27 October 2015, No. 23/2015

New aid programme for persecuted researchers

Presentation of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative on 30 October in Berlin

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Federal Foreign Office are jointly planning a new programme to support researchers who are threatened by war and persecution in their own countries and are seeking sanctuary in Germany: the Philipp Schwartz Initiative will provide German universities and research institutions with the means to host foreign researchers for a period of two to three years so that they can continue their work. In 2016 and 2017 respectively, approximately 20 researchers should benefit in this way. The final figures will depend on the financing, which is currently under discussion.
The Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced the initiative in June, saying “By becoming actively involved today, we are, in a small way, repaying other countries for what they did for German researchers decades ago.”

“We want to send a signal about the openness of German science. We intend to help people who can benefit our science system but who will be desperately needed in their own countries when it comes to rebuilding them in the hopefully not too distant future,” said Helmut Schwarz, the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

A further objective of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative is to generate a consciousness in Germany for the situation of researchers who have experienced displacement. With the help of information events, conferences and advisory services – provided, amongst others, by experienced organisations like the Scholars at Risk Network and the Scholar Rescue Fund – German universities and research institutions will be able to acquire and share information on the ways in which they can help.

The programme is named after the Jewish pathologist Philipp Schwartz who had to flee Germany from the Nazis in 1933 and subsequently founded the “Notgemeinschaft deutscher Wissenschaftler im Ausland” (Emergency Society of German Scholars Abroad).

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative will be presented at a conference for representatives of research and business:

Persecuted researchers – what Germany can do
Conference to launch the Philipp Schwartz Initiative

Location: dbb Forum, Friedrichstraße 169/170, 10117 Berlin/Germany
Time: Friday, 30.10.2015, 11.30 am – 3 pm

Journalists are most welcome. Please register for accreditation by Thursday, 29 October, by writing to presse@avh.de and please follow the instructions on the response form.

Press contact at the event: Teresa Havlicek Tel. 0151-67 317 585

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 26,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 52 Nobel Prize winners.


Teresa Havlicek
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-423
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Georg Scholl
Head of
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441