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

German-Ukrainian Cultural Relations since the Euromaidan

This research project investigates the development of the Ukrainian cultural sector and German-Ukrainian cultural relations since the Euromaidan in 2014. In doing so, the project intends to document quantitative and qualitative changes together with the effects of cultural cooperation on individual engagement as well as on the democratisation process in the Ukraine.

  • Realisation: Dr. Susann Worschech

    Dr. Susann Worschech is a research assistant in the European Studies master programme at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt on the Oder. She researches civil society, participation and social change in Central and Eastern Europe.

Peace Potentials of the Free Churches of North and South America

Free Churches and charismatic movements are enormously popular in North and South America. Although worldwide they play a key role, little is understood of the individual instigators. Do theological approaches such as prosperity theology, which is proselytised in some of these churches, conflict with peacebuilding work? This research project investigates Free Church instigators in North and South America and explores cooperation opportunities as well as the obstacles and threats of these institutions to the AKBP.

  • Realisation: Prof. Dr. Heinrich Schäfer

    Prof. Dr. Heinrich Wilhelm Schäfer has been Professor for Religious Sociology and Protestant Theology at the University of Bielefeld since 2006. He has been researching religious movements in Latin America and the USA since the early 1980s.

International University Partnerships of the Future

The number of transnational educational opportunities has seen a worldwide upsurge in recent years. This not only includes students’ and scientists’ increased ability to travel abroad but also the development and establishment of educational opportunities abroad, the strengthening of the excellence of existing transnational educational opportunities, the promotion of binational universities as well as the anchoring of educational structures and institutions in partner countries. For this reason, this project focusses on the question: Which forms of university partnerships can German universities abroad develop to foster the best potential?

  • Realisation: Dr. Annika Hampel

    Dr. Annika Hampel is Scientific Coordinator and Managing Director of the Africa Centre at the University of Freiburg & Merian Institute for Advanced Studies Africa (MIASA). Her research focusses on foreign cultural and educational policy (AKBP) as well as on culture and development.

Agenda 2030: The EU’s Implementation 

The role of culture is reflected in a cross-cutting manner in many of the targets of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). The European Union will have to develop a comprehensive implementation strategy for the UN Agenda 2030 and an action plan on its cultural dimension in close cooperation with its Member States. How will this implementation strategy and any action plan on culture relate to UNESCO's work and programmes on culture and sustainability? How does the outreach to civil society succeed? How useful are indicators for measuring the achievement of goals in the field of culture?

Cultural Industries and Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy (AKBP) in Sub-Saharan Africa

This research project aims to take stock of the endeavours of the European Union and other countries in the field of cultural industries in sub-Saharan Africa. Which countries in the region are currently particularly active in supporting the field of cultural industries? How and with what aims are projects being supported?

  • Realisation: Prof. Kimani Njogu and Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco

    Kimani Njogu is Executive Director of the Twaweza Communications Limited, an art, culture and media institution based in Nairobi. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from Yale University, has been teaching for years at the Kenyatta University and has published numerous publications in the field of art and culture.

    Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco is a musician and independent consultant in the cultural industry. His areas of expertise include the cultural industry and sustainable development, the role of creative clusters in local development and participatory governance in culture.

Changes in the Concept of Security

The current discourse on the 'Cyber' issue encompasses a broad spectrum that includes not only the promise of the freedom of information but also the threat of internal and external security. This project investigates how normative discourse influences cyber security and the epistemic communities that emerge.

  • Realisation: Prof. Dr. Andreas Heinemann-Grüder

    Prof. Dr. Andreas Heinemann-Grüder is Senior Researcher at the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC). His research focusses on post-Soviet politics, comparative federalism, civil–military relations and irregular armed bands.

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.


Sarah Widmaier

Charlottenplatz 17
D-70173 Stuttgart

Telephone: +49.711.2225.214