Excellence Strategy

Exploration Funds

Exploration Funds are provided for the identification and elaboration of new fields of research and are primarily aimed at disciplines within the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Tübingen. The focus should be on research questions / objectives that have the potential to significantly shape current or foreseeable social debates. Possible thematic collaboration with other disciplines and research areas of the University (interdisciplinarity) are welcome.

Application deadline
19 July 2022

Call for Proposals 2022

In view of current global events and changes, the question of the long-term political, ecological and economic consequences of human actions is more pressing than ever. For the 2022 call, the focus will therefore be on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Projects that deal with one or more of these SDGs and focus on a relevant and innovative topic can apply. The project should focus on current research trends in the participating disciplines.


  • Innovative research project within the thematic scope of the 2022 call
  • Demonstrated previous work of the applicant(s)
  • Interdisciplinary research approach, at least within the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Proven expertise on the proposed topic must be located in Tübingen
  • An institutional connection is expected
  • The goal should be the continuation of the research topic presented in the proposal through subsequent third-party funding (CRC, research unit, etc.).

Scope of funding

  • Start-up funding for a project up to a maximum duration of 3 years, in the form of:
    • Personnel (1 postdoc position, student assistants)
    • Running costs (e.g. for workshops, retreats, seminar series etc.)
  • The actual amount of funding depends on the needs as presented and justified in the proposal
  • Doctoral positions cannot be funded within the framework of the Exploration Funds


Requirements and Structure

10-12 pages total (excluding bibliography) in German or English (Arial, 11 pt., 1.5 lines), comprising:

  • Cover sheet:
    • Applicant(s) (including the name of the main contact person)
    • Requested funding period (earliest possible start: end of 2022)
    • Total amount requested
    • Abstract (max. 100 words)
  • Research field and research questions as well as theoretical and methodological orientation
  • Description of the project schedule (half-yearly milestones as well as concrete measures)
  • Detailed budget in table format
  • Justification for the requested budget
  • Has the same or a similar project previously been submitted for third-party funding? 
  • Attachment:
    • Short CV (max. 1 page) of the applicants
    • List of publications (at least 5 relevant publications)
    • Bibliography (sources cited in the application; does not count into the 10-12 pages in total)

The proposal should answer the following questions

(also decision criteria)

  1. What is the added value of the project and a possible follow-up project for the Humanities and Social Sciences profile of the University of Tübingen?
  2. What is the relevance and topicality of the project for society as a whole, also with regard to the SDGs?
  3. In which way does the project relate to current scientific debates and to what extent does it match the main topic of this year’s call for proposals?
  4. Explain the applicant’s suitability to successfully implement the project (e.g. through preliminary work, publications, etc.) and to develop it into a (larger) third-party funded project application (e.g. consortium project)?
  5. Networking potential: which structures are already in place, which are planned (within the University, nationally, internationally)?
  6. How should the medium- and long-term perspective of the project be secured? Which applications for (third-party) funding are specifically planned? Justify the potential of your project for third-party funding.

 The application must be submitted in one PDF. Incomplete applications cannot be approved for review.

Application & review process


Applications must be submitted via the University’s Online Application Tool (Submission possible from mid-June).


First, the project proposals are checked for completeness and formal criteria by the Excellence Strategy team. All applications that meet the formal requirements will be reviewed by external experts/ peer researchers. Based on these reviews, the Advisory Board for the Humanities will make the final decision on funding.


Application deadline

19 July 2022

Project start

from end of 2022

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

17 goals of the United Nations Agenda 2030: