Volkswagen Foundation: Freigeist-Fellowships

Jul 01, 2020 12:00 AM to Apr 01, 2021 11:55 PM

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.

  • area of research: all disciplines
  • type of funding: own position (head of junior research group)
  • depending on the nature of the project, up to 2.2 million Euro for two funding phases
  • up to 5 (+3) years or 6 (+2) years
  • outstanding junior researchers who wish to carry out research at the boundaries between established fields of research
  • prerequisites: PhD degree no longer than four 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


The main focus is on junior researchers (up to 4 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.

Deadline for proposal submission: April 1, 2021

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