Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives on Social Inequality

This call for funding is part of a broader international funding framework entitled "Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives”, which aims to enable international research collaboration and to generate new insights on understudied issues of global relevance. The different thematic areas that are addressed through this overarching funding scheme are oriented towards those challenges that have been acknowledged by the United Nations’ sustainable development agenda as requiring specific action. "Global Issues” aims to stimulate and strengthen collaboration between researchers based in different parts of the world who usually do not join forces. 

Thematic Call: Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives on Social Inequality 

Over the last decades, inequalities – in various states and on a number of socio-economic, political as well as (socio-)cultural dimensions – have increased, despite strong economic growth rates in general. Worldwide, millions of people are still disadvantaged and excluded from, for instance, social and political participation, health care, or educational opportunities. Against the backdrop of these developments and the persistence of (in part deeply engrained) social inequalities, there have been numerous studies attempting to understand the drivers for growing disparities or to develop measures that could have an impact on equality and justice.

The funding initiative wants to enable collaboration between researchers based in high as well as low and middle income countries that problematise aspects surrounding the development and reproduction of social inequality, especially in light of one of the following aspects:

  • Institutions and Networks 
  • Resource Distribution and Inheritance 
  • Technological Change and Digitalization: Social, Political and Socio-Economic Effects
  • Socio-Ecological Processes of Inequality

The Foundations strongly encourage research that moves beyond traditional questions and approaches and significantly advances the current state of the art.

Scope of Funding

This call for funding targets mainly the social sciences, but by no means excludes the involvement of other disciplines. Funding will be provided for small, but strongly interacting research consortia of up to five partners. Besides one partner working at an institution in a European High Income Country (preferably in one of the countries where one of the cooperating Foundations is located), the involvement of two partners currently based in Low and Middle Income Countries is generally required. Purely European partnerships are excluded from this call. Funding will be provided for up to four years and covers all direct project-related costs. Project consortia may apply for a maximum amount of EUR 1.5 million.


The funding initiative "Global Issues" was established in 2017 with the aim of promoting research focussing on the changes impacting society at the beginning of the 21st century (as framed by the SDGs). This is the first thematic call and a joint funding initiative of Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy), Novo Nordisk Fonden (Denmark), Riksbankens Jubileumsfond Sweden), and the Volkswagen Foundation (Germany). Further calls on other thematic areas – addressing a variety of disciplines – will follow.

Application date
Up to 4 years
Social sciences