Research Programme „Culture and Foreign Policy”

Through the Research Programme „Culture and Foreign Policy” experts investigate current topics related to Germany’s Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy. Within research periods of three to six months, they summarise current scientific findings in the form of studies and formulate recommendations for future foreign cultural policy measures. Their research results are then reflected at international conferences, in panel and public discussions and published in the ifa edition “Kultur und Außenpolitik”. In cooperation, scientists query the individual needs of cultural actors, carry out surveys on current measures and internationally analyse national strategies.


In so doing, ifa has been operating as a competence centre and offering actors from the Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy unique consulting services. Previous projects have included, for example, theme years, a study on the perception of Humboldt in Latin America and questions on European foreign cultural policy, religions’ responsibility for peace and its 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 special grants or 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

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

AKBP as reaction to populism

Right-wing populists question the socio-economic and political constitutional order; in countries with right-wing populist government participation, restrictions on fundamental liberal-democratic rights such as freedom of art, assembly and expression are increasing dramatically and inconvenient cultural actors are being hampered in their work or even threatened by governments. How can AKBP actors react to these developments?
Realisation: Johannes Crückeberg

Digital freedom for cultural actors

This project researches what virtual spaces for freedom of expression and uncensored artistic work could look like and which forms of open or closed platforms could be conceivable while taking appropriate anonymisation techniques into account.
Realisation: Werner Bogula

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

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 a 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