Volkswagen Foundation announces "Freigeist" Funding Fellowship 2021


A 'Freigeist' fellow: for the Volkswagen Foundation 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 neighboring 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.

Please note: The deadlines 2020 and 2021 will be merged. The next date and only deadline in 2021 is April 1st, 2021, which does not affect the eligibility of those who are eligible to apply by October 15th, 2020. Please submit your application by April 1st, 2021. Persons who obtained their doctorate (date of defense) less than one year ago as of April 1st, 2021 are not eligible to apply. 

The initiative focuses on early-career researchers from all disciplines. The Foundation aims 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.