Freigeist Fellowships

Deadline: 10 October 2019
Open to: outstanding junior researchers who wish to carry out research at the boundaries between established fields of research
Benefits: own position (head of junior research group)


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. 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.


  • 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 Fellowship must 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 – 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 research project.


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.

Additional benefits: funding for communication of science and research; special family-related benefits; additional funding for refugee scholars and scientists; training programs.

How to apply?

For more information, please visit the official web page.