Principles and Fields supported


The Gerda Henkel Foundation is an incorporated foundation under civil law (§ 1 StiftG NW). The object of the Foundation is to promote science, primarily by supporting specific projects in the field of the humanities that have a specific specialist scope and are limited in time and the related publications, in particular

a) by supporting research projects by scholars inside and outside Germany on carefully defined themes in the humanities,

b) by awarding scholarships (in particular for research and Ph.D. projects) to scholars inside and outside Germany,

c) by undertaking and supporting measures on a scientific basis in the field of monument preservation as well as by undertaking and supporting all measures that are suited to further the object of the Foundation,

d) by carrying out measures to enhance public awareness in the above-mentioned fields that support the Foundation’s object.

Other objectives of the Foundation are:

e) to promote assistance for persons subject to political, racial or religious persecution, refugees, expellees, war victims, surviving dependents of war, people injured by war, injured and disabled civilians as well as the victims of crimes.

f) to promote an international mindset, tolerance and understanding among nations.

g) to promote development assistance.

The above-mentioned social and humanitarian objectives of the Foundation as per e) - g) shall only be pursued geographically and in terms of time in the broader sense along with the objective of promoting the sciences stated in a) - d[S1] ). Projects serving the realisation of the Foundation’s objectives as per e) - g) shall supplement projects to promote the sciences as per a) - d) by way of an annex.

The Foundation pursues exclusively and directly non-profit objectives in the meaning of the section on “tax-deductible objectives” of the German Fiscal Code.

In line with one of the founder’s wishes, a special focus of the Gerda Henkel Foundation is support for up-and-coming scholars. Special attention is made when approving grants to enable qualified young researchers of both sexes to conduct scientific work for a limited period of time and in order to improve their academic training.

The Board of Trustees has resolved the following general funding principles to further the Foundation attaining its object, and these include the following possible forms of support:

  • support for specific research projects, limited in time, in the form of funding for personnel, travel and hardware,
  • scholarship grants for research and Ph.D. projects for scholars from both inside and outside Germany,
  • provision of funding to help cover publishing costs for projects the Foundation has supported that have been especially successful.
  • Support for measures to preserve historical cultural heritage under threat, primarily in crisis regions.
  • Support for social and humanitarian measures in connection with the projects supported by the Foundation.

The Board of Trustees and the Executive Board shall decide on grants and financial support provided by the Foundation in consultation with the Academic Advisory Council. The boards of the Foundation convene as a rule twice a year, typically in April and November. There is a simplified procedure for assessing applications for smaller grants.

Fields supported

Support is primarily provided for the historical humanities, in particular to support research projects in the following fields:

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Historical Islamic Studies
  • Art History
  • History of Law
  • Prehistory and Early History
  • History of Science

For a number of years, the Foundation has also increasingly addressed issues of great relevance to contemporary life and the future, above all as part of its special programme “Security, Society and the State”. As part of the Lisa Maskell Fellowship programme, the Foundation supports young scholars in the humanities in both Africa and Southeast Asia. With its “Patrimonies” funding initiative it promotes the preservation of the cultural heritage, specifically in regions experiencing crisis. Research that places current challenging issues in a greater historical context form the focus of the “Democracy as Utopia, Experience and Threat” and “Lost Cities” funding programmes. In connection with funded projects, the Foundation also provides assistance for social support measures as part of complementary projects. The Gerda Henkel Foundation can by virtue of its statutes pursue its objectives both inside and outside Germany.