Fellow Program Free Knowledge

In a program initiated jointly by Wikimedia Deutschland, the Volkswagen Foundation and the Stifterverband, doctoral students, post-docs and junior professors are supported in the open design of their research processes and thus become ambassadors for Open Science. With the program year 2020/21, Wikimedia Deutschland will become the sole sponsor, and we will continue to support it as partners.


“Open Science” stands for scientific work in the sense of openness, and integrates central elements such as transparency, collaborative working and learning, reproducibility and comparability, but also participation and diversity. The central concern of the program is to strengthen Open Science in order to improve the transfer of knowledge to society and the quality of scientific research and teaching.


Young scientists from all disciplines should be enabled to integrate principles of open science into their own scientific work. At the same time, a network of fellows, alumni, mentors and actors from the field of Open Science is to be established, which will enable an intensive exchange and effective cooperation beyond the fellowship program in the context of joint events, publications and projects.


As trained practitioners, the Fellows will further promote the gradual opening of science and research. This will also pave their further career path in this changing system. As ambassadors, they will also be able to sensitize others to Open Science and thus help to continuously spread this topic.

Participants and partners

The program is aimed at young scientists from all disciplines who want to make their own research and teaching open and reusable. Per funding period up to 20 fellows have been supported. The project was launched jointly by Wikimedia Deutschland, the Stifterverband, and the Volkswagen Foundation and ran for four years. Starting with the 2020/21 program year, Wikimedia Deutschland will take over as sole sponsor. innOsci has been a partnership companion since 2019/20. Other partners participating in the program include the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, the Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) at Freie Universität Berlin, the Lower Saxony State and University Library in Göttingen, and Open Knowledge Maps, which offers qualification programs.

A list of all alumni can be found here , and in addition a network map showing all partners.


Fellows are supported over a period of eight months with a program consisting of four components: (1) Qualification, (2) Mentoring, (3) Financial Support, and (4) Visibility and Networking.