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Volkswagen Foundation Freethinker Fellowship 2019 [Open for Scientists & Researchers of any subject]: Apply by Oct 10: Expired

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Volkswagen Foundation Freethinker Fellowship 2019 [Open for Scientists & Researchers of any subject]:
Objectives and Background of the Fellowship
The Freigeist funding initiative provides an opportunity for outstandingly qualified, creative and independent early career researchers to conduct their own research. It aims to encourage exceptional research personalities to embark on visionary, risk-taking research projects at the intersections between established fields of research. The flexible funding scheme and clear time frame are de- signed to ensure maximum support for their self-chosen research topic and thus help them develop an entirely independent research profile.
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 obstacles. A ‘Freigeist’ Fellow opens up new horizons and combines critical analysis with imagination and innovative solutions.

Funding Opportunities
The Freigeist Fellowships are deliberately kept thematically open. They focuse on postdoctoral re- searchers from all disciplines who strive for scientific independence early on after their doctoral studies and whose research moves between established fields. The funding initiative is to enable them to carry out an extraordinary research project and set up their own research group at a research institution in Germany.

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Every year, 10 to 15 Freigeist Fellowships are awarded. The number of grants depends on the quality of the applications and the project match to the aims of the funding initiative.

General Conditions
Anyone can apply who identifies with the goals of a ‘Freigeist’ Fellowship and whose proposed re- search project fits in with the aims pursued by the Freigeist initiative. Candidates must, however, conform to the following conditions:

  • Their doctorate must have been obtained not longer than four years but at least one year previously (with regard to the date of the defense relative to the deadline of the initiative).
  • The funding scheme is open to early-stage researchers of all nationalities. Applicants must, however, be integrated within a university or an extra-mural research institution in Germany from the beginning of the fellowship.
  • Candidates must already have changed their academic environment and moved to a new location at the latest when starting the Fellowship. A return to the working context of the doctorate will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances.
  • A previously completed research sojourn abroad, at the latest integrated in the proposed re- search project. Since every Freigeist project has a completely individual design and involves its own specific challenges, the scope of funding is kept flexible. Each applicant tailors the financial resources and fund- ing period to the subject specific features and requirements of the particular project. The scope of funding foresees a funding period of up to eight years in two funding phases (5 + 3 years or 6 + 2 years) with total funding of up to 2.2 million euro. The resources applied for within this framework must be justified in the application.
Selection Criteria
  • the applicant’s personal qualifications
  • the scientific quality and originality of the project
  • accuracy of fit between the project proposal, applicant’s personal profile, and aims of the fund- ing initiative
  • a capability for independent research
  • the potential for breakthroughs, new methodological approaches, interdisciplinary cooperation
  • a constructive approach to possible risks

FAQs can be viewed here.

Phone: Dr. Johanna Brumberg, +49 (0)511 8381-297
For details, view the brochure given here.

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