German Universities unite to provide more support for threatened researchers
Application for supporting fellowships still open

Representatives of all the universities involved with Thomas Hesse, Deputy Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation and Sinead O'Gorman, European Director of the international Scholars at Risk Network (Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Anne Servos)
Representatives of all the universities involved with Thomas Hesse, Deputy Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation and Sinead O’Gorman, European Director of the international Scholars at Risk Network (Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Anne Servos)

Their countries are plagued by war, the freedom of their research is restricted or they are subject to persecution: in many parts of the world, academics are at risk. But how can we best support these researchers? Can German universities provide a safe haven for them to continue their work? In Bonn last Tuesday, 20 universities and research institutions were founding the German Section of the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR) in order to coordinate a response to these issues and draw attention to infringements of academic freedom. The SAR Germany Section represents Germany in the global Scholars at Risk Network which includes over 400 higher education institutions in 40 countries. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will host the secretariat of the German Section until March 2019 .

The SAR Germany Section will also support the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, a programme jointly developed by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Federal Foreign Office that supports threatened researchers through research fellowships at German universities. In aiding threatened researchers, the Humboldt Foundation will also continue to partner with the Scholar Rescue Fund and the Council for At-Risk Academics.

“Cooperation with universities all over the world is crucial if we are going to help threatened researchers,” commented Thomas Hesse, Deputy Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Sinead O’Gorman, European Director of the international Scholars at Risk Network, emphasised, “We are delighted to mark the founding of the SAR Germany Section. By joining forces in this way, German universities can do even more to support threatened scholars, and help foster the conditions necessary for free intellectual exchange.”

Until 14 October universities and other research institutions in Germany can apply for funding from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to support threatened researchers in the context of the 2nd call for applications in the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. Host institutions are enabled to grant research fellowships to threatened scientists and scholars for research stays of up to 24 months. In addition, funding is available to create corresponding support structures at the host institutions. An accompanying support programme will foster the exchange of experiences between interested institutions, drawing on the expertise of the Scholars at Risk Network, the Scholar Rescue Fund, and the Council for At-Risk Academics.

In the current call for applications, up to 24 fellowships are available (of which up to 16 may be awarded to institutions with no prior Philipp Schwartz funding, and up to 8 to institutions that have received prior Philipp Schwartz funding in the context of the 1st call). Please find the application documents here.

Applications must be submitted by 14 October 2016. Please refer to the TUD Welcome Center as soon as possible via e-mail to welcome.center@tu-dresden.de

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Stiftung, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Stiftung Mercator.

(based on press release https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/press-release-2016-21.html from 20 September 2016)

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