Learning Minds


Jacobs Foundation Conference

Every year since 1991, the Jacobs Foundation has held a conference at Marbach Castle on Lake Constance, attracting leading scientists and young scholars from all over the world.

During the first Board Meeting of the Jacobs Foundation in 1989, it was decided that research conferences should become a key pillar of the Foundation’s strategy. The Jacobs Foundation Conference takes place every other year in uneven years, and it provides a unique opportunity for scientific exchange at the highest level, with a focus on an interdisciplinary approach.

The conference brings together a diverse assembly of senior, mid- and early career researchers from around the world, who are invited to this three-day event, often hosted at the Foundation’s Conference Center, Marbach Castle, in Germany. The prime criterion for selection is scientific excellence with due attention to coverage of a range of disciplines and, as appropriate, the involvement of scholars from a range of countries.

The overarching goal of the conferences is for leading researchers to present cutting-edge findings about an aspect of child and youth development and learning that will culminate in the production of a high-level scientific journal publication and in collaborative follow-up research projects.

The 2023 conference will take place from May 10 – 13, in Cascais, Portugal. The organizers are Inge Molenaar (Radboud University) and Dan Schwartz (Stanford University).

The conference topic will be Adaptive Learning in a Changing World: Preparing learners with the skills to thrive across contexts and time. How to measure and foster such skills.

Invited senior participants nominate early career scholars (<6 years since PhD), who conduct research relevant to the overarching conference theme, to attend. From the list of nominated early career scholars, Jacobs Foundation management works with the conference organizers to select 10-15 participants, based on scientific excellence, the potential to become a leader in the field, fit and proposed contribution to the theme of the conference, and with consideration to disciplinary balance and country representation.

Early career scholars are invited to apply for collaborative research grants following the conference. Projects judged to be of outstanding quality will receive funding (up to CHF 60,000 per scholar) from the Jacobs Foundation. Submission of joint projects from up to three young scholars is possible and encouraged (funding up to CHF 180,000). Invited early career scholars have the opportunity to spend three days in discussions with leaders in their fields, to benefit from feedback on planned projects, and to get to know one another in an informal setting.