Research programmes

In the Research Programme 'Culture and Foreign Policy' and the Research Programme Martin Roth Initiative, experts from the fields of art, culture, politics and media explore current questions relating to Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy. Research commissions are awarded for a period of three to six months. The experts draw up recommendations to strengthen and further develop international cultural relations and shape civil society's scope of action.

Reflection on the research results takes place in expert talks, at international conferences and in public discussion, in the ifa publication series 'Culture and Foreign Policy' as well as in the impulse papers ifa-Inputs on the Forum for International Cultural Relations.


'Culture and Foreign Policy'

Through practical research, ifa offers actors in the field of Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy unique advisory services. The research results highlight current challenges and needs in international cultural relations and outline possible foreign cultural policy measures. The projects conducted to date have addressed issues including European foreign cultural policy, religions and their role in foreign policy as well as analogue and digital free spaces at a time when civil society’s scope of action is being increasingly limited, but also controversial concepts and basic issues relating to Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy.

Martin Roth Initiative

The Research Programme Martin Roth Initiative focuses on the hitherto little-studied area of protection programmes. In particular, ongoing research and documentation show the impact and working methods of international protection programmes and their framework conditions. Gradually, this is enabling effective impact evaluation to be developed and project design optimised. The aim is to network protection programmes internationally, improve cooperation and critically examine different methods.

Calls for Proposals

Calls for proposals for research projects and for the publication series 'Culture and Foreign Policy' are listed under Jobs and Career or in the Forum for International Cultural Relations.


Where are new calls for proposals announced?

All ifa’s scholarships and calls for research proposals are published on the web page Jobs and Career. All the important information for your application is to be found in the calls for proposals.

Is it possible to submit an unsolicited application on one’s own subject?

No, unfortunately not. All scholarships and research commissions are restricted to topics determined by ifa.

What are the prerequisites?

Generally, the minimum prerequisite is that you have successfully completed a Master’s degree. Other requirements are stated in the call for proposals.

What is the difference between a scholarship and a research commission?

Within the scholarship programme, ifa pays a monthly scholarship, currently €1,500, for conducting academic study. The funding is not subject to taxation. Scholarship holders are required to make their own health insurance contributions. The funding is bound by scholarship guidelines agreed before the project is awarded. Scholarship holders are not allowed to receive any other scholarships or be in an employment relationship while they are receiving the scholarship.

On accepting a research commission, the contractor concludes a project contract with ifa. Contractors are responsible for the tax treatment of the commission.

Can the research programme commission universities or is only individual funding possible?

Yes, it is possible to award a contract to universities and tax-privileged organisations.

Do projects usually tend to be research-based or practice-oriented?

The focus is on application-oriented research. Current academic insights should be concisely and precisely analysed for actors in the field of Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy and recommendations framed for future measures in the field of cultural relations policy.

Which formats are used?

The results are generally published in a study. Very frequently, one of the tasks is to plan and implement an event, for example a conference, a colloquium or specialist talks.

In which language are projects conducted?

It depends on the focus in any particular case. Projects are generally carried out in German or English.

Is a workstation provided?

In principle, all researchers must have the basic equipment required, such as a PC or laptop, in order to conduct the projects. Temporary workstations are available in Stuttgart on an hourly or daily basis for research in the Library. In some cases, ifa implements the projects together with partners. In this case, the partner organisations generally provide a workstation for the duration of the project. This requires a willingness to relocate, for example to Brussels or Bonn.


Sarah Widmaier

Scientific Coordinator of ifa’s Research Programme on Culture and Foreign Policy

Charlottenplatz 17
D-70173 Stuttgart

Telephone: +49.711.2225.214

Martin Roth-Initiative

Scientific Coordination of the Martin Roth-Initiative Research Programme

Linienstraße 139/140
D-10115 Berlin

Telephone: +49.173.2745988


Charlottenplatz 17
D-70173 Stuttgart

Telephone: +49.711.2225.147