The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the associated respiratory disease COVID-19 are spreading at a rapid pace, dominating all areas of public and private life worldwide thereby challenging basic, clinical and translational viral research. Measures to contain the pandemic such as physical distancing, contact reduction, working from home or homeschooling are massively affecting the life of each individual. Likewise, the pandemic raises new questions regarding the sustainability and resilience of our societies. The international division of labour, global value chains, democracy and the rule of law are suddenly being put to the test while health and economic systems are being called into question worldwide. These new and unprecedented developments have both immediate and not yet fully foreseeable long-term consequences that raise new research questions and may even lead to new research fields.
Against this backdrop, the Volkswagen Foundation supports research projects from all disciplines whose findings not only contribute directly to overcoming the crisis, but can also provide impetus for overcoming major societal challenges in the medium to long term. The Foundation especially welcomes projects that – in light of the current pandemic – challenge or question established social assumptions or existing scientific paradigms. In particular, the Foundation encourages interdisciplinary approaches and the integration of a global perspective. Furthermore, transdisciplinary projects that seek exchange with representatives of practice, stakeholders and the general public (e.g. citizen science) are welcome. The use of a wide range of data, which is currently being generated and collected on a large scale, is of great relevance, as well.
Projects dealing with classical viral research or treatment of viral diseases are not part of this call's scope. Furthermore, the large-scale production of goods (e.g medical supplies like face masks, ventilators etc.) or infrastructural projects are excluded from funding.
This call is not confined to any particular subject area and invites applications from life, natural and engineering sciences as well as social sciences and the humanities. It includes two funding opportunities:
- Small Grants: Support for individual or cooperative projects to test or develop new scientific approaches, methods and/or theories.
- Additional modules within the context of currently funded research projects: This provides an option for grant recipients of projects currently funded by the Foundation – in addition to the grants already made – to extend their respective projects by an additional module addressing the above mentioned challenges.These modules need to be complementary or an add-on to the (overarching) ongoing project.
Dadline: 04.Juni 2020