Funding Special Programs

Special Programs

The Foundation supports a number of special programs, the list of which can be found below. Applications must be submitted to the respective institution.

  • Thyssen Lectures
    Thyssen Lectures

    The ‘Thyssen Lectures’ are a continuation of a tradition that the Fritz Thyssen Foundation initiated in 1979, first at various institutions throughout Germany, and then at several universities in Czechia, Israel, the Russian Federation, Turkey, and most recently in Greece.

    The series in Great Britain will be held over a period of four years. Spearheaded by Professor Christina von Hodenberg, Director of the German Historical Institute London, it will be dedicated to the overarching theme of ‘Science, Knowledge, and the Legacy of Empire’. Distinguished international scholars are invited to give two lectures each year, in May and October. Initially held at Bloomsbury Square, the head office of the German Historical Institute London, each lecture is then delivered again at a British university outside Greater London.

    One of the aims of this series is to embed the GHIL’s work more firmly within the network of its academic partners in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, and to contribute to expanding the Institute’s position as a centre for international exchange in historical research and related disciplines.

    The imperial and colonial contexts in which modern science and scholarship came of age haunt us to this day. Be it the origins of museum collections, the Eurocentrism of history textbooks and academic curricula, or the lack of minority ethnic university staff – the shadows of an imperial past loom large. This lecture series will engage with the field of ‘science and empire’ and the analytical category of ‘colonial knowledge’. Postcolonial studies has long identified ‘colonial knowledge’ as a hegemonic tool of empire-building. Drawing on this conceptual frame, but also questioning it, the organizers of the series see the production and circulation of knowledge in colonial settings as an unsettled and fractious process that challenged and destabilized colonial state power as often as it supported it. They are interested in examining the relationship between localized sites of knowledge production and wider, inter-imperial, and potentially global networks of circulation. They ask how such forms of circulation affected the nature of knowledge thus produced, and the power relationships that have long informed our understanding of colonial knowledge and structures of domination and subordination. Most importantly, they are keen to explore the afterlife of colonial knowledge and imperial science in recent, twenty-first century history in Britain, Germany, and beyond. How do imperial legacies shape present-day academia and knowledge production? How are the colonial past, and obligations arising from it, debated today? How do these figure in memory cultures, and what role do they play in political relations within Europe, and in Europe’s relations with the non-European world?

    The series was kicked off by Sumathi Ramaswamy, James B. Duke Professor of History, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, who spoke in London and Cardiff on the topic of “Imagining India in the Empire of Science” in October 2022. The second lecture, which took place in London and Manchester, was held by global historian Sebastian Conrad, who teaches at the Free University of Berlin. His topic: “Colonial Times, Global Times: Historiography and the Imperial Shaping of the World”.

    In October 2023, Frederick Cooper (New York) delivered a lecture in London and Glasgow entitled “Understanding Power Relations in a Colonial Context: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, In-Between”.

    Additional information:


  • Reimar Lüst Award
    Reimar Lüst Award

    For a long time, there was no internationally perceived and recognized funding in Germany for researchers in the humanities, social sciences, law and social sciences who are highly respected and important “multipliers” in bilateral scientific and/or cultural cooperation between Germany and their home countries.

    These researchers are often extremely important cooperation partners for German science, but their scientific work – usually due to its “bilateral” orientation – is only received to a limited extent in the scientific landscape outside Germany. The “Reimar Lüst Award for International Scholarly and Cultural Exchange”, established by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, is intended to recognize selected scientists who have acted as “multipliers” in this way. The prize is awarded annually to up to two highly respected scholars in the humanities. The prizes are each endowed with €60,000.

    The award is named after the former president of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, who died in 2020, and former member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.

    Award winners:


    Sophia Labadi (Great Britain)
    Christian Dustmann (Great Britain)


    Hélène Miard-Delacroix (France)
    Patrick Haggard (Great Britain)


    Sonja Mejcher-Atassi (Lebanon)
    Lilia Moritz Schwarcz (Brazil)


    Robert Gerwarth (Ireland)
    Sung-Soo Kim (South Korea )


    Toshiyuki Kono (Japan)
    Hannah Ginsborg (USA)


    Ulinka Rublack (Great Britain)
    Mara R. Wade (USA)


    Mary Lindemann (USA)
    Sheila Jasanoff (USA)


    W. Daniel Wilson (Great Britain)
    Raanan Rein (Israel)


    Rüdiger Görner (Great Britain)
    Jacob Kehinde Olupona (USA)


    M. Olivier Beaud (France)
    Myles W. Jackson (USA)


    Vladimir Salac (Czech Republic)
    Keiichi Yamanaka (Japan)


    Moawiyah M. Ibrahim (Jordan)


    Daniel W. Bromley (USA)
    John J. Kanet (USA)


    Elinor Ostrom (USA)
    Roland Recht (France)


    David Simo (Cameroon)
    Jean-Claude Schmitt (France)


    Kenneth W. Dam (USA)
    Koresuke Yamauchi (Japan)

    More information:

  • Research grant at the Historisches Kolleg, Munich
    Research grant at the Historisches Kolleg, Munich

    The Fritz Thyssen Foundation is also supporting the work of the “Historisches Kolleg München” in academic years 2023/2024, 2024/2025, 2025/2026 and 2026/2027 with one research fellowship each year.

    Created in  Munich in 1980, the Historisches Kolleg is based on the model of an “institute for advanced study”, supporting prominent historians from Germany and abroad in research and teaching by allowing them to go on a sabbatical for research purposes.

    Appointments to the Kolleg, which take place in response to applications, provide scholars the opportunity to concentrate completely on a major work (“opus magnum”) free from teaching obligations in the unique atmosphere of Kaulbach Villa, located between the Bavarian State Library and the English Garden. Just like appointments to the University of Princeton or the Collège de France in Paris, these appointments are considered to be a commendation. In the selection made by the Curatorium at the Historisches Kolleg, the emphasis is especially on supporting individual researchers and not a particular topic.

    Additional information and application:

  • "Residency Program" for American historians
    “Residency Program” for American historians

    The Fritz Thyssen Foundation supports a “residency program for American historians” at Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen.

    The initiative to establish a “residency program” for American historians at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen goes back to the Organization of American Historians (OAH), one of the biggest associations of historians at universities in the USA. The OAH has had a very successful partnership program with the University of Kobe in Japan for some time and is now interested in expanding its networking of members in Europe. The aim is to strengthen interest in American history at European universities. One American historian (a professor at a college or university) per year is to come to Tübingen for five weeks in order to offer a lecture in block form. For students in Tübingen, this constitutes a valuable addition to seminars on non-European history.

    Additional information:

  • Pre-Dissertation Fellowships in German and European History
    Pre-Dissertation Fellowships in German and European History

    The Foundation supports “Pre-Dissertation Fellowships for Doctoral Students in German and European History at a University on the West Coast of the USA”. Professor Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, Department of History, University of California, Berkeley, USA, and Prof. Simone Lässig, German Historical Institute Washington, USA, are responsible for the programme.

    Since the first travel grants were offered in 2019, 15 doctoral students from six universities on the West Coast of North America (University of California, Berkeley; University of Southern California; Stanford University; University of Oregon, Eugene; University of California, Santa Barbara and University of British Columbia, Vancouver) have been provided the opportunity to conduct in-depth preliminary research in German archives and libraries for four to six weeks.

    In addition to the large state and Länder archives and university libraries in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, scholars also make use of smaller archives, e.g. the municipal archives of Augsburg, Regensburg and Goslar; the Jewish Museum Berlin; the Ravensbrück Memorial archive; the Arolsen Archives and the Gay Museum Berlin.

    Research projects funded in 2021 cover a variety of topics and eras: Under the working title “White Roots, Redwoods”, one scholarship-holder researched the kindred spirit of American environmentalists who were seeking to protect coastal redwoods while at the same time worrying with German National Socialists about the decline of the “Nordic race”. Another doctoral student investigated the question of how Germans in the late Middle Ages reacted to the sudden appearance of the Romani. On top of this, several topics relate to Holocaust research, such as a thesis on the internment camps of Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria in Hong Kong and Singapore.

    The fellowship programme not only provides important support for its participants, but also creates a new impetus in transatlantic academic exchange. The West Coast, strong as it is in research, is increasingly shifting its geographic focus towards Asia and Latin America, thereby pushing German and European history into the background – a trend that will have negative repercussions for German-American research cooperation in the long term. The fellowship programme encourages a new meshing of German and American scholarly landscapes while nurturing next-gen scholars on the Pacific Coast.

  • Chair Alfred Grosser
    Chair Alfred Grosser

    The “Chair Alfred Grosser” at University Sciences Po, Paris, has been supported for over seven years now. Professor Elissa Mailänder is in charge of the programme.

    Within the framework of the Alfred Grosser Chair, Sciences Po receives two visiting professors from German universities every year. They can be scholars from any of the humanities and social sciences, teach two courses each and can make use all the research resources available at Sciences Po. The aim is to promote exchange between German and French academics, to support young researchers and to familiarise French students with German research and teaching methods.

    Chairholders often preserve their connection to Sciences Po and/or other French scholars even after their “Grosser Year”, thus contributing to long-term scholarly Franco-German collaboration. Moritz Schularick, for example, President of Kiel Institute for the World Economy and Grosser Visiting Professor 2015/16 remained affiliated with Sciences Po after his stay, being conferred with the prestigious Leibniz Prize in 2022 for his research.

    Most recently, Paul Marx, Chair of Political Science with a concentration on political economy at the University of Bonn, and historian Esther Möller were Alfred Grosser Visiting Professors at the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris.

    Additional information and application:

  • Bielefeld Debates on Contemporary History
    Bielefeld Debates on Contemporary History

    The “Bielefeld Debates on Contemporary History” (BDZ) address key topics and controversies in contemporary history, discussing these from many different angles and expanding on them with new perspectives. Along the lines of contemporary history research with an eye on the present, they are devoted to problem contexts that have recently played a pivotal role in science, society and politics – in a national as well as transnational framework. At the nexus of research, teaching and the public, they tie in with the lively debate tradition cultivated in Bielefeld’s historical studies and are intended not only to invigorate internal academic discussions, but also to deepen the social exchange. Launched in 2020, the series established a format yet to exist in this form in the German-speaking world. The talks are to be subsequently published in the series “Vergangene Gegenwart. Debatten zur Zeitgeschichte” (“The Past in the Present: Debates on Contemporary History”).

    On 11 February 2021, in an introduction by Prof. Morina and two talks, BDZ II addressed the topic of “Anti-Semitism and Racism. Conjunctures and Controversies since 1945”. At the Bielefeld ZiF, Prof. Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Berlin) and Prof. Ulrich Herbert (Freiburg), in a first discussion moderated by Prof. Morina, put the contemporary historical debate on anti-Semitism and racism in a historical context. The second discussion between Prof. Teresa Koloma Beck (Hamburg) and Dr. Max Czollek (Berlin), moderated by Dr. Amir Theilhaber, homed in on current academic, social and political discourses surrounding anti-Semitism and racism.

    The BDZ III took place on 27 January 2023 and was dedicated to the topic of “The Future of Memory of the Nationalist-Socialist Era. History as societal self-understanding”. At the outset, Ulrike Jureit (Hamburg) and Bill Niven (Nottingham) presented their views regarding “Contemporary historical perspectives on how Germans have dealt with National Socialism since 1945”. The present and future of the public memory of National Socialism was the subject of a discussion with Natan Sznaider (Tel Aviv) and Ahmad Mansour (Berlin) moderated by Anna Strommenger.

    Additional information:


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