Thirteen exceptional researchers receive Freigeist Fellowships

Around 17 million euros for unusual, high-risk research projects: Thirteen scientists were able to convince in the assessment process and receive a Freigeist Fellowship, which offers them maximum freedom for their research.

By the deadline in April 2021, around 170 researchers had submitted their project ideas. Thirteen of them will now receive a fellowship following a decision by the Foundation's Board of Trustees: With a maximum term of eight years and possible total funding of up to 2.2 million euros, it offers excellent career prospects for scientists at an early stage in their careers.

These are the thirteen Freigeist Fellows and their research projects:

Das Freigeist-Fellowship der VolkswagenStiftung wird an Forschungspersönlichkeiten mit ungewöhnlichen Ideen vergeben. (Grafik: VolkswagenStiftung)

The Freigeist Fellowships are aimed at researchers from all disciplines in the first four years after their doctorate. In order to be able to become a Freigeist Fellow, the research personalities not only have to have outstanding technical expertise, but also look beyond the borders of their own discipline and combine critical analytical skills with new perspectives and problem-solving approaches.

80 creative minds funded

In the eight years since the initiative started in 2014, the foundation has funded 80 creative minds as Freigeist Fellows with around 86 million euros - and was thus able to provide effective impetus for new, innovative fields of research. With these final approvals, the foundation is now ending the program – in order to develop new funding initiatives for individual funding after the realignment of its funding strategy.

Unsere Freigeist-Fellows

You can find more information on the Freigeist Fellows who have been funded so far in the overview of the current Freigeist Fellows.