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The Volkswagen Foundation is realigning its funding strategy as of 2021, with the three profile areas "Exploration", "Understanding Research – Evaluation and Science Practice", and "Societal Transformations", as well as the cross-sectional area "Science in Society".

The Foundation itself develops a radical new take on the future: and asks its researchers to do the same. Dr. Georg Schütte, Secretary General of the Volkswagen Foundation, and Dr. Henrike Hartmann, Head of the Funding Department, with insights into the strategy process.

Nine early career scientists have been awarded prestigious Freigeist Fellowships for their daring projects. A Freigeist Fellowship offers creative minds maximum freedom and a clear time perspective for their research.

Green light for 15 projects under the global call for interdisciplinary research on "Mobility – Global Medicine and Health Research". The following interview surrounds first experiences with a funding offer that has unintentionally become topical in the wake of the corona pandemic.

The Volkswagen Foundation has approved a total of around 12 million euros for eight interdisciplinary and international research networks in the social and the engineering sciences that share an integrative focus on the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and society. The aim of this funding initiative is to strengthen interdisciplinary and trans-national research on socially responsible approaches to the further development of AI systems.

What are the consequences of automation of care for the quality of life and dignity of the elderly? An interdisciplinary research group is working on concepts that are better geared to the needs of elderly people and caregivers alike. The results are innovative ideas in caring for the elderly – that sometimes challenge taboos.

The program promotes scientifically outstanding collaborative projects conducted jointly by researchers from Israel and Lower Saxony. The current call invites proposals from the Humanities and Social Sciences, deadline: February 18, 2021.

Science, too, has its share of failures and mistakes. But nobody likes to talk about it in public. The Journal of Unsolved Questions takes a completely different approach. It publishes zero results.

Quality assurance is and remains absolutely indispensable for science. However, the limitations of peer review are becoming increasingly evident. New approaches are therefore urgently needed – such as the partially randomized selection of projects by lot.