Funding Types of Support ThyssenLesezeit


As a result of the digital revolution, the amount of pertinent information is multiplying at an exponential rate and can scarcely be managed even by well-organised scholars. On the other hand, ever less time is available at German universities to obtain a detailed overview of the information available. Thus, there is often no time to carefully read through that which scholars would like to read and/or simply what they need to read. Accordingly, instead of “close reading”, scholars are now expected to perform “distant reading”, in which they sift through large quantities of manuscripts using digital information-processing techniques instead of actually reading the literature.

To counteract this phenomenon of dwindling time, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation is seeking to provide scholars in the humanities and social sciences time to engage in thorough reading, the “ThyssenLesezeit”. The aim is to provide support over a six-month period of time based on a no-gain, no-loss funding model to members of the administration at German schools of higher learning who have particularly little time due to their workload (such as rectors/presidents, vice-presidents/prorectors, deans and heads of excellence clusters) in order to enable them to resume their own research activities quickly once they have completed their administrative stints. During this reading time, scholars are to be placed on leave from their university-related obligations for one semester in order to be able to review the literature in their respective subject areas. Secondly, the programme also seeks to promote younger junior scholars who are to assume the professorship as substitutes for six months. Applications will only be accepted in this “tandem” form.

The grant is awarded by a jury headed by Professor Christoph Markschies, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, and made up of Professors Jens Beckert, Julika Griem, Christoph Möllers and Peter Strohschneider.

Application for ThyssenLesezeit
  • Basic information and requirements
    • Applications can only be filed by scholars from a school of higher learning or a non-profit research institution.
    • Applications that have already been rejected by the foundation are generally not eligible for review.

    The Fritz Thyssen Foundation requires that the following be submitted in the application

    • the application form;
    • a brief description of the administrative post that has been completed and its period of time;
    • a maximum two-page self-description of the applicant’s scientific profile;
    • an informative reading list of titles;
    • a brief curriculum vitae of the applicant with a select list of his or her five most important publications;
    • a proposal of a junior scholar to act as a substitute, also with a brief curriculum vitae and a list of his or her five most important publications;
    • a cost schedule for the junior scholar assuming the professorship as a substitute and
    • a consent from the scholarly institutions affected by the grant.
  • Application deadlines

    The next submission deadline is expected to be announced in early March 2021.

  • Notice of grant, payment and accounting

    The conditions governing the grant are stated in the letter announcing the grant to the candidates. In accepting the grant, the candidates commit themselves to carrying out the conditions of the grant.

    The funds are to be administered by the relevant university or institute, and are disbursed upon the written request – signed in the original – of the grant holder or the office administrating third-party funds (please state file numbers, accounts for third-party funds, bank information, internal accounting numbers); if possible in quarterly to half-year instalments. This letter can be sent to the foundation by fax or as a pdf file attached to an e-mail.

    The foundation requires a detailed report or a literature report on individual titles stated in the application no later than by the beginning of the semester following the period of support.

    At the end of the period of support, the grant holder must submit to the foundation accounts showing how the funds have been used – signed in the original – without undue delay. Any funds not used must generally be returned after review of the accounts showing how the funds have been used and request for such by the foundation.
    The account statement along with the accounts showing how the funds have been used must be backed up with verifiable receipts and documents. These should be kept, but not sent to the foundation unless so requested.

    The foundation expects that the results of the scholarly work will be made available for the use of other scholars through publications – it requests two offprints or specimen copies – and that it will contain a note that support was provided by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. The logo of the foundation can be downloaded from the website for this purpose. The foundation does not assume any obligation with the approval of project resources, however, to provide funding to prepare and print publications. It is up to the recipient of support to file an application for a printing subsidy if such is needed.