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  • Welcome Centre

    Information for Researchers in Danger and Risk

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Researchers in Danger and at Risk

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Welcome Centre

Help Desk


A central concern of Bielefeld University is to support people in developing their potential in study, research, teaching and to promote academic and scientific freedom.

With supporting researcher in danger and at risk, we are commited to standing up for education, science and diversity.

Scholarship for Researchers in Danger and at Risk

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) administers the scholarship programme “Hilde Domin Programme” with funds from the Federal Foreign Office (AA).

The programme is designed to support doctoral candidates worldwide who are formally or de facto denied the right to education in their country of origin. They are encouraged to take up or continue their studies or doctorate at a German university. The long-term goal of the scholarship programme is to enable students and doctoral candidates to study or conduct research in a safe environment so that they can subsequently make an important contribution to political, economic and social development.*

Requirements for the nomination are:

  • the possession of educational certificates that enable access to a doctorate (Bachelor's/Master's degree) according to the database Anabin (last degree not older than two years)
  • admission or acceptance letter from a prospective supervisor of Bielefeld University
  • a proven or credible threat to personal well-being or safety (e.g. physical violence, arrest, denial of civil or educational rights, etc.)

* all disciplines can be nominated with the exception of Medicine, Arts, Communications, Film and Music and except for the following countries: EU/EEA/EFTA countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the United Kingdom.

Please note that an independent application for the programme is not possible. Nominations are made exclusively by the Rectorate and the International Office of Bielefeld University. Therefore, please contact us at an early stage:

After the successful nomination by Bielefeld University, potential candidates are given the opportunity to apply directly to the DAAD via an online portal. The final selection of the candidates is made by an independent selection committee appointed by the DAAD. In the course of the selection process, both vulnerability and academic performance are assessed.

Further information on the Hilde Domin Programme can also be found on the DAAD website.

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 or an employment contract. 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.

Bielefeld University successfully applied as a host institution with a support concept, allowing new applicants to build on an existing central support concept.

Applications for the current 12th call of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative can be submitted by Bielefeld University to AvH until October 21st, 2022. The internal deadline for application is therefore September 30th, 2022.


Criteria for an application:

  • Research project and acceptance by a Professor of Bielefeld University
  • the researcher must hold a doctorate or a comparable academic degree and not reside or have not been resident outside their home country for more than five years; researchers who hold German university entrance qualifications (“Bildungsinländer”) or persons with dual citizenship are not eligible
  • a residence status in the context of an asylum-granting procedure within the EU that confirms a recognised threat
  • or a credible threat assessment issued by a third party, such as the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR) or the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), within the previous 12 months. Applications for threat assesments must be submitted to Scholars at Risk/CARA as early as possible.

If you have questions regarding the procedure and application you are welcome to contact the Welcome Center: 

Further information can be found on the website of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

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