• Proven expertise regarding current issues in an area of culture, politics, economy, media or science (supported by a letter of reference in German and English)
  • Intellectual curiosity, an interest in interdisciplinary approaches, and a willingness to discuss issues outside of the framework of one’s own area of expertise
  • An excellent command of English (spoken and written)
  • Applicants must live and work in Germany or provide proof that they have lived in Germany for an extended period in the past. Applicants do not have to be German citizens.
  • Existing relationships with US-American partners and institutions (desired)



  • Applications for a Thomas Mann Fellowship can be submitted for the subsequent year by filling in the application form.
  • Applications must be postmarked on or before Febuary 28 for a fellowship during the subsequent year.
  • Students may not apply.
  • Application forms must be filled out in German and English as indicated.
  • Each application requires a letter of reference from a renowned expert who has published extensively in the field in question.
  • Application and letter of reference should corroborate the significance of the proposed project with regards to transatlantic relations and its importance in addressing the most pressing questions of our time. In addition, the application’s qualifications in relation to the fellowship’s mission should be presented and substantiated.
  • After submitting the application form, you will receive a confirmation email.
  • Two applicants may submit a joint application for a partner fellowship. In this case, each applicant must complete a separate application form. The letter of reference must address both candidates’ qualifications as well as the joint project.
  • The letter of reference can be uploaded by you or the person who writes it to the link provided to you in your confirmation email.


Selection Process

  • All applications will be checked for completeness. Letters of reference will be reviewed for their significance in relation to the fellowship’s mission.
  • An interdisciplinary advisory committee, appointed by Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e.V.’s Board of Trustees, will review and evaluate all applications and nominate the Thomas Mann Fellows for the subsequent year.
  • Applicants have no legal right to the Fellowship.
  • Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e.V. will award the fellowships based on the availability of the nominated candidates once they are confirmed by the Board of Trustees.
  • Applicants will be informed of the juries' decisions by email or by post. No reasons will be given.
  • If chosen, the applicant will receive a contract. The fellowship will take legal effect only after the contract has been signed.

Key Topics in 2022

Applications for the following topics will be given special consideration for fellowships in 2022:

Restoring Public Trust

Trust means expecting others to use their freedom competently and responsibly despite uncertainty. The more uncertain the political situation, the greater the social leap of faith must be. The pandemic has further exacerbated the worldwide uncertainty caused by digitalization, climate change and globalization. General mistrust seems to be growing, and with this conspiracy theories and misinformation. What steps are conceivable to restore the public trust on which democratic societies thrive? What positive examples are there of restoring public trust at the neighborhood, city or state level and in international dialogue?

Imagining Equality in Diversity

Since the French Revolution, freedom, equality, and fraternity have been among the fundamental values of democratic communities. Yet numerous studies document growing inequality in income, wealth, mobility, health care and participation in education. Equality of opportunity depends on background. It is time to ask the question anew: Today, after the loss of the utopian dreams of the 20th century, how can we imagine an equal, just and diverse society on a national and international level - concretely and visionarily?


Applications for 2022 must be submitted on or by February 28, 2021, 11:59pm (CET).

Application Form