Between Europe and the Orient – A Focus on Research
and Higher Education in/on Central Asia and the
Deadlines for the submission of
applications will be posted on
the Foundation‘ s web page.
Applications concerning the
humanities and social sciences:
Dr. Wolfgang Levermann
Phone: +49 511-8381-212
Fax: +49 511-8381-344
Applications concerning natural
and engineering sciences ,
Dr. Matthias Nöllenburg
Phone: +49 511-8381-290
Fax: +49 511-8381-344
By this funding initiative the Volkswagen Foundation aims to strengthen research
on current developments in Central Asia and the Caucasus and – especially
by promoting young researchers – to provide a sustainable contribution
towards capacity building in the countries of the region.
The target region encompasses the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia,
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan that became
independent following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In addition to these, the
funding initiative also includes Afghanistan and the bordering regions of China
(Xinjiang) and the Russian Federation (Tartarstan, Bashkortostan, and the
North Caucasus). Projects involving other countries bordering the target region
(Turkey, Iran i.a.) may be eligible for funding, provided they address manifold
relationships to the region or incorporate these countries under comparative
The funding initiative addresses the humanities and the social sciences as well
as the engineering and natural sciences (including theoretical medicine).
2. Structure and Scope of Funding
The funding initiative was started in the year 2000. During the first years, the
focus was on stimulating German academic interest in the region as well as
building up and expanding research and teaching capacity in German institutions.
This gradually gave way to capacity development and cooperation based
on partnership with researchers in the target countries. Through the new orientation
of the funding initiative introduced in 2012, the Foundation intends to
consolidate the progress made and to lend international cooperation a new
quality by jointly developing calls for proposals in specific thematic areas. On
the one hand, it aims to involve researchers in Central Asia and the Caucasus
more deeply in identifying relevant topics and formulating the research agenda.
On the other hand, it intends to reinforce intraregional cooperation by means of promoting closer networking
between the various projects.
The calls are to be prepared in thematic workshops which will be planned by
the foundation in close cooperation with scientists and scholars. These workshops
will serve as the basis for a bottom-up approach to identifying current
research issues. They will explore and further develop possibilities for cooperation
between researchers in Germany, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. Participation
is by invitation only.
The results obtained from the workshops will serve as the basis for the formulation
of the subsequent calls. Proposals may be submitted by the participants
of the workshops as well as other persons not previously involved in the preparation
procedure. The Foundation expects cooperative research projects involving
substantial input from researchers in the target region, as well as training
of young researchers. Joint projects with partners from neighboring states
and – in well justified exceptions – even from other countries may also be considered
eligible for funding. Initially, as part of a two-step procedure, only outline
proposals should be submitted. Following peer review by external experts,
selected projects will be invited to submit full proposals to the Foundation.
Currently, two thematic workshops are in preparation with resulting calls.
1) “Environment, Energy, Resources” (working title) for a call in 2012/13
2) “State, Economy, Law” (working title) for a call in 2013/14
Details on the respective workshop programs and calls for proposals will be
published on the Foundation’s website in due time. The scope of funding
within the context of the calls is described in the respective Information for
Structurally Oriented Measures
The Foundation remains open for ideas and projects beyond the planned thematic
areas. It will therefore also provide support for a number of additional
measures which may be applied for irrespective of the deadlines for thematic
calls. These possibilities include:
Training and qualification measures for young researchers: Within this
context, funding may be provided for special programs dedicated to the training
and further education of young researchers, like, for example, summer
schools and smaller scholarship groups that offer young researchers from
countries in the target region – both in the areas of the natural and engineering
sciences as well as the humanities and social sciences – the opportunity to
carry out PhD projects in close cooperation with researchers from Germany.
Funding can be made available for: Personnel and travelling expenses,
as well as other running costs and costs of equipment and literature, as a
rule over a three year period; researchers from the target region may be
directly involved in project work by means of scholarships or salary supplements.
Projects aimed at the re-integration of returning researchers: This funding
offer is aimed at highly qualified young researchers from Central Asia and the
Caucasus who have received an education abroad and now seek to join an
academic institution in their home country. The material support offered by the
Foundation is to enable them to make use of the knowledge and skills they
acquired in innovative projects in the fields of research or academic teaching.
Funding can be made available for: “Topping up” their salary, costs of
travel and infrastructure (equipment, literature), as well as the funding of
research associates, doctoral students or support staff (to possibly include
the creation of junior research groups). The funding period should
initially not exceed three years; under suitable circumstances, it is possible
to extend funding for a further three years.
Specific support for the creation and expansion of academic infrastructure
in the region: Within this context, the Foundation may provide funding for
projects that support exemplary infrastructure contributions important for the
reform process. The Foundation expects that the preparation and execution of
such projects is carried out in close cooperation with German researchers and
that the groundwork is laid for sustainable cooperation beyond the funding period.
The Foundation cannot support teaching projects aimed at the compilation
of teaching materials, the development of curricula, or the introduction of
new study programs.
Funding can be made available for: Pilot projects, which may be developed
step by step. Applicants are strongly recommended first to submit
an exposé ahead of their full proposal.
Either independent of or in connection with one of the described projects:
Workshops, symposia, and summer schools with up to 60 participants. As
a rule, these are to be carried out the target region.
Funding can be made available for: Travel costs for the participants
and other costs involved with the organization of the event, e.g. interpreter
Within the frame of the described projects the Volkswagen Foundation may also
provide funding for measures aimed at the improvement of soft skills (project
management, language training, scientific writing etc.). Furthermore, funding
may also be made available for various forms of public relations activities.
In this respect, depending on the specific circumstances and aims pursued,
the Foundation is encouraging new ways of communicating science that are
sustainable and oriented at target groups. It is also possible to apply for the
Please, use the Foundation’s
electronic application system on
Please, remember to print the
cover sheet provided, sign it and
send it to us. Instructions on the
electronic application system
are provided online.
funding of such measures in connection with projects that are already running.
Applicants should first make contact with the Foundation Office.
3. How to Apply and Checklist
For theoretical medicine as well as the natural and engineering sciences, applications
must be submitted in English. Applications from Germany from the
humanities and social sciences may also be submitted in German.
Outlines and applications must be submitted via the electronic application system
of the Volkswagen Foundation portal.volkswagenstiftung.de. The Foundation
expects that applications be submitted jointly by all responsible cooperation
partners. In case a proposal is approved, the academic institution of the
German main applicant will be the recipient of the grant.
The Volkswagen Foundation can award grants to academic institutions only.
Applicants outside of universities and well-known research institutions are
asked to provide details on the legal status, statutes, trustees and boards,
charitable/non-profit status, budgeting and auditing of the institution to be
funded. An annual report of the applying institution should also be included.
The Foundation is unable to process applications that have been submitted in
identical or similar form to another funding body. The Foundation also does not
pay for obligations which have been entered into prior to the receipt of the
Please make sure that your application includes the following documents
(to be added as pdf-files):
• Cover letter
• Summary in German and English(max. 1 page)
• Project description (max. 20 pages): rationale and objective, state
of the art including hypotheses, methods, own preliminary results,
• Time and work schedule (for cooperation projects, also include details
of how the work is to be shared between the research groups
• Budget in Euros for all participating institutions, divided into personnel
and travel expenses, recurring non-personnel costs (e.g.
consumables), and non-recurrent expenses (e.g. literature, equipment)
• CV, list of relevant publications
• Statements of foreign partner institutions
Applications for funding of scholarly meetings (symposia and summer
schools) should also include
• the scientific program of the event, including time schedule
• the (tentative) list of participants and speakers including registrations
approved (at least of those giving presentations) and details on how
participants are selected
4. Electronic Application – Instruction and Tips
Please note that only registered users of the electronic application system
have access to application data and are able to submit applications and receive
corresponding e-mail messages. Hence, it is required for all applicants
with project responsibility to register himself/herself or to ask a co-worker to
register in his/her name with the proper e-mail address.
Please follow the five steps to compile and submit your application:
• If you are a new user please register on the application portal with
your name, your e-mail address and your own password. When registering
you will be asked about your work address details. Subsequently,
you must activate your account using the link sent by email.
If you already have a user account you can immediately login
using your e-mail address and password.
• The function new application starts the selection of the corresponding
funding initiative (here: Between Europe and the Orient – A
Focus on Research and Higher Education in/on Central Asia and the
Caucasus), the application type, the grant receiving institution, and
• Now – and later on – you can interrupt the completion of your application
at any time. You can logout and login again as often as required.
• Please check whether the pre-filled data on the applicant are correct.
Furthermore, we need application data (e. g. project title, duration)
and the budget. The budget shall be uploaded as pdf-file under the
heading “Other Enclosures”. You are asked to enter all information in
the respective forms. Please note that the save button does not
transfer any data to the Foundation. You are able to revise all data
until the submission of your application. Please keep in mind to read
and accept the legal statement. If you wish you can generate a PDF
of the filled-in forms for verification and for your filing.
• Under enclosures you are able to upload files as required according
to the checklist on the preceding page in the „Information for Applicants“.
Only PDF files are accepted. Before submission all files can
be exchanged for new versions.
Once your application is complete you can submit it electronically to the
Foundation. Additionally, a PDF generation of a cover sheet for print-out is
required. Add your signature and send it by postal mail.
In the course of processing your application the Foundation might request
additional information. The function new supplement is used to upload and
submit the respective files.