How is originality possible

Suspicion of originality? New options for the humanities and cultural studies

Goal of the initiative

"Originality" is one of the central quality criteria in the humanities and cultural studies. But it is precisely in these disciplines, with their specific research subjects, that the question of what "original", "new" or "innovative" means is difficult to determine. What contradicts established specialist knowledge and generally accepted intuitions may just as much be part of it as the development of a new approach, a new thesis, a new theory, the observation of a new phenomenon or the identification of previous ignorance.

With this offer, the foundation would like to encourage scholars in the humanities and cultural studies to develop projects with insightful originality. An initial exploration of the research idea is funded.

In the application and selection process, the foundation is breaking new ground in three ways: The process is lean, quick and requires little effort for the applicants. In the appraisal process, it is innovative in the combination of the foundation's internal preselection and final selection by an expert jury. The anonymized review is intended to ensure that only the original research idea counts.

Funding offer

The initiative consists of two funding lines:

Funding line 1 "Come! Into the open ..."
The funding line offers the individual researcher the opportunity to explore a topic and present it in an essay (up to EUR 100,000, max. 1 year).

Funding line 2 "Constellations"
The offer is aimed at project teams with up to 4 applicants who work together on a new research idea, explore its viability in an exploration phase and publish it in a joint text (up to EUR 200,000, max. 1½ years).

Further information on the conditions of the tender and on how to apply can be found atInformation on application (pdf). Applications are submitted electronically via the application portal.


The funding initiative"Suspicion of originality?" New options for the humanities and cultural studies was established in 2014. 74 projects have been approved so far: 17 out of 387 (2015), 18 out of 213 (2017), 17 out of 174 (2018) and 22 out of 161 (2019)