10 – 15 outstanding Junior Researchers (Post-Docs) of all disciplines and topics (based in Germany)

Within its funding initiative ‘Freigeist’ Fellowships the Volkswagen Foundation is seeking for

10 – 15 outstanding Junior Researchers (Post-Docs) of all disciplines and topics

with unique ideas and convincing personalities.

The ‘Freigeist’ Fellowship: 

  • pro­vides you with a reliable five-year timeline during which you are free to carry out highly innovative risk-taking research in projects located at the boundaries of established fields of research.
  • includes, in addition to your own position (usually “TV-L 14”, German salary scale), family-related benefits for parents, positions for scientific personnel (e. g. doctoral students, postdocs) as well as non-personnel costs (e. g. consumables, travel expenses, equipment); Research stays abroad for up to two years can also be integrated into the fellowship;
  • incorporates the possibility to apply for additional components during the funding period to ensure a high degree of flexibility;
  • provides funding of up to one million Euro for the first five years.


Any candidate can apply who identifies with the goals of a ‘Freigeist’ Fellowship and conforms to the following conditions:

  • You hold excellent academic qualifications, have published articles or monographs and you pursue a creative, innovative and visionary idea.
  • You wish to work independently and in an interdisciplinary field.
  • You pursue an extraordinary perspective or new methodological approaches.
  • You are able to react constructively to potential risks.
  • The doctorate must have been obtained not longer than five years previously.
  • The Fellowship must from the outset be inte­grated within a university or an extra-mural research institution in Germany.
  • Candidates must already have changed their academic environment and moved to a new location – or do this at the latest when starting the Fellowship.
  • Candidates need to have international experience – or include a research sojourn abroad in the proposed project.

Applications must be submitted by: 13 October 2016.