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Photo: University of Bonn

Scholars at Risk | Germany Section | NRW Group

The NRW group is a network of universities hosting refugee and at-risk scholars in North Rhine-Westfalia.

Amongst other things, the network organizes regular meetings, usually twice a year, for its member organisations plus a series of workshops (see below) for scientists. It also operates a mailing list.

Universities interested in an exchange are welcome to contact
Sibel Schmidt:

2023 Support Program for Scholars at Risk

In 2023, five of the Scholars at Risk member institutions in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) are continuing to offer a collaborative support program for at-risk scholars. The Philipp Schwartz fellows of the participating institutions are the target group of this program, but other interested at-risk scholars may also apply for participation. The workshops and seminars discuss various research- and career-related issues and are intended to help at-risk scholars with starting their professional life in Germany.  


Who can participate?

Philipp Schwartz fellows of the involved institutions and other interested at-risk scholars.

How to participate?

Please reach out to the contact person at your institution if you would like to participate. If you are not already known by the contact person, you might be required to submit your CV and a letter of motivation. The respective institutions will then decide on your application. Interested participants may join the program at any time. 


What’s on offer?

More workshops may be added to this page over the course of time. Participation in all events is desirable, but not mandatory. It is also possible to join only selected events. Invitations with detailed information will be sent to the participants in due time before the event takes place. We kindly ask for your understanding that it is not possible to participate without prior registration. Participation is free of charge.


Please reach out to the contact person at your university if you wish to register.

If you are a scholar from a university that is not listed here, please get in touch with the contact person for at-risk scholars at your university and ask them to contact us for you.

Please note that the program is meant for postdocs.



 29-03-2023 – “Mind Cleaning and Integration into the New Workspace After Flee” (University of Düsseldorf)

As people who have had to flee their country, we have all made too many decisions in a very short period (before, during, and after the flee). This particular experience leads to what is known as the Cognitive Overload of the brain, which can negatively affect the quality of our decision-making in many areas of life. In this seminar, we will discuss the psychological journey of refugees, and I will share some practical solutions for dealing with these psychological challenges. In addition, as foreign employees in the German academy, we usually face many personal and professional challenges. In this regard, one can save time and energy by being aware of these challenges in advance. Therefore, in this seminar, I will also share with you my personal experiences and the solutions I have applied to overcome these challenges.

Douman S. Sarouei (Reseacher/Lecturer at Heinrich-Heine University. Douman Sarouei combines his professional psychological knowledge with personal experience to conduct workshops on the efficient integration of highly skilled immigrants into German workplaces. )
Online Seminar: 23-02-2023, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. 


 19-04-2023 – “The German Social Security System” (University of Düsseldorf)

Germany has a reputation for having one of the best social security systems in the world. At its core, the social security system is based on five pillars: health insurance, long-term care insurance, pension insurance, unemployment insurance and accident insurance.

But how does the system actually work? Which insurances are available for international researchers? What differences apply to researchers with a work contract and those with a scholarship? What are the benefits of statutory health insurance? What do you need to consider when seeing a doctor? Which additional private insurances are beneficial for international researchers? All these questions will be addressed in this information session. Furthermore, the event will provide time to address participants' individual questions.

Dr. Sigrun Wegener-Feldbrügge (JUNO)
Online Seminar: 19-04-2023;  5:00 – 6:30 p.m.


10-05-2023 – “German taxes in a nutshell” (University of Düsseldorf)

Depending on their source of income, international researchers living in Germany can be subject to German income tax. This information session will give an overview of the most important aspects of the German income tax for expats and try to tackle the most common questions arising such as: Do I have to pay income taxes? Do I need to make an income tax declaration? When do l have to file my tax return and how? Do I also have to pay taxes in my home country?

A Q&A session will be allocated at the end so as to tend to your personal questions. You are most welcome to send in any specific questions or areas you are interested in prior to the session.

Online Seminar: 10-05-2023; 5 p.m. – 6.30 p.m. 


 14-06-2023  –  “The German academic landscape for internationals” (University of Düsseldorf)

A variety of institutions with diverse objectives and interests characterize the German research landscape. In this seminar, participants will learn about the German higher education system, non-university research institutions as well as possible entry positions and funding opportunities for international junior scientists. In addition, the seminar will also present career prospects beyond research positions.

Dr. Uta Brunner
Online seminar: 14-06-2023; 4:30 – 6 p.m. 


09-08-2023 - Application Training (RWTH Aachen)

This seminar addresses the practical questions that come up when tackling the next step in your career:

How do I search for and find vacancies for scientists in Germany (and Europe)?
How can I define my personal profile for jobs in the different sectors: in science, in the private economy, or in the public service?

What are the expectations of German employers regarding the application documents?
What other options do I have besides looking for a job in a German (or European) company (research fellowships, start-up etc.)?

Dr. Andreas Stützer
Online seminar: 09-08-2023; 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.


19-10-2023 until 20-10-2023 – “Career Planning: What are my further career moves?“ (University of Bonn)

The objectives of this workshop are to find out what your unique abilities and interests are that are critical in determining the right career path for yourself. And how you can combine your ideas about a fulfilled life with a university career. The aim is to develop a strategy for embarking on an academic career path or other career choices.

This seminar focuses on supporting young scientists and researchers by offering possibilities to reflect upon future careers based on individual profiles. Participants develop their own vision for their future personal and professional lives.

Matthias Merkelbach, M.A.
Seminar: 19-10-2023: 09.00 - 17:00 p.m. / 20-10-2023: 09.00 a.m. - 17:00 p.m.


Fall 2023 – “Getting to know Germany“ (University of Cologne)

The aim will be to provide an understanding for certain common cultural traits that can be noticed in daily life here in Germany. Culture is closely tied to history, which is why certain important historical phases will be highlighted in order to show how the consequences of certain events still shape todays´life.

Online seminar: tba



RWTH Aachen
Contact Person: Cathrin Urbanke

University of Cologne
Contact Persons: Sibel Schmidt

University of Siegen
Contact Person: Dr. Nina Fenn

University of Bonn
International Office
Contact Person: Jessica Greis-Mills

University of Düsseldorf
Contact Person: Dr. Sigrun Wegener-Feldbrügge

University of Bochum
Contact Person: Iris Vernekohl