Science stipends in Germany for twenty refugees | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 27.10.2015
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Science stipends in Germany for twenty refugees

Refugees with a background in science are being encouraged to apply for the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, which will provide 20 individuals with three-year stipends for research work in Germany.

Applications for the stipends are open to individuals who have arrived in Germany under refugee status or who currently reside beyond Germany's borders but could theoretically enter the country as a refugee.

The latter might include a refugee currently residing in Serbia, for example, or a former University of Aleppo professor who has not left Syria but who would likely qualify as a refugee in Germany.

Georg Scholl, a spokesman at the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation, told DW that interested individuals should submit their proposals to a university in Germany.

The German university will then fill out the relevant paperwork and apply for the stipend on that scientist's behalf.

"They choose the researchers who they think should receive the stipends," Scholl said.

An independent organization must then attest to the applicant's persecution.

"We don't prescribe how universities should go about doing that," Scholl said.

One option in Germany is the local chapter of the Scholars at Risk network. Abroad, prospective applicants can contact their local German embassy.

Refugees already living in asylum centers in Germany will - hopefully - learn of the opportunity via information boards at their asylum centers. "That is one possibility," Scholl said.

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative is a collective effort by Germany's Foreign Office and the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation. It is named in honor of Jewish scientist Philipp Schwartz, who fled Nazi Germany in 1933 after newly introduced laws stripped him of his Frankfurt professorship.

One goal of the initiative is to "develop awareness in Germany of the situation for researchers with experience fleeing."

The first of the 20 Philipp Schwartz stipends for refugees will be awarded in 2016. They will provide for a maximum of three years' scientific research in Germany.

The Alexander von Humbolt Foundation annually provides stipends to 2,000 scientists worldwide.

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