Social Inequality as a Global Challenge

Finite resources, social inequality, climate change, terrorism – the world is facing significant challenges. The UN's "Sustainable Development Goals" are a contribution towards overcoming these threats. The Volkswagen Foundation, together with partner foundations in Europe, wants to underscore the role played by the sciences in reaching the SDG targets by offering a new funding scheme. Initially, support is given to international research projects on social inequality. Cooperative teams can be funded with up to 1.5 million Euro; deadline for applications is October 30, 2018.

Social inequality is the first of a total of four topics that will be addressed by the new funding initiative "Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives." Despite the generally positive economic growth of recent decades, empirical analysis of specific socio-economic and socio-cultural dimensions confirms that inequality has increased – both on national as well as international levels: Millions of people worldwide continue to be excluded from education, health care, and social participation.

The Volkswagen Foundation’s call launched in cooperation with Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Sweden, Novo Nordisk Fonden, Denmark, and Compagnia di San Paolo, Italy, focuses on topics that hold the promise of innovative knowledge gains in inequality research. Proposals should, therefore, concentrate on transfer processes or the stability of social inequality, preferably against the background of one of the following aspects: institutions and networks, resource distribution and heritage, technological change and digitalization, or socio-ecological processes of inequality. Projects involving the cooperation of three to five partners, in particular from the social sciences, can apply for up to 1.5 million Euro, with a term of four years each.

In the framework of the initiative "Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives," all topics are to be analyzed under a significantly expanded perspective. Therefore, the extensive involvement of researchers from Africa, Asia, or Latin America is a crucial requirement for funding. The new funding offer aims to develop an explicitly global perspective and, at the same time, to strengthen non-European participants in their role as research partners.

Specifically, this means supporting project consortia with one partner based in a European high-income country (preferably in one of the countries where one of the cooperating Foundations is located) working together with two or three partners from middle and low(est) income countries in symmetrical partnership. These constellations serve the desired integration of different perspectives: It is about gaining more comprehensive access to problems, perceptions, or options for action, bringing together different (regional) aspects and knowledge carriers – and in turn gaining a new perspective on seemingly familiar things.

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Courtesy of Volkswagen Stiftung website;–-call-for-cooperation-projects-with-extended-perspectives