Information for Researchers, No. 4 | January 9, 2020

Refugee Scientists and Academics: DFG Aims to Continue Facilitating Participation in Research Projects

Contributing to academic and social integration

Contributing to academic and social integration

Since December 2015, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has been offering funding options for academic researchers who have fled their home countries. So far, this has primarily enabled refugee researchers in their doctoral and postdoctoral phases to be supported by integrating them in established projects.

The DFG aims to continue facilitating the integration of refugee researchers into the German research system. It encourages project leaders to employ qualified individuals with a refugee background in DFG-funded research projects at all academic career levels. Funding is available for individuals who have been granted a residence status within the context of an asylum process that confirms a recognised risk.

In general, refugee researchers can be supported in all DFG funding programmes using existing grant funds without the need to submit a separate funding proposal to the DFG. For example, refugees with a bachelor's degree or comparable qualification can receive a qualifying fellowship for later doctoral research in a Research Training Group or be accepted directly into such a group.

In some DFG funding programmes (research grants, Priority Programmes, Research Units, Clinical Research Units, Centres for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences and Research Training Groups), it is possible to submit supplemental proposals to integrate qualified refugee researchers in existing DFG projects. Supplemental proposals can be submitted for any funding that allows relevant individuals to be integrated in a project, especially guest funding and staff funding. For the integration of established researchers, the Mercator module is an especially suitable option. This can be used to cover accommodation and travel expenses and also provide remuneration at a level which, as with guest funding, is based on academic qualifications.

Supplemental proposals can be submitted informally at any time and should not exceed five pages (not including curriculum vitae and bibliography). Proposals must contain details of the person to be integrated in the project and explain what added value their participation would contribute to the project. Applicants should ensure that the proposal is clear and detailed enough to allow prompt review in accordance with the DFG's standard quality criteria.

To integrate refugee researchers, Collaborative Research Centres are encouraged to use their approved lump-sum funding, which allows them to respond to developments flexibly, autonomously and directly. The same applies to Clusters of Excellence.

The legal framework for the integration of refugee scientists and academics is the responsibility of project leaders and of universities or non-university research institutions. This includes the verification of academic qualifications and the examination of legal requirements, for example for the purposes of fellowship or employment contracts.

Further Information

For more information visit:

DFG programme contact:

For Research Training Groups:

For Collaborative Research Centres, Research Centres (FZT) and Clusters of Excellence:

For all other funding programmes: