well as senior scholars and scientists from the African continent and Germany were funded. These projects provided junior researchers in Africa with an opportunity to enhance their skills and gain additional academic qualifications. During the second phase (ongoing since 2008), the Foundation has provided grants for junior and senior postdoctoral fellows to conduct their own research projects in various thematic fields (neglected tropical diseases, natural resources, engineering, social sciences, humanities and livelihood management) while based at African institutions. However, there will be no further open calls for postdoctoral fellowships. Upcoming calls will only address fellows, who are currently funded by the Foundation.