The Volkswagen Foundation is dedicated to the support of the humanities and social sciences as well as science and technology in higher education and research. It funds research projects in path-breaking areas and provides assistance to academic institutions for the improvement of the structural conditions for their work. In particular, the Foundation perceives its mission in supporting aspiring young academics and in promoting interdisciplinary and international collaboration.

External peer review is the most important quality assurance instrument underlying the Foundation's funding decisions. The Foundation endeavors to ensure the transparency of its decisions and the professionalism of the review procedure.

In the more than fifty years since it was founded in 1962 up to the end of the financial year 2013, the Volkswagen Foundation approved a total of 30.702 requests for funding. In the same period, it allocated funding in an amount of EUR 4,2 million for research and other projects.