status 2020 - The Volkswagen Foundation in figures

"Status 2020" is the annual report of the Volkswagen Foundation. The complete report can be downloaded here: "Status 2020" (in German).

The most important figures, data and facts at a glance

Capital and Funds

At present, the Foundation's capital amounts to around 3.5 billion euros. The resources available for funding activities are generated from the investment of the assets and mainly benefit the area of "General Funding". In addition, there are profit entitlements from 30 million Volkswagen trust shares held by the state of Lower Saxony (mainly dividends). These funds are awarded to research institutions in Lower Saxony, in close cooperation with the state (see keyword "Niedersächsisches Vorab"). In 2020, funding in a total amount of 248.5 million euros was approved. Since it began its activities in 1962, the Foundation has supported research and higher education with around 5.5 billion euros.


Following a multi-stage evaluation and reflection process, the Foundation is realigning its funding strategy. Three profile areas structure the funding portfolio: 1. "Exploration," 2. "Societal Transformations," 3. "Understanding Research – Evaluation and Science Practice” Knowledge. The funding commitment to the cross-sectional area "Science in Society" is also being strengthened. The step-by-step implementation of the revised strategy has been ongoing since the beginning of 2021. The 18-page strategy brochure is available as a PDF download.

Funding Concept

In 2020, the Foundation developed four new guidelines for its funding practice. 1. Providing impetus: The Foundation strives to play a pioneering role with innovative pilot projects. 2. Taking risks: It creates experimental spaces for future top researchers. 3. Crossing borders: Transnational, inter- and transdisciplinary projects as core features of funding. 4. Shaping structures: Funding should have a sustainable effect, which will be systematically analyzed by the Foundation, among other things in order to subsequently share its know-how with others.

"Niedersächsisches Vorab"

In order to strategically develop science in Lower Saxony, the Foundation and the State Government of Lower Saxony work closely together – on concepts for calls, appraisals and quality control in all processes. In 2020, the funding volume in this area amounted to more than 157 million euros. The funds come from the "Niedersächsisches Vorab" program (see keyword "Capital and Funding"). In addition to supporting existing funding lines, in the past year, the Foundation supported, among other things, the founding of the “Quantum Valley Lower Saxony” initiative and the launch of a strategy for the digitalization at universities in Lower Saxony. Since 1962, a total of almost 2.5 billion euros has been approved in the "Vorab" program.


Picture Gallery: Numbers and Figures