Afghanistan: Special funding for refugee researchers

With special funding, the Volkswagen Foundation offers researchers who have fled Afghanistan the chance to continue their work in Germany. This is made possible by additional funds for funded projects and further fellowships at the Academy in Exile. A total of up to 2.9 million euros will be available for this purpose.

Due to the current situation in Afghanistan, the Foundation has initiated special funding for scholars and scientists who have fled the country. On the one hand, projects that have already received funding can apply for additional funds to integrate Afghan researchers into their project work. With this, the Foundation is relaunching its "Funding for Refugee Scholars and Scientists", which was introduced in 2015, and is focusing on researchers from Afghanistan. Under the previous funding offer, the Foundation has funded 23 researchers with a total of 2.8 million euros.

On the other hand, the "Academy in Exile" used a further grant from the Volkswagen Foundation to offer ten fellowships with a term of two years (application deadline was Nov. 10, 2021). The Academy is run jointly by the University of Duisburg-Essen, Freie Universität Berlin, the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen, and the Forum Transregional Studies in Berlin, and has already been supported by the Foundation since 2017. With the newly approved funds, the Afghan fellows can be integrated into existing Academy structures in Berlin and Essen. They will also benefit from exchanges with each other and with the fellows who have already received funding.

"As an independent funder of science and research, we can react flexibly and quickly to current events, such as those in Afghanistan, and help researchers in their time of need. Our experience from previous years in supporting refugees, for example from Syria and Turkey, is useful here," says Dr. Georg Schütte, Secretary General of the Volkswagen Foundation.


Information on the "Funding for Refugee Scholars and Scientists from Afghanistan" can be found on the initiative page: Information on Academy in Exile fellowships is available at:

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