Lichtenberg Endowed Professorships

In brief

The Lichtenberg Endowed Professorship gives outstandingly qualified researchers the opportunity to pursue highly innovative developments in contemporary areas of research at a university in Germany. They can define forward-looking and even high-risk subjects, which should also be followed up in an interdisciplinary way if possible, and implement new teaching strategies.

Who can apply?

Applications can be submitted by outstanding researchers

  • at the level of an associate (W2) or full (W3) professor
  • in innovative fields of research
  • in all disciplines and
  • of all nationalities

The programme is especially aimed at returning German researchers or applicants from outside Germany.

Further requirements

A major criterion for the award of the Endowed Professorship is the conceptual and structural strategy of the university at which the professorship is to be based. The Endowed Professorship must be established at a German university.

Type and extent of funding

Funding: each professorship will be endowed with capital of at least 5 million euros. The Volkswagen Foundation and, if applicable, one of the foundations affiliated to the Stifterverband will each provide starting capital of 1 million euros per professorship. An additional 3 million euros must be raised by the German university. The professorship at least must be financed by income earned from the capital.


The amount is paid at one time. Support stretches over 5 years. The professorship is permanent.


You can apply at any time. An application must be submitted jointly with the university.

Funding initiatives by the Volkswagen Foundation

The Volkswagen Foundation is dedicated to the support of the humanities and social sciences as well as science and technology in higher education and research. Find information about the foundation's funding initiatives here.