Funding opportunities

Whether you are a PhD candidate or a senior researcher: there are many options to find funding in Germany.

A man is signing a contract for scholarship or work.

Finding financial support to pursue your goal of being a researcher or doing your PhD in Germany can be vital. The good news is: there are plenty of scholarships and other funding actions in place, offered by various agents in the field of academic work and higher education. The DAAD, for example, not only provides funding for individuals, but also for higher education institutions to carry out their own projects to support refugee researchers and students. As there are many options, finding the right programme for you will involve some research on your part.

If you are already in contact with a German university, ask the staff of its international office or welcome centre for advice on funding and scholarships. Or browse through the information below to find programmes and helpful platforms and databases online.

One more tip: be aware that depending on the programme, there are different modes of application. Some programmes offer scholarships for which you can apply directly, others require an application by your German research institution.

Funding programmes

General information and funding programmes

The Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) was established by the Federal Government of Germany to further academic exchange and cooperation between Germany and other countries. On its website, it offers information on sponsorship opportunities for researchers at riskclustered into mode of application (direct application by the researcher vs. application via the hosting institution). Additionally, it lists networks and contact points for researchers seeking refuge.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), or DFG, is one of Germany’s funding organisations for research projects. With the Walter Benjamin Programme, researchers can propose their project (which is to be conducted in Germany) for funding, and project leaders and institutions can apply for additional funding to integrate a refugee researcher into their ongoing DFG project.

The MSCA are the European Union’s reference programme for doctoral education and postdoctoral training, including grant funding. Both individuals and institutions can apply for funding. You can find more information on the MSCA website under the “How to apply” section.

Philipp Schwartz Initiative

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative enables universities and research institutions in Germany to host researchers at risk on the basis of a full fellowship.


Information and funding for researchers from Ukraine

The National Academic Contact Point Ukraine (Nationale Akadamische Kontaktstelle Ukraine) has compiled an ongoing list of support offers for Ukrainian refugee researchers, clustered by German cities and regional/national/international offers.

Search tools for job offers and funding

There are several platforms, websites and databases that summarise funding opportunities, list contact points and give general information on life and work in Germany.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers. With its database, you can browse through the DAAD’s extensive pool of scholarships and refine your search for specific positions, subjects and more.

EURAXESS is a European initiative that provides information and advisory services for researchers and their employers on its website. In the “Jobs and Funding” section, you will find search tools for both job offers and funding opportunities for your research project. Several filters allow you to refine your search, including a country filter that can be set to Germany. For job offers, you can check the “Science4Refugees” filter which will show refugee-friendly positions as a result.

On its website, the Science4Ukraine initiative bundles funding programmes, educational offers and other support for Ukrainian researchers and students in different countries, including Germany.

Funding for (future) PhD candidates

Many funding programmes and databases (see above) include actions for those seeking to acquire a PhD in Germany. If you are in search of PhD vacancies and funding, the following databases and websites might help you find the information you need.

  • The Higher Education Compass by the German Rectors’ Conference HRK provides a search tool for PhD positions in Germany and information on foundations and funds for financial support. 
  • The DAAD PhDGermany database lists doctoral programmes in Germany. You can set a filter for funded programmes and positions.