'Freigeist' Fellowships

  • area of research: all disciplines
  • Region: Germany
  • type of funding: own position (head of junior research group)
  • up to 1 million Euro
  • up to 5 (+3) years
  • outstanding junior researchers who wish to carry out research at the boundaries between established fields of research
  • prerequisites: PhD degree no longer than five years prior to submission; linked to research institution in Germany; completed change of academic environment and research sojourn abroad
  • additional benefits: funding for communication of science and research; special family related benefits; additional funding for refugee scholars and scientists; training programs
Deadline: October 12, 2017
Freigeist-Fellow Jonas Rose examines the intelligence of crows (Photo: Mirko Krenzel).

Objective

A 'Freigeist' fellow: for the Volkswagen Foundation this means a young researcher with a strong personality, a creative mind, an ability to identify and use freedom, dedicated to overcoming resistance. If necessary, he or she will be a free spirit, enjoying the unexpected, even unexpected difficulties. A 'Freigeist' fellow opens up new horizons and combines critical analysis with imagination and innovative solutions. By thinking ahead the 'Freigeist' fellow will act as a catalyst in overcoming existing disciplinary, institutional and even national boundaries.

Scope of Funding

The 'Freigeist' scheme is deliberately left open to all disciplines and topics. The main focus is on junior researchers (up to 5 years of postdoctoral experience) working at the borders of neighbouring fields or disciplines. The 'Freigeist' initiative offers freedom for creative thinking, whilst at the same time providing security for at least 5 years and in the long run the opportunity to establish a career within a scientific research organization or university in Germany. The initiative even incorporates the possibility to apply for additional components during the funding period (e.g. funding of staff positions, travel expenses etc.).

Details of conditions and the application procedure can be found under Information for Applicants. Applications must be filed electronically via the application portal.

Background

The 'Freigeist' initiative builds upon the previous funding scheme for junior research groups and the Dilthey- and Schumpeter Fellowships which were terminated recently. These will be integrated into the 'Freigeist' initiative, providing continuous support for scholars from the humanities and social sciences but at the same time offering new chances for the sciences as well. The 'Freigeist' Fellowships and the Lichtenberg Professorships complement each other using a different approach and structure.