area of research: all disciplines
type of funding: symposia at the conference center Herrenhausen Palace, Hannover
researchers at German universities and research institutions, possibly international co-applicants
prerequisites: interdisciplinary, international context; active participation of both young and experienced researchers; adequate involvement of female researchers
additional benefits: childcare expenses, support for event preparation

initiative is currently being revised

 Participants in a symposium sit in a seminar room
Symposium in a Room in Herrenhausen Castle, Hannover (Photo: Philip Bartz)


Within the funding initiative "Symposia", the Foundation supports events in all disciplines addressing new scientific ideas and research approaches. Furthermore, innovative event and exchange formats as well as new tools to support interaction and networking among participants are encouraged.

Scope of Funding

The initiative is thematically open and not confined to any particular subject area. Funding can be made available for symposia and workshops with up to 50 participants. Basic requirements are

  • a meaningful scientific question and new approach,
  • an interdisciplinary and international context,
  • active participation of PhD-candidates and postdocs,
  • a significant number of female scholars among speakers and participants.

Symposia and workshops funded by the Volkswagen Foundation take place at the conference center Herrenhausen Palace in Hannover as part of the "Symposia Weeks" (please see Symposia Weeks for the dates).

Thematic Week 'Ethics of Science'

In 2021, for the first time, there was a call for proposals for a thematic week as part of the funding initiative "Symposia". With this call, the Foundation aims to fund three to four symposia addressing the same thematic area and combining them in a joint symposium week.

The theme of the first week in November 2022 is 'Ethics of Science. Current Challenges, Opportunities and Limitations'. For further information and details regarding the call for proposals please visit Thematic week 'Ethics of Science'.