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Volkswagen Foundation Freigeist Fellowships

Volkswagen Foundation Freigeist Fellowships

Volkswagen Foundation Freigeist Fellowships

About Volkswagen Foundation Freigeist Fellowships


* 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



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 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.


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




The initiative focuses on early-career researchers from all disciplines. The aim of the Foundation is to facilitate the implementation of extraordinary research projects and to make a substantial contribution to the establishment of dependable career paths for the upcoming generation of researchers. Since 2014, ten to fifteen Freigeist fellows have been selected each year.


Fellowship Publisher Link


Information Document


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