Life? – A new view of science on the basic principles of life

The multicellular green alga Volvox aureus (Photo: Subject: Natural and Life Sciences

Funding Type: Research Projects
up to 1.5 million euros
Max. 5 years
Scientists of all career levels after graduation; Individual and cooperation projects (up to 5 partners), possibly with international participation
Outstanding projects in the border area between natural and life sciences with questions on the basic principles of life
Additional services: promotion of science education and communication; Additional funding for refugees who have fled; Training

Deadline: will be announced in spring 2019

The multicellular green alga Volvox aureus (Photo:

Goal of the initiative

“What is life?” – this fundamental question has been posed by humanity for centuries. Recently, research fields have developed especially at the border between natural and life sciences, which can contribute completely new insights to this question. For example, in the fields of biophysics, synthetic biology or systemic chemistry, artificial systems are being developed and investigated that can no longer be clearly classified as living or non-living. Furthermore, biological cells can now be meticulously mapped and analyzed using state-of-the-art techniques. Increasingly efficient, researchers succeed in mimicking and better understanding the processes of living in artificial systems, or in developing novel artificial systems according to the basic principles of life.

What these approaches have in common is that they seek to better understand the fundamental principles of life and thereby open up new perspectives in addition to philosophical statements about life. With the funding initiative, the foundation presents an offer for science to promote scientifically exciting and potentially innovative projects in this context at the interface between natural and life sciences.

support program

With the funding offer, the foundation addresses individual researchers of all career stages after graduation as well as (international) research collaborations whose projects promise new insights into the basic principles of life.

In order to adequately support scientists with this ambitious aspiration, the foundation offers long-term support of up to five years. For each project, a financial framework of a maximum of EUR 1.5 million is available. It is planned to promote up to 10 projects per tendering round.

Further information on the conditions of the tender and the application can be found under Information on the application (pdf) . Applications will be submitted in electronic form and in English via the application portal.

Visit the official link 

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