Cover of Humboldt Kosmos 106/2016: Threatened

No. 106/2016


How researchers become refugees

Whether from Syria or Iran, Turkey or Ethiopia: in 2016, researchers from many parts of the world had to leave their own countries. The fates and stories behind their flight, irrespective of the countries they hail from, illustrate how important help for these researchers really is.

In this edition, we tell some of these stories and throw light on the few existing statistics on researchers forced to flee. The figures show that they do so not only because their lives are in danger from war, but because they are threatened and intimidated due to their research.

In order to offer them safe haven, the Humboldt Foundation, together with the Federal Foreign Office, has launched the Philipp Schwartz Initiative which finds places for endangered and persecuted researchers at German universities. The first fellows have already started working at institutes in Germany. In this Kosmos, we are therefore not only able to report on cases of threat and displacement, but also of hope and solidarity amongst researchers who help their colleagues in need.


On Dangerous Paths

They flee from violence and destruction just like other people, but because they are independent thinkers, researchers are often subject to greater threat.


Keeping Prospects Alive

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on the Philipp Schwartz Initiative


Safe Haven: University

When threatened researchers have fled abroad they need support to find their feet at university once again. Many institutions run special programmes in order to help.

Brief enquiries

Mr Adum, How Do You Save Frogs?

Gilbert Adum is Ghana’s frogman. As one of the founders and head of the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana organisation, he passionately campaigns for the survival of the amphibians in his native country.

Brief enquiries

How Do You Make Nano Robots out of DNA and Gold, Ms Liu?

A mini robot that is made of the same material as our DNA, that can be controlled by light and that can move within a cell ? This is no longer a future vision.

Brief enquiries

Mr Müllensiefen, How Does Music Make Children Smarter?

The music psychologist from the University of London is a soughtafter expert when it comes to investigating the impact of music on people.

Brief enquiries

How Does Mathematics Help Fishermen, Mr Fall?

Mouhamed Moustapha Fall wants to develop a mathematically precise model based on the data relating to the catch and the fish stocks.

Brief enquiries

Can Aloe Vera Help to Cultivate Bone Cells, Ms Goonoo?

Nowsheen Goonoo from Mauritius experiments with substances taken from indigenous plants.

Focus on Germany

Good Friends Despite Brexit

The British are leaving the EU, which could mean that relations with Germany become more important. What could help is that people on the island have a more positive image of the Germans than they used to.

Close up on research

"You Can Open A Shell Company in Five Minutes"

Brooke Harrington spoke to people who only seldom give interviews, let alone divulge tax tricks. In order to get to the heart of the matter, the economic sociologist decided to join them.

Humboldtians in private

Brothers in Spirit

The brothers Professor Dr Karl Sebastian Lang and Professor Dr Philipp Lang were both granted the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award.


Anneliese Maier Research Awards Granted

The economy, financial markets, new media, history, and the effects of music: The Anneliese Maier Research Awards of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


Initiative to Inform About Experimental Animal Research

The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany has launched a new initiative to provide comprehensive and transparent information on research involving experiments on animals.


Israeli and German Researchers Build Networks

A Humboldt Colloquium entitled brought together some 200 Humboldt Foundation alumni, junior researchers and invited guests in Tel Aviv.

The faces of the foundation

Mrs @nline

Who actually does what at Humboldt headquarters? Who are the people behind the scenes making sure that everything runs smoothly? These are the colleagues at the Humboldt Foundation, their lives at work and beyond. Today: Ulla Hecken.