Call for Applications: Original – isn’t it? New Options for the Humanities and Cultural Studies, Volkswagen Foundation

November 13, 2019


Applicants must be postdoctoral researchers/project teams in Germany, but it is possible to include international cooperation partners.


"Originality" is a crucial criterion of quality in the humanities and cultural studies. The specific nature of the themes belonging to the humanities and cultural sciences, though, makes it extremely difficult to say precisely what constitutes "original", "new", or "innovative". It may encompass anything that contradicts the established knowledge or generally accepted intuition; or just as well the development of a new approach to research, a new hypothesis, a new theory, observation of a new phenomenon, and discovery of knowledge gaps.

With this new funding offer the Foundation wishes to encourage scholars in the humanities and cultural studies to embark on projects of groundbreaking originality. Funding will be made available for initial exploration of the research idea.


With this funding initiative the Foundation is also treading new paths concerning the application and selection procedure – in at least three different ways: In order to expedite processing and enable decisions in between 5 to 6 months, the selection procedure has been trimmed and made as straightforward as possible. There is also an innovative review process, combining pre-selection on the part of the Volkswagen Foundation, and final selection by a panel of experts. Anonymized review ensures that the originality of the idea remains the sole selection criterion.

Information on applications can be found on the Volkswagen Foundation website