Research Programme 'Culture and Foreign Policy'

In ifa’s Research Programme 'Culture and Foreign Policy', experts research on current issues of foreign cultural and educational policy. The Research Programme sets topics and develops recommendations for the strengthening and further development of international cultural relations. The research results are reflected in expert discussions, at international conferences and in public discussions and published in the series ifa Edition Culture and Foreign Policy as well as the impulse papers ifa-Inputs.


ifa operates as a competence centre and offers actors from the field of foreign cultural and educational policy unique consulting services. Previous projects have included, for example, theme years and questions on European foreign cultural policy, religions’ responsibility for peace and their role in foreign policy. ifa also counsels on foreign policy communication strategies as well as on the freedom of analogue and digital spaces in times of increasing restrictions on civil society spaces of action.

Central Topics Are:

  • Europe
  • AKBP terms of contention
  • Civil society spaces of action
  • International cultural education
  • Art and culture exchange


Those interested are welcome to apply for research assignments. All applications offered by ifa are updated regularly and can be found on the website under Jobs and Careers.

Current Projects

Gaming and Metaverses as Global Public Spheres and Arenas in System Competition - Opportunities and Risks for Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy

In this project, Manouchehr Shamsrizi and his team investigate in an interdisciplinary and transfer-oriented way the short-, medium- and long-term effects of the increasing penetration of societies with video games and (proto-)metaverses - the first fully digital, global, and transmedial cultural techniques/goods of the 21st century.

  • Manouchehr Shamsrizi


    Manouchehr Shamsrizi, M.P.P. FRSA “is among the most publicly prominent voices of Germany’s younger generation” (Washington Post) and “well positioned to assess emerging trends” (Monocle). He is Co-Founder of the at Humboldt-University’s Cluster of Excellence and Head of Humboldt-Innovation's Group for Gaming in International Relations; former Global Justice Fellow at Yale University, Ariane de Rothschild Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of the German Council on Foreign Relations. He has been an advisor to the German Federal Foreign Office since 2018.


Deconstructing climate colonial governance: The Brazilian amazon case

The project seeks to analyse the global climate governance towards the Brazilian Amazon Region through post and decolonial perspectives and to examine the German Climate Foreign Policy towards the Brazilian Amazon Region through post and decolonial perspectives.

  • Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco


    Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco is a Brazilian percussionist and consultant working across the cultural, creative and development sectors. Holding an MA in International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy from Furtwangen University, Germany, Pedro’s areas of expertise include culture and sustainable development as well as the role of creative clusters in local development and participatory governance in culture.


  • Marina Caetano


    Marina Caetano is an experienced international cooperation professional involved in projects especially within the environmental and climate agenda. She investigated the role of the German International Cooperation for Development as part of the German Chancellor Fellowship, previously worked for Instituto Talanoa and Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Marina holds a Master in Sustainable Development and a Bachelor in International Relations.


The potential of digital cultural projects using the example of selected Francophone countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Covid-19 pandemic was a development boost for international cultural relations in the digital space. In addition to the potential of greater reach, digital projects also bring challenges such as restricted access, archivability, sustainability and the choice of language. The project looks at the potential of digital cultural projects through international cooperation in selected Francophone countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It analyses which innovative formats of digital cultural projects are currently being implemented. How are cultural actors in the relevant countries accepting digital formats? What kind of cooperation is difficult to implement as a result? How could digital cultural collaborations help to break down prejudices and create a more realistic picture of each other? 

  • Tojo Yharimanana


    Tojo Yharimanana is a sociologist and international consultant in socio-economics. Her work touches on multiple fields of intervention, including employment, culture, training, local finances. She sits on the UNESCO Global Expert Facility for the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.




Subject repositories decolonial. Open access for academic documents on international cultural relations

Open Access subject repositories are mostly operated in the "Global North". Can these digital libraries do justice to the global diversity of requirements? With decolonial sensitivity and cultural humility, this project looks for systematic flaws in typical governance structures, technical infrastructures as well as collection guidelines and cataloguing standards.

  • Nora Schmidt


    Nora Schmidt, PhD, has been working for social justice in academic publishing for more than 10 years, in research and practice. Since February 2022, she has been coordinating GenderOpen, the open access subject repository for gender studies, a project of the Berlin University Alliance.




FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Can One Find Out about Current Calls for Applications?


    All grants and research assignments offered by ifa are updated regularly and can be found on the website under Jobs and Careers. All of the important information about the application process can be found in each application call.


  • Is an Application with its Own Topic Possible?


    No, unfortunately not. All grants and research assignments are tied to topics specified by ifa.


  • What Are the Requirements?


    Typically, the minimum requirement is a university education with a master’s degree. Further prerequisites can be found in the application posting on the website under Jobs and Careers.


  • What Is the Difference between a Grant and Research Assignments?


    In the framework of a grant, ifa supplies a current monthly allowance of 1,500 euros for scientific work. This funding is tax-free. The grant holder must pay for his or her own health insurance. The funding is bound to the acceptance of the grant guidelines which are agreed upon before the project is awarded. During the grant period, the grant holder may not receive additional funding or be employed.
    On the other hand, when accepting a research assignments, the research assignment recipient and ifa sign a project contract agreement. The research assignment recipient is responsible for tax treatment.


  • Can the Research Programme also Assign Commissions to Universities or only to Individuals?


    Yes, it is possible for universities and tax-privileged institutions to receive assignments.


  • Are the Projects Usually More Research-Oriented or Practice-Oriented?


    The implementation of the research is the priority. The current scientific findings should be worked out in a concise, precise and practical way for those involved in foreign cultural and educational policy.


  • What Formats Are Being Developed?


    Typically, the results of the research are published in a study, in print or on the internet. Often one of the agreed requirements is to conceive and implement an event, for example, a conference, colloquium or panel discussion.


  • In Which Language Are the Projects Carried Out?


    This depends on the focus of the project. Typically, the projects are carried out in English or German.


  • Is a Workspace Provided?


    It is generally assumed that every researcher has the necessary basic equipment such as a PC or laptop in order to work on their respective project. ifa has temporary workstations with PCs that can be used by the hour or by the day as well, for example, as part of research in the ifa Library in Stuttgart. While implementing the projects, ifa may work in part with partner institutions. If this is the case, the partner organisations usually provide a workspace during the project period. In this case, the research commission recipient must be prepared to stay, for example, in Brussels or Bonn for the duration of the project.



Anniversary Brochure

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of ifa's Research Programme 'Culture and Foreign Policy' as well as the 20th anniversary of the ifa Research Award on Foreign Cultural Policy both have compiled an anniversary brochure together for ifa's Competence Centre.

Free Download 'Anniversary Brochure Competence Centre'

Media Library

ifa & EUNIC Public Talk: Neurodiversity Inclusion, 17.11.2021

ifa & EUNIC Public Talk: Neurodiversity Inclusion

What is neuro-diversity and why does neuro-diversity inclusion in the workplace benefit everyone? While institutions and employers are currently trying to pay more attention to diversity in the workplace, so far little is known and let alone done to build neuro-diversity inclusive organisations. In an online panel discussion co-organised with ifa, EUNIC explored why building inclusive workplaces essentially benefits everyone in an organisation, and what needs to be done to make teams but also the stories that are told more diverse.

Lecture: Alexander von Humboldt's Quest for Knowledge in a World of Politics, 19.11.2020

Lecture: Alexander von Humboldt's Quest for Knowledge in a World of Politics

In her lecture, Sandra Rebok discusses Humboldt’s role between the declining Spanish empire and the rising American nation at the time of his visit to the United States in the spring of 1804. Rather than being caught between the interests of these two nations (and those of others), Humboldt created what can be called an Empire of Knowledge, an elaborate worldwide network through which he circulated information, scientific ideas, and resources.

EUNIC Public Online Debate: Culture and the Sustainable Development Goals: Where Are We Now?, 14.10.2020

EUNIC Public Online Debate: Culture and the Sustainable Development Goals: Where Are We Now?

With only ten years left to realise the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the value of arts and culture for the achievement of the SDGs could be better understood, evidenced and embedded in policy and practice. How can policy makers, public bodies and the cultural sector work together on cultural policies and programmes that contribute to the SDGs?

EUNIC Public Online Debate: Cultural and Creative Industries in sub-Saharan Africa: Needs and Challenges, 14.09.2020

EUNIC Public Online Debate: Cultural and Creative Industries in sub-Saharan Africa: Needs and Challenges

Over the last 20 years, the power of cultural and creative industries (CCIs) as enablers and drivers of sustainable development has been broadly recognised. For this reason, it is important to explore and analyse what kind of CCI supporting strategies, programmes and projects are in place in sub-Saharan Africa, how they are working and their practical impacts.


Sarah Widmaier

Wissenschaftliche Koordinatorin des Forschungsprogramms Kultur und Außenpolitik

Charlottenplatz 17
D-70173 Stuttgart

Telephone: +49.711.2225.214