The Foundation Staff

At present some 100 people work directly for the Volkswagen Foundation – in the "Staff Divisions" of the Secretary General as well as in the departments "Funding", "Investment Management" and "Finance and Administration".

Hanna Wielandt
Dr. Hanna Denecke

Head of Team Exploration

F +49 (0)511 8381-4291
Additional Information
Hanna Denecke is an economist with a long experience in research management and heads the funding team "Exploration”. After studying economics in Heidelberg and Hamburg, she completed a master’s degree in "Development Economics & Policy” at the University of Manchester (UK) and a doctorate in applied microeconomics at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
At the foundation, Hanna Denecke is responsible for business administration and economics and previously supervised cooperative research projects between Africa and Germany as well as research projects in the field of artificial intelligence.
Dr. Franz Dettenwanger

Program Director; Coordination Niedersächsisches Vorab

F +49 (0)511 8381-4217
Additional Information

Has been responsible for projects from the engineering and material sciences as well as mathematics.

Background: Studied Physics at the University of Tübingen and  NMI Reutlingen, Doctoral studies in the area of Materials Science at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research at the University of Stuttgart, later research assistant; previously worked for DECHEMA, Frankfurt am Main, in the areas of research and research funding.

Dr. Pavel Dutow

Program Director

F +49 (0)511 8381-4396
Additional Information

Responsible for projects in life sciences, especially in Biomedicine.

Background: Studies of Biology with focus on Microbiology, Genetics, and Biochemistry at the University of Göttingen (Institute of Microbiology and Genetics). Doctoral studies and Postdoc at the Hannover Medical School (Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Epidemiology).

Portrait Ebeling
Katja Ebeling

Head Conferences & Symposia

F +49 (0)511 8381-4284
Bärbel Erdmann

Auditing of Funds Allocated

F +49 (0)511 8381-4204
Michaela Finsel

Call-for-funds Administration; Payments

F +49 (0)511 8381-4382
Maria-Luisa Förster


F +49 (0)511 8381-4385
Susanne Grabner
Susanne Grabner

Assistant | Administrative Support Legal Affairs and Policy

F +49 (0)511 8381-4221
Portrait Grages
Daniela Grages


F +49 (0)511 8381-4257
Dr. Oliver Grewe

Program Director

F +49 (0)511 8381-4252
Additional Information

Program Director in the funding team "Understanding Research". Responsible for the postdoctoral fellowship program "Freigeist" (in particular natural and life sciences). Has previously been in charge of projects in areas such as evolutionary biology, biomedicine, and tropical medicine.

Background: Studies in biology, musicology, communication studies, and philosophy at Münster and Bologna. PhD in neurosciences, and postdoc at the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine, Hanover. Since 2008, positions as program manager at Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and Wissenschaftliche Kommission Niedersachsen.

Outside of the foundation Oliver Grewe has been working as a business coach for academics since 2015.