Call for Application: Change of course – New research area between the life sciences and natural sciences or technical sciences

Motorway junction from aboveSubject: Natural Sciences, Engineering and Life Sciences

Type of funding: Concepts for the interdisciplinary qualification of a working group
Qualification concepts as needed; optional preparation means max. 120,000 euros
3 to 4 years; optional preparation phase: 9 to 18 months
outstandingly qualified group leaders and professors; international partners possible.
Life science teams who want to acquire in-depth knowledge and skills in engineering, science, mathematics and computer science and vice versa
Additional Services: Promotion of Science Education and Communication


Many current research questions in the intersection of life sciences on the one hand and mathematics, computer science, natural and technical sciences on the other can only be solved interdisciplinary. This is where the funding initiative “Course Change” comes in, with which the Volkswagen Foundation would like to provide an incentive to broaden its own expertise across disciplines and position itself optimally as a team for interdisciplinary challenges. The choice of the topic to which the further qualification aims is free within the addressed subjects. The path is also freely selectable, with which the team would like to acquire knowledge and skills from a complementary field.

support program

The offer is aimed at group leaders and professors from the natural, engineering and life sciences, who want to pursue a comprehensive concept for in-depth qualification beyond their own subject with a small team. As a life scientist, you have the opportunity to make a digression into a mathematical-scientific-technical discipline (including computer science). Conversely, representatives of the so-called “hard” subjects can gain experience and inspiration by immersing themselves in the life sciences.

As a proposal (5 to 6 pages), it is sufficient to present the concept for the in-depth acquisition of competencies in a complementary subject area, to justify the avowed topic and the interdisciplinary added value as well as to describe the role of involved partner institutes at home and abroad. To establish contacts in a far-reaching discipline and to jointly specify an inherently interdisciplinary topic, preparatory planning grants can be requested in advance.

Further information on the funding initiative and the application can be found under Information on application 117 . Applications can be submitted in electronic form via the application portal.

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