13 July 2016, No. 12/2016

Sponsorship programme for threatened researchers goes into second round

With the support of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, another 24 threatened reseachers are due to start working at German universities and research institutions from January 2017.

Today, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is launching the second round of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative which receives funding from the Federal Foreign Office. The programme supports scientists and scholars who seek safe haven in Germany from war and persecution in their own countries.

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative allows German universities and research institutions to host foreign researchers at risk for a period of two years.

The new call for applications for the programme opens today. Universities and research institutions which would like to host a threatened researcher can apply to the Humboldt Foundation until 14 October 2016. Click here for detailed information on the programme.

Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier: “By continuing the Philipp Schwartz Initiative we are sending out a clear message that in such a conflict-laden world, protecting researchers at risk is a long-term task. The researchers who are now experiencing solidarity and open doors at German universities and research institutions are indispensable for achieving a better future for their countries. Through the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, we want to play our part in ensuring that when they return to their own countries one day these fellows will be able to help create better living and working conditions there.”

“The first recipients of sponsorship under the initiative have already shown us how urgently these researchers need our support,” says Enno Aufderheide, the Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. “Many of them come from completely devastated homes, some have had to endure constant interrogation, prison or life in refugee camps. This initiative means these highly-qualified researchers have now found a place where they can work and live with their families in safety.” So far, 23 researchers from Syria, Turkey, Libya, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have benefitted from the opportunity to pursue their research at selected institutions in Germany under the Philipp Schwarz Initiative.

From January 2017, up to 24 further endangered scientists and scholars will be able to receive fellowships so that they can continue their work at universities and research institutions in Germany.

Under the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation cooperates with experienced partner organisations such as the Scholars at Risk Network, the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund and the Council for At-Risk Academics.

In the course of the programme, a platform is being developed for knowledge sharing amongst universities and research institutions on the specific situation of researchers at risk. In Bonn on 20 September 2016, interested universities and research institutions will be able to inform themselves about the planned German section of the international Scholars at Risk Network.

The financial support provided for the Philipp Schwartz Initiative by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office is supplemented by financial assistance from private sources. Currently, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Stiftung Mercator have pledged funds of just under €1.5 million.

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

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 27,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 52 Nobel Prize winners.

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Georg Scholl
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