Symposia and Summer Schools

area of research: all disciplines
type of funding: symposia (usually in Herrenhausen Palace convention center, Hannover); summer schools (throughout Germany)
postdoctoral researchers at universities and research institutions in Germany
prerequisites: interdisciplinary, international context; active participation on the part of both young and experienced researchers; adequate involvement of female researchers (speakers & participants)
additional benefits: childcare expenses, support for event preparation and non-personnel costs

Currently no application, program is being revised

Meeting in Herrenhausen Palace, Hannover
Meeting in a seminar room in Herrenhausen Palace, Hannover (Photography: VolkswagenStiftung)


The Volkswagen Foundation did set up the funding initiative “Symposia and Summer Schools” to support events in all subject areas dealing with new ideas and research approaches. The Foundation also aims to encourage innovative event formats as well as new ways of supporting interaction and networking among the participants.

Scope of Funding

Please note: the calls are currently being revised.

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

  • an interdisciplinary and international context,
  • active participation on the part of young researchers (PhDs and post-docs) as well as
  • a significant number of female scholars and/or scientists among the speakers and participants.

The symposia, workshops and conferences funded by the Volkswagen Foundation are held in the newly constructed "Herrenhausen Palace" convention center in Hanover. You can find the list of dates available for your event via the link "The Volkswagen Foundation Symposia Weeks”.

Summer schools can also be funded at other venues in Germany.

You should allow at least eight months between submitting your application and the date of the actual event. Please observe the respective deadlines for applying for symposia, workshops, and conferences. It is recommended that you first contact the responsible program manager via telephone or e-mail to determine whether the event you are planning conforms to the required criteria.

N.B.: Symposia and summer schools that thematically relate to our current funding initiatives can very often be funded within the respective domain. 

The Foundation is not able to grant funding for the participation in conferences or excursions.


The funding initiative "Symposia and Summer Schools" started as early as 1966.