9 February 2017, No. 02/2017

Philipp Schwartz Initiative: Extension of funding programme for researchers under threat

From August 2017, up to 30 more threatened researchers will be able to work at German universities and research institutions.

With the support of the Federal Foreign Office, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is today launching the third round of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. The programme supports researchers who seek refuge in Germany because they are threatened by war or persecution in their own countries.

The initiative enables universities and research institutions in Germany to host threatened foreign researchers for two years, allowing them to continue their work.

The new call for the Philipp Schwartz Initiative begins today. Universities and research institutions that would like to host such a researcher can submit applications to the Humboldt Foundation until 21 April 2017. Visit here for additional information on the programme.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel comments: “In many parts of the world researchers are still persecuted for their views or threatened by wars. The moving fates of the Philipp Schwartz Fellows to date have shown how important our support for threatened researchers really is. These scientists and scholars are also a bonus for our universities. They not only make valuable contributions to research, they also help to develop a consciousness amongst students for the importance of academic freedom.”

So far, 69 researchers from Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Burundi, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been given the opportunity to conduct research at the winning institutions in Germany thanks to the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. This new round of the programme will bring the total number of fellowship recipients to approximately one hundred from August.

“We are delighted to be able to create an ever-broader basis for supporting threatened researchers in Germany,” emphasises Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.“ Universities and research institutions from across almost the entire country have now taken in researchers under theat. Our host institutions increasingly include smaller institutes and universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen), a trend we particularly welcome,” Aufderheide continues.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is cooperating on the Philipp Schwartz Initiative with experienced partner organisations like the Scholars at Risk Network, the Scholar Rescue Fund of the Institute of International Education and the Council for At-Risk Academics.

The funding provided by the Federal Foreign Office to finance the Philipp Schwartz Initiative is complemented by private donations. Up to now, the 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 supported the initiative with funds amounting to almost €1.7 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 28,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 54 Nobel Prize winners.


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