Programme Description

The funding initiative is directed toward researchers who want to put a bold and radically new research idea to the test. The planning may be sketchy and the outcome contingent. The scheme is meant for an exploratory phase, which is limited with respect to duration and finance, in order to demonstrate preliminary evidence for the concept’s potential. Towards the end of a grant the project's progress will be presented at the Foundation’s 'Forum Experiment!', independent of emerging progress or disappointment. The Foundation will single out the most convincing (anonymized) proposals. From this pool of applications, half of the grants will be selected by an external jury, half will be drawn in a lottery, so that it is only the quality of the idea that counts.

Target Group

individual researchers or research groups from the natural-, engineering- and life sciences, including the immediately neighbouring disciplines in the behavioural sciences. The project must be carried out entirely, or, at least for the most part in Germany.

Academic Requirements

doctorate, habilitation degree, professorship

Number of Scholarships

About 30 to 40 explorative projects are financed every year. No scholarships are provided. Application for one's own position is only possible with the written confirmation by the admitting institute regarding the employment and grant administration.


18 months, usually without the option for renewal

Scholarship Value

The grant sum is limited to EUR 120,000. The funds may be flexibly utilised for all personnel and non-personnel costs incurred.

Application Papers

You will find all relevant application forms and information on the application procedure here

Application Deadline

Please find the updated deadlines on the foundation's website; the next deadlines for application are 1 August 2018 and 1 August 2019. The deadline for 2020 has not yet been set.

Select Status, in order to submit an application

Status not on this list?If your status is not on this list, you are not eligible to apply for this particular funding opportunity. In order to see programs you are eligible for, please select your status on the results page (column on the left).