Lichtenberg Endowed Professorships

area of research: all subject areas
type of funding: professorship
2 million Euro
outstanding academics conducting research in innovative and interdisciplinary fields
prerequisites: acquisition of another 3 million euro by the University as contribution to endowment capital; change of academic environment in the last five years; university in Germany
additional benefits: funding for communication of science and research

Apply Anytime

Lichtenberg-Professor Dr. Matthias Schott at the Institute for physics
Lichtenberg Professor Matthias Schott conducts research at the Institute of Physics at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. (Photo: Thomas Victor for Volkswagen Foundation)

Aim of the Initiative

With the "Lichtenberg Endowed Professorships”, the Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft and the Volkswagen Foundation seek to establish a new endowment funding instrument for universities in Germany. The idea is to help universities attract outstanding scholars and scientists from innovative, seminal and risk-prone fields of research. The initiative provides greater planning security for the host universities as well as for the holders of the professorship. Moreover, the initiative enables host universities to implement their innovation and structural policies more independently and dependably than ever before, and they are incentivized to step up their efforts to acquire external funds. At the same time, the initiative sends a signal for more civic engagement in the field of science.

The Funding Offer

Each professorship will be endowed with capital totaling at least five million euro. The Volkswagen Foundation and, if applicable, one of the Stifterverband’s affiliated foundations each enter into a commitment for a starting capital of one million euro per professorship. Another three million euro must be guaranteed by the host university through fundraising. Eligible for funding are highly qualified researchers of all disciplines and nationalities who, together with the target university in Germany, are in international comparison among the leaders in their respective fields of research. 

Further information on funding conditions and submitting applications can be found under Information for Applicants (pdf). Applications are to be submitted in electronic form via the application portal.


The funding initiative "Lichtenberg Endowed Professorships” follows on the previous "Lichtenberg Professorships”. The initiative was introduced in summer, 2017.