Threatened researchers find refuge in Germany: Philipp Schwartz Initiative funds 46 more fellows

The Humboldt Foundation grants funding which universities can use to take in threatened researchers. Most of the new fellows come from Turkey.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has selected the research institutions for the second round of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative: a total of 39 institutions throughout Germany will be able to take in threatened foreign researchers with the assistance provided by the Initiative. Funds will be provided for a total of 46 researchers who are seeking refuge in Germany because they are threatened by war or persecution in their homeland. Starting January these scientists and scholars will conduct research for two years as Philipp Schwartz Fellows at the winning institutions.

The 39 host institutions were selected from 59 universities and research institutions that want to host one or more threatened researchers and whose proposals included concepts for the researchers’ professional and personal integration. In addition to the quality of integration, key considerations for the decision included the academic match and the researchers’ qualification.

Selected universities in the second round of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative

  • RWTH Aachen
  • University of Bamberg
  • University of Bayreuth
  • International Psychoanalytic University Berlin
  • Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research
  • Technische Universität Berlin
  • Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin
  • Bielefeld University
  • EBZ Business School Bochum
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • BICC Bonn International Center for Conversion
  • University of Bonn
  • Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • University of Bremen
  • Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Technische Universität Dresden
  • University of Duisburg-Essen
  • Hochschule Düsseldorf, University of Applied Sciences
  • Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space
  • Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • Arnold Bergstraesser Institute
  • Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit
  • Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum Heidelberg
  • Heidelberg University
  • University of Hohenheim
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology – KIT
  • The Kiel Institute for the World Economy
  • University of Cologne
  • HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management
  • Frankenförder Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (FFG)
  • Philipps-Universität Marburg
  • Technical University of Munich
  • University of Münster
  • Osnabrück University
  • University of Potsdam
  • University of Siegen
  • Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf, University of Applied Sciences
  • Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Foreign Minister Steinmeier stated: “With our cultural relations and education policy we particularly want to give people in need access to culture and education. Cultural and educational work is assistance that fosters respect for humanity. For precisely this reason the Philipp Schwartz Initiative is an indispensable building block when it comes to making it possible for threatened scientists and scholars to have a safe place to live and conduct research. I would particularly like to thank the members of the German Bundestag with whose support we were able to expand the Philipp Schwartz Initiative.”

The researchers who will be taken in at the winning universities come from Turkey (21 fellows), Syria (18), Iraq (3), Burundi, Yemen, Sudan and Tajikistan (1 each).

Most of the researchers in the first round came from Syria; in the second round they are the second largest group after Turkey.
Most of the researchers in the first round came from Syria; in the second round they are the second largest group after Turkey. (Photo: imago/ITAR-TASS)

This round saw 21 more institutions submit applications than in the first round launched in March 2016.  Most of the 23 fellowships granted in the previous round went to researchers from Syria (14) and Turkey (6).

Commenting on the selection, the Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation, Enno Aufderheide, noted: “The increase in the number of applications this year shows that researchers in countries torn by civil war, such as Syria, continue to be in dire straits and that researchers are particularly at risk when dissidents in countries like Turkey come under extreme pressure. This increase in applications however also shows how many universities in Germany want to help and get involved. We thank the German Bundestag and the Federal Foreign Office for the additional funding that has put us in a position to grant twice as many fellowships as in the previous round. We also wish to thank the foundations supporting us for their generous assistance.” But even if there continues to be an urgent need for support, the first successes of the work being done for threatened scientists are now also evident, Aufderheide stressed: “Today many universities have representatives who look after threatened researchers, and the fellows from the first round of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative are already working successfully at their institutes.”

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative was established by the Humboldt Foundation with assistance from Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. Financial assistance is provided by the Federal Foreign Office, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Stiftung Mercator. The initiative is named after the Jewish pathologist Philipp Schwartz who had to flee Nazi Germany in 1933 and later established the Notgemeinschaft deutscher Wissenschaftler im Ausland (Emergency Organisation of German Scientists and Scholars Abroad).

Besides fellowships, the initiative also provides funding for establishing necessary structures at the host institutions, conducting conferences for sharing information, and for networking host institutions with one another. In this connection, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation works closely with international partners such as the Scholars at Risk network, the Scholar Rescue Fund and the Council for At-Risk Academics.


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