Europe and Global Challenges

The funding initiative entitled "Europe and Global Challenges" was set up to provide support for research projects predominantly in the humanities and the social sciences. It is required that, beside European scholars, the project involves researchers from at least one other region of the world.


The Europe and Global Challenges initiative is looking towards the future of Europe and the challenges this continent is exposed to in an increasingly globalized world. Developed as a joint funding initiative between three European foundations, it reaches out to issues that are systematically interrelated and can only be dealt with collectively via supranational action on an international level. It is in this sense that the initiative addresses global challenges – not universal problems which might be shared globally, but can be dealt with by local actors and do not necessarily need a globally coordinated solution.

Current problems perceived as “global challenges” comprise a large spectrum of different issues and complex interrelations, from poverty, spread of infectious disease, global warming and water scarcity through to regional conflicts, migration and terrorism. Europeans share these and similar problems with the rest of the world, but they affect different parts of the world in different ways. A collective, interdisciplinary approach to these issues provides the link to address them at a global level.

To explore such questions and encourage research on “global challenges”, three European foundations: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the VolkswagenStiftung, and the Wellcome Trust are hereby launching a joint call for applications within this initiative. In order to limit the possible number of themes, this call will accept proposals related to the following global challenges:

  • Climate change
  • Global health
  • Terrorism/Radicalization
  • Migration
  • Social inequality.

We hope to receive proposals that take innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to addressing these themes. The research groups are free to define their respective research topics and specific research questions within the given themes. While the disciplinary focus within the research groups should be on the social sciences, input from other disciplines is expected where this is necessary to the research topic or questions proposed.

Scope of Funding

One of the major aims of the initiative is to stimulate strong collaboration between researchers based in Europe and other parts of the world. We are therefore looking for research groups – ideally involving not more than four different institutions – from different geographical regions (e.g. Europe and Africa, or Latin America). The majority of the project participants should be working outside European Union countries. The foundations recommend participation of at least one principal investigator from Germany, Sweden, or the UK.

Preference will be given to proposals with a strong interregional collaboration, which include contributions from various disciplines and which have the potential to break new ground. It is up to the applicants to show why and how their proposals are feasible and why this particular research formation is apppropriate for the research questions at hand.

Depending on the goals and scope of the projects, successful groups will receive between 500,000 – 900,000 Euros in total (gross amount) for up to four years of research. Funds can be provided both for non-personnel expenditure (including travel costs) as well as staff costs. The foundations envisage between eight and ten projects being funded.

The funding initiative targets mainly scholars in the humanities and the social sciences, but by no means excludes the possible involvement of other disciplines.

Review process

This is a call for pre-proposals where the applicants are asked to present a short outline of the proposed research activities. An international review panel will consider the pre-proposals and recommend a shortlist of groups who will then be asked to develop their research ideas further. The international panel of experts will review the applications using criteria which include quality, potential, and originality of the project as well as the qualifications and track record of the applicants and group members.

Shortlisted groups will be invited to present and defend their projects in person at an interview with the international review panel, after which the three foundations will make their final decisions.

Time line

  • April 2016: Call for pre-proposals
  • 1 September 2016: Deadline for pre-proposals
  • by mid-November 2016: Decisions on shortlisted pre-proposals
  • 27 January 2017: Deadline for full proposals
  • 2-3 March 2017: Interviews with shortlisted research groups (Stockholm)
  • End of March 2017: Grant decisions


The funding initiative "Europe and Global Challenges" was started in 2009 with the aim of prompting research focussing on the changes impacting society at the beginning of the 21st century and to build bridges between academia and practice. It is a joint funding initiative of the Volkswagen Foundation, Wellcome Trust (United Kingdom), and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Sweden).

Date de candidature
4 ans maximum
Sciences sociales