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The Philipp Schwartz Initiative provides universities and research institutions in Germany with the means to host threatened foreign researchers for a period of 24 months on a fully funded research fellowship. An extension is possible under a co-financing model.

The Initiative is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, with generous additional support from the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Stifterverband, and the Stiftung Mercator.

Applications for the fourth round of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative may be submitted until 15 May 2018. The selection will take place by 15 September 2018. Funding has been confirmed for at least 20 grants. Please find the application documents here.

Who can apply?

Research-performing institutions in Germany in the following categories may apply:

  • public and state-recognised universities, including universities of applied sciences (“Fachhochschulen”)
  • Max Planck Institutes, Helmholtz Institutes, Leibniz Institutes, Fraunhofer Institutes
  • Federal and State Research Institutes
  • other research-performing institutions that can convincingly demonstrate their research focus and infrastructures

Successful applicants will be able to grant a Philipp Schwartz Fellowship to a threatened researcher. In detail:

  • institutions that were successful in previous calls for applications (no submission of support concepts in the current call; only nomination of researcher)
  • institutions that applied but were not successful in previous calls for applications
  • institutions that have not applied for Philipp Schwartz funding before

Please note that researchers cannot apply on an individual basis. We recommend that researchers interested in this programme contact potential host institutions in Germany, which may be in a position to submit an application.


Who is eligible for a Philipp Schwartz fellowship?

Threatened researchers from any academic field and any country of origin who

  • have completed their doctorate or a comparable academic degree (PhD, CSc or equivalent)
  • do not reside or have not been resident outside their own country for more than three years; researchers who hold German university entrance qualifications (“Bildungsinländer”) are not eligible
  • possess the language skills required to successfully conduct their research projects
  • possess academic qualifications (e.g. publications)
  • possess potential to be integrated into the (research-related) job market
  • who have not yet been funded in the context of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative
  • persons that have access to residence in safe countries due to multiple citizenship and German citizens are not eligible for nomination
  • multiple nominations of one person by several institutions are not permitted

The Humboldt Foundation imposes no restrictions with regard to country of origin or current location if the threat can be confirmed in accordance with the programme guidelines.

If an institution is interested in hosting a threatened researcher, but not aware of a specific person, they are invited to contact the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR), and the Scholar Rescue Fund of the Institute of International Education (SRF), and the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA). All three organisations are experienced in placing threatened researchers and are able to make suggestions accordingly.

What does the funding include?

Host institutions will receive funding from the Humboldt Foundation and act as fellowship-granting agencies, awarding a Philipp Schwartz fellowship to the threatened researcher. The funding consists of two components:

  • fellowship funds including subsidies of 3,500 EUR/month for up to 24 months (an extension of up to 12 months on the context of a co-financing model may be granted upon application in the course of the initial funding period)
  • a one-off lump sum of 12,000 EUR for the host institution

What are the elements of an application?

  • concept for a sustainable support infrastructure for threatened researchers (this does not apply to institutions successful in the 1st or 2nd call for applications)
  • application for a Philipp Schwartz fellowship including confirmation that the researcher is threatened
  • financing plan

How can a threat to a researcher be confirmed in the context of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative?

In the context of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, a pertinent threat can be confirmed in two ways:

  • by way of a residence status in the context of an asylum-granting procedure that confirms a recognised threat
  • by way of a credible threat assessment issued no more than 12 months ago by a third party, such as the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR), the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF), or the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA)

Please note that SRF and CARA can only accept such requests from universities and other institutions, while SAR will accept requests for threat assessments both from institutions and from individual at-risk researchers. Please do not approach more than one partner organization for an assessment.

In order to ensure that assessments can be completed in time, all relevant documentation must be submitted to our partners SAR, SRF, or CARA at least three weeks before the application deadline of the respective call. Otherwise the review by our partners may not be concluded in time.

Further information

In each individual case, the host institution is responsible for ensuring that, in terms of residence legislation, the status of the person to be sponsored does allow him/her to stay at the respective host institution in the context of the Philipp Schwartz fellowship. Double funding is not permitted.

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