Freigeist Fellowships for International Students in Germany, 2020

Deadline: 15 October 2020
Open to: international candidates
Benefits: 1,000,000 EUR


Volkswagen Foundation is offering fellowship for international young researchers in all disciplines. Ten to fifteen fellowships for researchers will be awarded per year.

The offer is aimed at excellent junior scientists who want to pursue exceptional, risky science between established research fields and pursue risky science.

The initiative focuses on early-career researchers from all disciplines. 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. Since 2014, ten to fifteen Freigeist fellows have been selected each year.


Candidates must conform to the following conditions:

  • International candidates are eligible to apply for the opportunity.
  • The ‘Freigeist’ scheme is deliberately open to all disciplines and topics.
  • Anyone can apply who identifies with the goals of a ‘Freigeist’ Fellowship and whose proposed research 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 five years previously (with regard to the date of the defense relative to the deadline of the initiative).
  • 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 – 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 into the proposed research project.


The initial funding period is five years it is depending on the field of research and career experience, projects in a total amount of up to 1,000,000 EUR.

How to apply?

For more details, please visit the official website.