Profile area Societal Transformations

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In this profile area, the Foundation supports research that expands and critically reflects on the body of knowledge on transformation processes with different focal points. We want to gain a better understanding of how such processes develop and the possibilities for science to influence and shape them. We encourage researchers to involve actors outside the sphere of academia in their projects, for example through participatory research or joint science communication. The aim is to better understand processes of transformation in order to anticipate important future challenges through fact-based scientific knowledge and, at the same time, to develop options for social action.

The profile area "Societal Transformations" aims to

  • analyze and identify transformation challenges and promote research ideas that explore concrete transformations and identify options for action;
  • understand transformation processes and explore the contribution of science to such developments;
  • create framework conditions for transformation processes and encourage researchers to think about the transfer of their research into societal structures.

Current funding offers within the profile area

  • March 01, 2024 Deadline for collaborative projects (next deadline in 2025)

    Circularity with recycled and biogenic resources

    The current call within the funding line 'Collaborative projects' of this initiative is primarily targeted at the natural sciences and engineering.

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    • area of research: natural sciences and engineering, if required social sciences
    • type of funding: research projects
  • Online Q&A session on March 4 and 18, 2024
    March 28, 2024 Deadline fellows (early career researchers) (next deadline in 2025)
    April 24, 2024 Deadline research groups (senior scientists) (next deadline in 2025)

    Change! Fellowships and research groups

    Our target group: Personalities from science who are researching transformation processes jointly with non-academic partners.

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    • area of research: all disciplines
    • funding for: own position, research project
  • March 12, 2024 Deadline
    October 9 to 11, 2024: Themed week on water between extremes (Hannover)

    Themed week on water between extremes

    Researchers at German universities and research institutions (all career stages after the doctorate) can apply.

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    • natural, engineering and social sciences
    • funding for: organising an event (research/science)
  • March 25, 2024 Deadline for pilot projects (phase 1)
    March 2025: Deadline for full proposals (phase 2)

    Transdisciplinary Approaches to Mobility and Global Health

    The call is directed at researchers from HICs and LMICs, in close collaboration with local communities, non-academic stakeholders and other relevant actors. It is jointly initiated by the three independent private foundations Novo Nordisk Foundation (Denmark), Wellcome (Great Britain) and Volkswagen Foundation.

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    • areas of research: social sciences, life & health sciences
    • funding for: international collaborative projects
  • May 08, 2024 Deadline

    Perspectives on Wealth: Repercussions of Wealth

    The call is aimed at (inter-)national research consortia, collaborations with partners from LMICs are preferable, transdisciplinary consortia possible.

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    • area of research: Humanities, cultural and social sciences, economics (lead); cooperations with natural, life, data and technical science possible
    • type of funding: (inter-)national cooperation projects with up to five partners
  • May 15, 2024 Deadline

    Circularity in daily life – Communication contest

    The call is directed at transdisciplinary project teams of scholars and practitioners.

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    • area of research: all disciplines
    • type of funding: science communication
  • Currently no application possible

    Challenges and Potentials for Europe: Intergenerational Futures

    The call "Challenges and Potentials for Europe: Intergenerational Futures" is aimed at international research groups from the social sciences, cultural studies and humanities. 

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  • No open call

    Earth System Sciences

    The offer is aimed at universities in Germany with a focus on geosciences that wish to establish one or two junior professorships with tenure track.

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    • area of research: Geosciences
    • funding for: 1-2 junior professorships with tenure track per University location
  • Next deadline for task forces in 2025
    Next deadline for cooperation projects in 2025

    Transformational Knowledge on Democracies under Change – Transdisciplinary Perspectives

    The call addresses persons from science and (civil) society who are interested in transdisciplinary research and aim at jointly developing new perspectives on democratic forms of government under change.

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    • area of research: humanities, cultural and social sciences (lead); cooperation with natural, life, data and technical sciences possible
    • type of funding: task forces, cooperation projects