Press release

Researchers who have fled Ukraine – Providing support not possible without additional funds

Willingness on the part of the German science system to help researchers from Ukraine is substantial, as is the number of scientists and scholars who have fled the war-stricken country. In light of the war in Ukraine, the Humboldt Foundation is calling for additional financial support from the political sector so that it can provide appropriate help in this situation as well.

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“The need for assistance for displaced researchers from Ukraine is enormous. Applications from politically persecuted persons from other countries are likely to follow. With the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, the Humboldt Foundation has at its disposal a proven instrument for preserving and fostering the potential of these highly qualified individuals for the future of our society and their countries of origin in cooperation with German host institutions. In this special situation, it is important to respond quickly so that Germany remains trustworthy and credible when it espouses its values and scientific freedom”, said Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Humboldt Foundation. “We can draw on a network of expertise and on the experiences gathered over the last five years in order to provide a safe haven for displaced researchers. But we need additional funding for this”, Pape described the situation.

German universities and research institutes have submitted nominations for a total of 240 endangered researchers during the current selection round, including 171 for researchers from Ukraine.

A private donor has firmly pledged to contribute €1 million to help finance the Philipp Schwartz Initiative's main programme. To put this in perspective: Providing assistance for 130 researchers would incur approximately €4.1 million in costs in 2022 and a similar amount for 2023. In addition, there would be personnel costs involved in administering the assistance.

As part of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, approximately 50 researchers are normally chosen each year for a fellowship in the course of two selection rounds.

Since mid-March, institutions and individuals in Germany who want to make research facilities available to displaced researchers from Ukraine can register on the Foundation’s networking platform. The response has been enormous: A total of 172 potential hosts have been found to date.

Thanks to contributions which the Carl Zeiss Foundation and the Springer Nature publishing group have made to the Initiative’s endowment capital, the Humboldt Foundation was recently able to set up the Philipp Schwartz Emergency Fund which will be used to grant short-term fellowships for a period of up to six months to approximately 40 female researchers from Ukraine.

Since 2016, the Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has, with support from the German Foreign Office, helped German universities and research institutes take in for a period of two years foreign researchers who are threatened by war or persecution in their home countries.

(Press release 9/2022)

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains an interdisciplinary network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries around the world – including 57 Nobel Prize winners.

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