Information for refugee and persecuted researchers and doctoral students

Important questions and answers for refugee and persecuted researchers and doctoral candidates

I fled Ukraine, how can I continue my doctorate at HU?

If you had already started your doctorate in Ukraine, you can come to Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin as a visiting researcher. For you to be able to do so, one of our researchers needs to host you. The Humboldt Graduate School (HGS) assists you in finding a host. Contact:

Who can advise me on doing a doctorate in Germany?

The Humboldt Graduate School (HGS) offers general advice on doctoral studies. Topics cover doctoral studies in Germany, application and enrolment, supervision and how to find supervisors, funding as well as different forms of doctoral studies. When it comes to the actual processing of applications, admissions and enrolment, the HGS will gladly refer you to the appropriate offices at the relevant faculties or the general enrolment office. Contact:

What options do I have after my doctorate?

Our career counselling focuses on your career prospects within and outside of academia: What are the prospects within your field? How can you actively shape your career? How does the application process work? The Humboldt Graduate School (HGS) offers guidance and counselling regarding these questions. Contact:

Does Humboldt-Universität offer accommodation for refugee researchers?

The university has very few accommodation options. The university awards these to refugee researchers who have been accepted at HU. If you need assistance, please feel free to contact At Freie Universität Berlin there is an appeal for private accommodation for refugees.

Individuals in need of accommodation find assistance at the Berlin Arrival center, Saatwinkler Damm in 13405 Berlin, open 24/7. All official information can be found on The platform arranges accommodation.

Is there a mentoring programme for refugee scholars at HU?

Refugee scholars can find mentors through the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

There's also Academics in Solidarity, a peer mentoring programme that connects exiled researchers and established scholars in Germany.

What is the HU scholarship programme and how can I participate?

If you are a researcher and have applied for third party funding (or are going to do so) with partners at HU, you are eligible for a monthly scholarship of 1500 euros plus additional funding for material resources for your academic work at HU (if needed). Our faculties are in charge of nominating candidates; you cannot actively apply for the programme.


What funding opportunities are there specifically for refugee and persecuted researchers?

Various German foundations offer fellowships, e.g. the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. Please address your enquiries about third party funding and emergency aid to Neda Soltani at the International Department. 


Can Ukrainian scientists* be financially supported from (non-)project funds?
Please note that most short-term support can only be realized as grants/scholarships - if the selection is made by the funders, the grant notification is not mandatory. In case of doubt, please ask the  Research Service Centre how to properly apply for a scholarship.
In case of hiring, please be sure to cancel your application for a scholarship. For more information, please contact the Human Resources Department or the Research Service Centre (especially if you are a researcher from the Humboldt University and want to hire a Ukrainian refugee researcher).

What other funding opportunities are there for refugee researchers?

The following list was compiled by the Research Service Centre. If you are interested, please contact the university’s Research Service Centre for advice.

Participation in DFG-Projects

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) offers refugee researchers at various levels of academic qualification the opportunity to participate in on-going DFG projects: Claims for additional staff may be made for research projects already funded by DFG, thus allowing for the involvement of refugee researchers.

All project leaders and higher education institutions can submit supplemental proposals to integrate qualified refugees – prospective or doctoral researchers – in DFG projects that already receive funding. These proposals can be justified based on the fact that individuals are now available for the further development of a project whose involvement can be expected to provide additional stimuli for the research program in question.

Special program for Ukraine

The DFG is now offering separate support for Ukrainian researchers (project leaders) who are in Ukraine and are still able to pursue research in the case of Research Grants, Research Units, and Priority Programmes and under the existing DFG procedure “Cooperation with Developing Countries,” applicants in Germany can now apply for funds to cover the living expenses of Ukrainian project leaders in a maximum amount of €1,000 per month per project leader for project implementation in Ukraine and can pass these funds on to the individuals concerned in the event of approval.

Walter Benjamin-Programm (DFG)

Goal: The integration of refugee researchers into the German science system. The program accepts applications from all disciplines, and you can freely choose your research subject.

The prerequisite for the program is that the refugee researchers agree in advance with a scientist at a research institution on how they can be supported for this project and their future careers.

Target group: refugee researchers. (Post-Doc)

Application deadlines: open continuously.

Duration: maximum two years.

 Financial conditions: Salary for the postdoc position, funds for material and travel costs, as well as publication costs of EUR 250 per month. Additional funds for publishing the project results are only possible in case of a book publication with high production costs.

Language skills: An application can be submitted in either German or English.

Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU): MOE Fellowship Special Programme Ukraine

Goal: The further qualification of university graduates from all disciplines on environmentally relevant topics, knowledge transfer in science, administration, and practice, and international networking between environmental experts from all fields through fellowships. Social, law, and natural science applications are very welcome.

Target group: university graduates and doctoral students with residence in Ukraine or refugee status in Ukraine.

Application deadlines: March 5, 2024, and September 5, 2023 every year.

Duration: 6 to 12 months.

Financial conditions: €1,350 per month, German courses, participation in seminars and events

Language skills: The interview can take place in German or English. Good knowledge of German must be required before the beginning of the fellowship.

Einstein Stiftung Berlin

Goal: To enable scientists who are threatened in crisis areas or whose work is restricted in their home countries to work in Berlin for up to two years. At the same time, Berlin's profile as a tolerant and cosmopolitan city should be strengthened.

Target group: international scientists who cannot freely carry out their scientific work or are threatened in their home countries. The productive period of stay in safe third countries or Germany may not exceed four years at the time of submitting the application (without considering periods of flight).

Application deadlines: not yet published for the next academic year.

Duration: up to two years.

Financial conditions: own position (normally TV-L 13) or scholarship (max. of €2,100) as well as project-related funds of a maximum of €30,000 for a period of two years.

Language skills: an application should be submitted in English.

IIE Scholar Rescue Fund

Goal: The Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) of the Institute of International Education is the only global program that arranges, finances, and supports scholarships for threatened and displaced scientists at partner universities worldwide.

Target group: Professors, researchers, and public intellectuals who face threats and cannot continue their work in their home countries.

Application deadlines: open continuously.

Duration: 9 to 12 months. In most cases, IIE-SRF scholars are eligible to apply for a second and final year of scholarship funding.

Amount: $25,000, $2,000 to $5,000 relocation allowance.

Language skills: The application should be submitted in English.

Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung

Goal: As part of the program, the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation fulfills its mission to promote science in a social context.

Target group: Eastern European scientists spending a guest year at a German research institution.

Application deadlines: open continuously. Professors of all subjects at German universities and directors of non-university research institutions are eligible to submit nominations.

Duration: 1 year

Financial conditions: depending on the resources available.

Language skills: German or English B2

Heinrich Böll Stiftung

Goal: To support young people who will continue to assume responsibility in politics, science, and society in the future and who will support the fundamental values ​​of the Heinrich Böll Foundation worldwide. Promoting young talent as a contribution to democratic culture.

Target group: Refugees, international doctoral students (EU, outside EU). Dissertation topics related to the main areas of work of the Heinrich Böll Foundation have priority.

Application deadlines: March 1st and September 1st annually. Only online applications are accepted. The online portal opens approximately six weeks before the application deadline.

Financial conditions: €1200 per month and a flat rate of €100 per month for study costs/research costs/mobility.

Duration: PhD period.

Language skills: Proof of German language skills level B2 or DSH 2 is required for the application.

Hilde Domin Program

Goal: To provide a secure environment for students and doctoral candidates to pursue academic studies or research projects. This will enable them to make significant contributions to the political, economic, and social development of their home countries and Germany or other nations.

Target group: BA and MA students and doctoral students at risk

Application deadlines: twice a year.

Duration: Bachelor's degree: Up to 36 months of funding ((in exceptional cases plus 12 months of preparatory college), master’s degree: Up to 24 months, Doctoral degree: Up to 48 months.

Financial conditions: a monthly scholarship installment of EUR 934 for bachelor's and master's students or EUR 1,200 for doctoral students, health care, accident, and private liability insurance, and a subsidy for travel costs based on the country of origin or current country of residence.

If necessary, participation in a previous German language course (two, four, or six months) depends on the language skills acquired so far and the language skills required for the intended study or doctoral project and other additional services.

Language skills: German or English B2.

Philip Schwarzer Initiative

Goal: To continue the work of scientists exposed to significant and ongoing personal danger in their countries of origin at German universities and research institutions.

Target group: researchers at risk – regardless of subject area and country of origin

Application deadlines for the next academic year have not yet been published.

Duration: up to 24 months; an extension of up to 12 months as part of a co-financing model can be applied during the initial funding period.

Financial conditions: 2,500 euros per month, a 100-euro mobility allowance, and health and liability insurance assistance.

Language skills: the ones that are required for the successful implementation of the research project.

Database of Support Options.


A database of support offers for students and researchers from Ukraine, provided by international universities and partners of DAAD.

Initiatives for artists and journalists


Annalena Baerbock, the Foreign Minister, and Claudia Roth, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, have launched the "Hannah Arendt Initiative". This initiative aims to support journalists, media professionals, and freedom of expression advocates facing crisis and conflict in foreign countries or in exile in Germany.

Journalists from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Russia, and Belarus receive support, including emergency grants, training, regional scholarships, and measures for safety while in exile in Germany.

Martin Roth Initiative

Funding from the Martin Roth Initiative allows host organizations to provide safe accommodations and scholarships for at-risk artists and cultural workers.