Philipp Schwartz Initiative

researchers at risk
all countries (excluding Europe)
24 (+12) months full fellowship in Germany

Coronavirus pandemic:
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation makes every effort to ensure that Philipp Schwartz fellows are not left alone in the current extraordinary situation. To this end, we have drawn up and communicated a series of of special regulations for fellowship holders. Please learn more here (PDF).

Current calls for applications:
The application deadline for the 8th round has expired. Applicant institutions will be automatically informed about the selection result at the beginning of December 2020. The next call will also be published in December. Please inform us at schwarz-initiative[at] if you are not yet on the mailing list.

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Dr. Barbara Sheldon
Head of Strategic Planning Division
Managing Director Philipp Schwartz Initiative
Phone: +49 228 833 109

Frank Albrecht
Programme Director Philipp Schwartz Initiative
Phone: +49 228 833 122

Programme Officers Philipp Schwartz Initiative
Katja Machacsek, +49 228 833 182
Katrin Schlemme, +49 228 833 166
Svetlana Strobel, +49 228 833 409
Karin Ziegner, +49 (0)228 833 162

Fax: +49 228 833 114

For Press Inquiries
Phone: +49 228 833 144

Philipp Schwartz Initiative for researchers at risk

Due to his Jewish faith, the Austrian pathologist Philipp Schwartz lost his professorship in Frankfurt in 1933. He emigrated to Switzerland and founded the “Notgemeinschaft deutscher Wissenschaftler im Ausland” – Emergency Society of German Scholars Abroad. In 2015, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Federal Foreign Office chose to name the programme they launched after him: the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. The programme allows researchers who are no longer able to work in their own countries because they are threatened or persecuted to continue their work at German universities and research institutions.

In the context of the Initiative, the Humboldt Foundation cooperates closely with international partner organisations such as the Scholars at Risk Network, the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund and the Council for At-Risk Academics. The Initiative is financed by the Federal Foreign Office, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Stifterverband and the Stiftung Mercator.

Our sponsorship

ThePhilipp Schwartz Initiative enables universities and research institutions in Germany to host researchers at risk on the basis of a full fellowship. Accordingly, host institutions receive funding which is composed of two components:

Fellowship amount: Sponsorship covers a full fellowship, including additional benefits, amounting to € 3,500 per month. It is earmarked for a period of up to 24months; application may be made during the initial sponsorship period for an extension of up to 12 months in the framework of a co-financing model.

Allowance for host institution: The host institution receives a lump sum allowanceof € 20,000 for each individual sponsored.

Who is eligible to make an application?

Applications may be submitted by the following categories of academic institutions in Germany only:

  • public and state-recognised universities
  • Max Planck Institutes, Helmholtz Institutes, Leibniz Institutes, Fraunhofer Institutes
  • federal and federal state research institutions
  • other research institutions that can convincingly demonstrate their research portfolio and structures

Institutions that would be interested in hosting researchers at risk but do not have anyone specific in mind can approach the Scholars at Risk Network, IIE Scholar Rescue Fund and Council for At-Risk Academics, which may be able to help find suitable candidates.

Please note that researchers cannot apply for this programme directly. Interested researchers should contact potential host institutions in Germany that can then make an application.

Who is eligible to receive a Philipp Schwartz Fellowship?

Researchers who are demonstrably at risk – irrespective of discipline and country of origin – are eligible for sponsorship under the Initiative. At-risk status can be verified either by

  • a residence status in the context of an asylum-granting procedure within the EU that confirms a recognised threat
  • or a credible threat assessment issued by a third party, such as the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR) or the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), within the previous 12 months.

Candidates for a Philipp Schwartz Fellowship must, moreover, fulfil the following criteria:

  • have completed a doctorate or comparable academic degree (PhD, CSc or equivalent); in the case of legal or medical doctorates, provide evidence of equivalence to a research PhD
  • not be or have been resident outside their own country for more than five years at the time of application; researchers who hold German university entrance qualifications (“Bildungsinländer”) are not eligible
  • have the language skills required to successfully conduct their research projects
  • have academic qualifications (e.g. publications)
  • have the potential to be integrated in the (broader academic) employment market

Researchers who have already received sponsorship under the Philipp Schwartz Initiative or who have access to residence in safe countries due to dual nationality or other circumstances (e.g. marriage to an EU citizen) are not eligiblefor sponsorship; the same applies to German citizens. Multiple nominations of one and the same individual by various potential host institutions are not permissible.

Application and selection procedure

The application must be signed by a member of the executive of the applicant institution (executive board, rectorate or similar) and sent by the project leader, password protected, to schwartz-initiative[at] Unfortunately, we are unable to accept electronic signatures, but we can accept documents that have been signed by hand and then scanned.

We require the following documents:

  • concept describing the strategy for hosting researchers at risk (institutions that applied successfully in a previous round do not need to re-submit)
  • application for a Philipp Schwartz Fellowship, including proof that the researcher is at risk
  • financial plan

The decision on which applications are approved is taken by the Humboldt Foundation’s relevant, independent Selection Committee on the basis of the application package submitted.

Further information

In order to support and offer sanctuary to researchers at risk, universities, research institutions and science organisations in Germany, under the responsibility of the Humboldt Foundation, joined together on 20 September 2016 in Bonn to establish the Germany Section of the global Scholars at Risk Network. Until 31 March 2022, the Humboldt Foundation is hosting the section’s secretariatand acting as its central contact point.

This programme is financed by

This programme is supported by

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