Status 2021 - The Volkswagen Foundation in figures
In 2021, the Volkswagen Foundation approved EUR 238.8 million for scientific projects. The most important figures, data and facts from our 2021 annual report.
At a glance: The most important figures, data and facts
Capital and Funds
At present, the Foundation's capital amounts to around 3.9 billion euros (as of June 2022). 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 30.2 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 2021, funding in a total amount of 149 million euros was approved for the "Niedersächsisches Vorab" - and around 2.56 billion euros since the Foundation began its activities in 1962.
Following a multi-stage evaluation and reflection process, the Foundation realigned its funding strategy. Three profile areas structure the funding portfolio: 1. "Exploration," 2. "Societal Transformations," 3. "Understanding Research – Evaluation and Science Practice”. The funding commitment to the cross-sectional area "Science in Society" was also strengthened. The step-by-step implementation of the revised strategy has been ongoing since the beginning of 2021.
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.
In a concerted effort to further develop research activities in Lower Saxony, the Volkswagen Foundation and the State Government of Lower Saxony work closely together – on concepts for calls, expert review and quality control. The funds come from the "Niedersächsisches Vorab" (see "Capital and Funding"). The Foundation and the state government are currently working on strategies to further develop the "Vorab". Based on a comprehensive analysis of the potential for expanding research activities in Lower Saxony, new funding initiatives are being designed with the aim of boosting the attractiveness and visibility of Lower Saxony as a research location, both for stakeholders in Germany as well as from abroad.
The Foundation owes its existence and its name to an agreement concluded between the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Lower Saxony in 1961, which ended the dispute over the unresolved ownership of the "Volkswagenwerk" after the World War II. The then Volkswagenwerk GmbH was converted into a joint stock company, and the proceeds from this privatization formed the foundation capital of the Volkswagen Foundation, which began its work in 1962. To mark the occasion of its 60th anniversary, the Foundation cordially invites the citizens of Hanover to attend a "Festival of Science" to be held at Herrenhausen Palace on October 1, 2022.