The Greying Continent: New VolkswagenStiftung Programme Supports Research on Demographic Shift in Europe

VolkswagenStiftung relaunches ‘Challenges for Europe‘ programme with a new focus on aging societies in Europe to support collaborative research projects and cross-border summer schools.

In 2017, VolkswagenStiftung (Volkswagen Foundation) established the initiative ‘Challenges for Europe’ which brought together international research consortia in the humanities, cultural and social sciences from across Europe to investigate pressing and long-term developments in Europe. The programme has now been redesigned under the headline ‘Challenges and Potentials for Europe: The Greying Continent’.

The programme offers funding in two funding lines:

International Cooperation Projects on Ageing Europe

Funding is provided for large collaborative projects bringing together up to five principal investigators (PIs) from at least three different European countries.

The thematic focus of this funding line is on the broad field of challenges and potential of ageing for and in Europe, especially its transformative power on societies. Proposals are invited for projects on life course research, focusing either on Europe as a geographical region or on the European Union as a transnational entity. The theoretical and methodological analysis of best practice examples as well as the development for future oriented scenarios are also possible.

Summer Schools addressing ‘Challenges for Europe’

Funding is also available for summer schools that bring together junior researchers from at least three different European countries. The summer schools should be dedicated to share new insights and knowledge on the broad field of ‘Challenges for Europe’.

Projects in both funding lines must bring together partners from at least three different countries in Europe. The inclusion of research institutions from Southern and Eastern Europe is particularly encouraged.

Scholars at all career levels in the humanities, cultural and social sciences who have obtained a doctorate and who are working at European universities and research institutes are eligible to apply. The main applicant must be affiliated with a German university or research institution.

Funding for collaborative research projects is provided for a period of up to four years. For consortia of three PIs, up to €1 million may be provided. The maximum funding amount increases to €1,5 million for consortia of five PIs.

The maximum funding amount per summer school is €80,000.

Applicants interested in collaborative research projects are initially asked to hand in a short pre-proposal outlining the research project. After an internal review, shortlisted project consortia will then be invited to submit their full proposal and to present their proposals in person at an interview with the review panel.

The deadline for the submission of pre-proposals is 23 July 2021 (12:00 CEST).

Applications for summer schools are reviewed on a triannual basis. They must reach VolkswagenStiftung at least six months prior to the event date.