Volkswagen Foundation: 60 years of science funding
Germany's largest private science sponsor celebrated its jubilee with many guests: The public was invited to join the big "Festival of Science" at Herrenhausen Palace in Hannover on October 1, 2022.
Since the start of its activities 60 years ago, the Foundation has made a total of EUR 5.5 billion available for its purpose of promoting "the advancement of the sciences and technology in research and higher education" (Section 2 of the Statutes). This has enabled future-oriented research projects and other scientific ventures to be realized: in Germany and around the world. The Volkswagen Foundation stands for innovation and risk-taking; it places particular emphasis on interdisciplinarity and internationality. The realigned funding strategy comprises three profile areas: "Exploration", "Knowledge about Knowledge - Reflection and Practice of Science" and "Social Transformations".
At the Festival of Science ten of the more than 33,000 projects funded over 60 years presented their work: Among other things, there were a moon rover, a cow toilet, dinosaur fossils from the Harz Mountains and the Costa Rican rainforest in virtual reality. The enthusiasm of the researchers for their topics was transmitted to the audience of all ages, so that their stands were always densely crowded. The talks by professors and science communicators in the large auditorium also attracted many interested listeners, who were happy to take the opportunity to ask questions in smaller groups afterwards.
The event had been opened by Secretary General Dr. Georg Schütte and the cutting of the anniversary cake together with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Lower Saxony's Minister of Science Björn Thümler. In the evening, five young scientists demonstrated in a science slam that research can be presented in an exciting and entertaining way – and in very short time. In ten minutes each they convinced the audience of themselves and their work. At the end of the anniversary celebration, visitors, scientists, science slammers and employees of the Foundation enjoyed music, dance and magic at the Magic Science Party until late in the evening.