Change of Course – Exploring New Research Territories between the Life Sciences and Science or Engineering (completed)

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Many emerging research questions at the intersection of the life sciences on the one hand and engineering, mathematics, computer and natural sciences on the other can only be solved in an interdisciplinary manner. This is where the "Change of Course" funding initiative comes in. The Volkswagen Foundation would like to provide an incentive to broaden one’s own expertise across disciplines and to acquire as a team a pole position for interdisciplinary challenges. The choice of the topic which motivates the interdisiciplinary qualification is free within the addressed scientific field. There is also a free choice of the path leading to newly acquired knowledge and skills from a complementary field.

Scope of Funding

The target group for this initiative consists of group leaders and professors in Germany from science, engineering, and the life sciences, who want to pursue a comprehensive concept for an in-depth qualification beyond their own field together with a small team. As a life scientist, you have the opportunity to make a digression into a mathematical, science, or technical discipline. Vice versa, representatives of the so-called 'hard' disciplines can gain experience and inspiration by immersing themselves in the life sciences. 

In a proposal (5-6 pages) it is sufficient to present a concept for the in-depth acquisition of competencies in a complementary field, to justify the targeted topic and the added value of an interdisciplinary approach as well as to describe the role of involved partner institutes in Germany and abroad. In order to establish contacts to a distant discipline and to jointly specify an inherently interdisciplinary topic, planning grants are available.

Further information on the funding initiative can be found under Information for Applicants 117


The funding initiative ‘Change of Course’ was launched in June 2018 by the Board of Trustees.

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Visit our Grants Database and take a look at projects already supported with this funding offer.