Pioneer Projects – Impetus for the German Research System

area of research: All disciplines
type of funding: Innovative pioneer projects for the (German) research system
Max. 500.000 EUR
Max. 3 years
PhDs, professors and academic administrators at German universities and research institutes
Deadline:
Deadline:
A man mows with a lawn mower across a maze of bushes (illustration)
The aim of the new funding offer is to create experimental spaces for fundamental innovations and substantial improvements in areas of the German science system. (Photo: Fanatic Studio - gettyimages)

Objective

The Volkswagen Foundation wants to offer experimental spaces for fundamental innovations and significant improvements in all areas of the (German) research system. To this end, the Foundation will fund promising ideas for pioneer projects from the academic community. 
 
With this funding offer, the Foundation pursues the goal of inducing structural changes of the German research system to such an extent that 

  • the system becomes more innovative;
  • competition and cooperation are balanced in the system; 
  • the system becomes more resilient and adaptable to current developments. 

This funding offer addresses researchers and academic administrators who share this goal and who want to provide new impetus and shape structures with a focused pioneer project in a specific area of the German research system.

Funding opportunities

The funding offer addresses active researchers who, in addition to their research activities, would like to explore a project idea for the further development (of a specific area) of the German research system, as well as academic administrators at universities and research institutions in Germany. Projects can relate to any aspect of the research system, such as the organisation of research, teaching, transfer, governance and administration. The envisaged project should pursue practical improvements; pure research projects are not eligible for funding. The Foundation expects the knowledge gained during the projects to be shared with interested stakeholders. 

In addition to the qualification of the applicants for the implementation of the project as well as the feasibility of the project planning (including time and cost planning), the following criteria are important for the review of the proposals:  

  1. the project addresses an existing desideratum or problem in the (German) research landscape;
  2. the project gives impetus and shapes structures, if necessary also across borders;
  3. the idea is novel and innovative;
  4. the project can be continued without long-term support from the Foundation and, ideally, be scaled up. The actors directly relevant for upscaling should therefore be involved from the onset of the project.

Further details on the conditions and the application procedure can be found under Information for Applicants 122 (pdf).