University of the Future (completed)

area of research: all disciplines
type of funding: research projects, events (science/research)
projects aiming at structural innovation and internationalization of research and higher education
"Lehre neu denken" - auf einer Tagung über die Zukunft des akademischen Lehrens und Lernens (Foto: David Ausserhofer).
"Lehre neu denken" - a Conference about the Future of Academic Learning and Teaching (Photo: David Ausserhofer).


Currently, the German university system – like universities all over Europe -- is undergoing changes of dramatic proportions. The aim of the funding initiative is to gather ideas, support projects, and carry out events designed to promote accordant structural innovation and the internationalization of academic teaching and research. The Volkswagen Foundation is implementing this funding initiative in close cooperation with other foundations in Germany and abroad.

Scope of funding

The Volkswagen Foundation plans to introduce a platform for debating higher education and research policies. Herrenhausen Palace will offer the ideal environment for all kinds of events – ranging from face-to-face talks within the context of small workshops up to full-blown international conferences. 

It is currently not possible to submit applications within this funding initiative.


The “University of the Future” funding initiative began in 2005. Working in close cooperation with Stiftung Mercator, the Volkswagen Foundation in 2009/2010 organized a competitive call entitled “Bologna – the Future of Academic Teaching”. Between them, the two foundations allocated EUR 10 million for nine projects that are being carried out at German universities. The projects were selected for their contribution to qualitative teaching within the context of the Bologna reform.