Call for Proposals
The Transatlantic Academy is seeking candidates to serve as resident Fellows from September 2016 – June 2017 to examine the research theme “Germany and the United States in the 21st Century.”

A joint project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Transatlantic Academy is located at the GMF office in Washington, DC. Each year, the Academy brings together scholars from Europe and North America to work on a single set of issues facing the transatlantic community. The Academy is an interdisciplinary institution which is open to all social science disciplines, the humanities, and the natural sciences. For more information on the Academy please visit our website at

In its first eight years, the Transatlantic Academy has looked at immigration and integration in Europe and North America, the changing foreign policy role of Turkey, the transatlantic implications of the rise of China, the competition for natural resources, challenges to the Western liberal order, both from within Western democracies and from rising non-Western powers, the role of religion in foreign policy, and the relationship between Russia and the West. In 2016-2017, the Academy will examine a number of themes related to how the roles of Germany and the United States in Europe and the world are evolving and the implications of these developments for bilateral and wider transatlantic relations, for the future of Europe, and for global affairs.

Germany has become Europe’s indispensable power both in the management of the eurozone crisis and in dealing with Russia in the context of the Ukraine crisis. In the eyes of many, long-serving German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the de facto leader of Europe. Beyond Europe, Germany has emerged as a global economic power, the world’s third largest exporter, dominating European relations with China. As expressed by the country’s own foreign policy officials, Germany is emerging as a Gestaltungsmacht or “shaping power” in an increasing polycentric and less Western world. German leaders such as President Joachim Gauck and Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen have begun to explain that Berlin must now take on a larger leadership role but are facing a reluctant public. Meanwhile, the relationship with the United States has come under stress with Edward Snowden’s revelations about National Security Agency surveillance setting off recurrent spying scandals. The United States, meanwhile, has encouraged Germany and other European allies to take more responsibility in Europe’s wider neighborhood as domestic affairs, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America vie for U.S. policymakers’ attention. All of this is taking place in the context of generational change in both Germany and the United States, with the result that new leaders have less personal and political knowledge of each other than was the case in the postwar era.

The Academy invites research proposals from academics which can deepen interdisciplinary understanding of the evolving roles of Germany and the United States in Europe and the world and link this knowledge to a range of policy issues, policy communities, and wider publics through interaction with shorter term practitioner fellows as well as through a series of workshops in Washington, Berlin, and other cities.

Research Themes
The Transatlantic Academy Fellows will spend the year both conducting their individual research and developing a collaborative research project which will result in a series of policy papers offering recommendations for North American and European governments. The Academy invites proposals for research on one or more of the following questions:

What if the European Union Fails? Implications for Germany and the United States – British disengagement, French economic weakness, and German economic strength have made Germany the clear de facto leader of Europe since the outbreak of the euro crisis in 2010. However, the prolonged eurozone crisis and the political confrontation with Greece, as well as the growth of “euroskeptic” parties across the continent and the passing from power of the generations which shaped Germany’s postwar role in Europe, have raised questions about how German opinion-shapers view Europe. Major political and economic turmoil in the European Union could change Germany and would also impact the United States.

  • Is the goal of a European Germany being supplanted by a reality of a German Europe?
  • Is the German “shaping power” losing its European mooring and becoming more of an emerging global power? What are the implications for German foreign policy of a failure or weakening of the European project?
  • How do U.S. policymakers, the American people, and key European countries, especially France and Poland, perceive Germany’s evolving role in Europe and the world?
  • How would a failure or weakening of the European project impact the United States? How would NATO adjust to a damaged EU?
  • What role should the United States play in 21st century Europe?

Germany as a Geo-economic Power – Germany has emerged as one of the great winners of globalization, one of the most globally connected and economically successful countries in the world. It is the third leading export economy in the world and the key rule setter for the eurozone.

  • The economic relationship between Germany and the United States is important for both countries, with high levels of investment and trade. However, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the EU and the United States is unpopular in Germany and may not come into effect. Differences over fiscal policy and international financial affairs have grown between Berlin and Washington, as seen in U.S. government and expert criticism of German political and economic decision-making in the eurozone crisis and Germany’s entry into the China-created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. What are the key trends in the economic relationship and how can it be improved?
  • How will the pull of Asian markets, especially China, factor into Germany’s role in Europe and the transatlantic relationship?
  • How will Germany’s role in the eurozone develop and with what implications for European integration?
  • What are the implications of geo-economics for Germany’s Moralpolitik? The Bundesrepublik long embraced a values-based foreign policy, however, Germany has clear interests in being a reliable trading partner, including with authoritarian states such as China, Russia, Iran, and the Gulf countries, producing a clear tension between values and interests. Promotion and support of democracy has also been a key U.S. foreign policy goal, despite strategic partnerships with authoritarian states such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. To what extent can Germany and the United States, as leading democracies, form common approaches in dealing with authoritarian and illiberal governments? Where will German development policy go in the future and to what extent will it be driven by economic interests?

Germany as a Geo-strategic Power and U.S. Security Partner – While 21st century trends have shown Germany as a geo-economic power, the conflict in Ukraine and Germany’s leading role in crafting the EU’s resulting policy toward Russia suggest that German foreign policy may be changing. What are the implications for NATO and the U.S.-German security partnership? U.S.-German military cooperation was a hallmark of the Cold War and continues to be strong today. However, the U.S. military presence in Europe is now significantly smaller, while Germany’s political culture and role as a geo-economic power have resulted in a lack of defense investment which limits its expeditionary capabilities for missions such as NATO’s in Afghanistan.

  • How does Germany play the part of a geo-strategic power in Central and Eastern Europe, where it faces the ghosts of its past along with a challenge to European security from Russia?
  • Germany’s role in the fight against the Islamic State may be an indicator of change in Germany defense policy. What will be the German role in dealing with this type of challenge and how does it fit with Germany’s approach to counter-terrorism?
  • To what extent are Germany and the United States still natural security partners? Where do interests differ? How should defense ties be developed into the future?
  • What are the prospects for an increase in German defense spending and what are the implications for the future of the force structure and Germany’s military role in both NATO and the EU? How would a geo-strategically stronger Germany impact U.S.-German relations?
  • Will the United States play a lesser security role in Europe, Eurasia, Africa, and the Middle East in the coming decades, and if so what does that mean for German security and foreign policy?

Transatlantic Relations and Societal Change in Germany and the United States – The United States remains the most powerful country in the world and has some long-term trends in its favor. However, it is clearly less powerful globally in relative terms than it was two decades ago as China and other powers have risen in influence, and Washington is less engaged in Europe than it was even just a few years ago. The U.S. population continues to shift westward away from the Atlantic and towards the Pacific, while an increasing share of the population has family roots in Asia or Latin America rather than Europe. Meanwhile, Germany’s relative power within the European Union has increased in recent years, but its demographic situation of an aging society of 80 million people with negligible population growth conditions its policies and will limit Germany’s global weight over the course of the 21st century.

  • Where is the U.S. foreign policy debate headed with an open presidential election in 2016, and how strong is U.S. domestic support for international engagement, particularly in Europe?
  • How is the German view of the West, both in regard to the United States and to Europe, changing? How is the U.S. view of the West changing? Is the concept still relevant?
  • What is the role of generational change in these changing images? As the report of the GMF Task Force on the Future of German-American Relations points out, nostalgia is not a good foundation for future policies. Given that any German or American under the age of 25 was not alive when the Berlin Wall fell, the different life experiences and values of emerging leaders may lead to a transformation of Germany, the United States, Europe, and the broader West. How do younger citizens on both sides of the Atlantic view the transatlantic relationship and the meaning of the European project? What does generational change mean, not only for future policies, but also for public diplomacy and international exchange programs?

A minimum of four senior and two postdoctoral scholars, three from Europe and three from North America, will work in a collaborative environment from September 12, 2016 – June 16, 2017. Applicants for senior fellowships must have a PhD and professional experience equivalent to that of an Associate Professor. Applicants who combine academic excellence with practical field or policy experience will have an advantage. Fellows will be expected to present their own research and to react to the work of their colleagues on a regular basis while at the Academy. They will also be expected to discuss their research with policymakers, non-governmental organizations and other policy-oriented institutions, both in the United States and Europe. In addition to a generous monthly stipend, Fellows will receive travel expenses to and from the Academy.

Applicants for Postdoctoral Fellowships must have completed their PhD within the last five years. The Academy offers two Postdoctoral Fellowships. One of them, the Volkswagen Stiftung Fellowship is reserved for promising young scholars based at German institutions working in a specific field of the humanities. Applications for this fellowship must be made directly to the Volkswagen Stiftung ( Applications for the other Postdoctoral Fellowship should apply directly to the Academy.

How to Apply
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning in September 2015 with offers made no later than December 2015. Applications for fellowships can be downloaded from the Academy’s

Applicants for Volkswagen Stiftung Fellowship must be made via the Volkswagen Stiftung. The deadline for applications to this fellowship is October 1, 2015.

For more information and an application please contact Jessica Hirsch, Program Coordinator, or 202-683-2644.

Dr. Stephen Szabo, Executive Director
The Transatlantic Academy
The German Marshall Fund of the United States
1744 R St. N.W.
Washington, D.C., 20009
United States of America