How does the program fit into the new funding strategy that the Foundation announced this year?
Fick: Launched in 2017, the funding initiative "Challenges and Potentials for Europe" will continue to fit very well into the revised funding strategy. It is just being fine-tuned and anchored in a new profile area with the title 'Societal Transformations'. What are the challenges facing Europe internally, but also in its interaction with other global players? What are the transformative crises that Europe will have to deal with? We see a real need for research here and want to encourage international research teams to investigate the issues raised.
As cross-border cooperation with multiple partners is never without risk, the funding initiative also underscores the Foundation's willingness to support risk-prone research. In this respect, however, we are able to exercise special precautions: As an independent foundation, we can ensure that projects with international participants take place with all the partners enjoying equal terms. With public third-party funding, this is not always the case.