Just how flexible it can be was recently shown by the small grant call "Corona Crisis and Beyond - Perspectives for Science, Scholarship and Society". In an incredibly short space of time, the Foundation has created an offer that couldn’t be more topical. And it has obviously struck the right chord: No less than 1,109 applications had been received by the June 4 deadline, more than in any other funding program to date – and this despite the extremely short application period of about four weeks.
"The response has exceeded our wildest expectations", says Georg Schütte. "But in a way we have also become victims of our own success, because now we have to pool our efforts to organize a qualitative pre-selection for the review process. And we are examining whether we can reallocate funding in the medium-term planning. If we want to do justice to the special corona call and generate a substantial impact, we must succeed in getting the most promising, often risk laden project ideas off the ground."
The Volkswagen Foundation has also reacted flexibly to the challenges brought on by the corona crisis with an ad hoc call for proposals in its "Niedersächsisches Vorab" program. The call "Digitalization plus - immediate measures taken by the universities in Lower Saxony in the field of digitalization" offers funding for the short-term expansion and further development of current and new university engagement in the area of digitalization. Here, too, members of the Foundation's funding department, together with their colleagues in the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Research, invested a great deal of creative work this springtime in order to roll out this offer as quickly as possible. In addition to this ad hoc support, there will be a further grant of several millions for developing a new overall digital strategy for Lower Saxony's universities.