Call for Funding: Global Issues – Preventing Pandemics, the Role of Human-Environmental Interactions


This call for funding is part of a broader international funding framework entitled "Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives", which aims to enable international research collaboration and to generate new insights on understudied issues of global relevance. The different thematic areas that are addressed through this overarching funding scheme are oriented towards those transformative challenges that have been acknowledged by the United Nations’ sustainable development agenda as requiring specific action. "Global Issues" stimulates and strengthens collaboration between researchers based in different parts of the world who usually do not join forces.

Thematic Call: "Global Issues – Preventing Pandemics: the Role of Human-Environmental Interactions"

Society and nature are two intricately interlinked dynamic systems, influencing and modifying each other. This intricacy has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To better understand the emergence and spread of transmittable diseases like zoonoses a deeper understanding of the complexity and dynamics of human-environmental interactions and the connections between human, animal and environmental health is necessary. Questions arising in this context are, for example: Which are the structural drivers behind the emergence and spread of zoonoses? Or: How do perceptions of human-nature-relations influence human activities? And what can we learn from this, not only on an academic level, but also with a view to possible transformation pathways aiming at a more sustainable and healthier world? 

Addressing complex human-environmental interactions and producing transformation knowledge requires joining different perspectives and various sources of knowledge (and its underlying values), fostering cross-learning: Therefore, project consortia should follow integrative approaches, teaming up with different scientific disciplines as well as researchers and actors beyond academia. 

Scope of Funding

Funding will be provided for small, but strongly interacting, interdisciplinary research consortia of three to five researchers who design and conduct a project together with societal stakeholders in a transdisciplinary way. Besides one researcher working at a university or research institution in Germany, the involvement of two researchers affiliated to academic institutions in Low and Middle Income Countries outside of Europe is required. For each project up to 1.5 million Euro will be provided for up to four years.

To enhance the potential impact of the funded projects the Foundation intends to support networking between the participants to e. g. interconnect the results of the different regional case studies by identifying interfaces, consolidating methods, problem situations and prognostic potentials, or to compile transferable results.

Details of requirements as well as the application procedure can be found under Information for Applicants 116d (pdf) and the related FAQs (pdf).


The funding initiative "Global Issues" was established in 2017 with the aim of promoting research focussing on the changes impacting society at the beginning of the 21st century (as framed by the SDGs). There are four thematic calls, in part jointly conducted with different major European Foundations. Information on the other calls can be found here: "Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives on Social Inequality""Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives on Cultural Heritage and Change", and "Global Issues: Mobility – Global Medicine and Health Research"). 

This call is part of the Foundation’s profile area Societal Transformations.