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University Partnerships with Eastern Europe (Ostpartnerschaften)

This partnership programme dates back to the years of the iron curtain dividing Europe, when German chancellor Willy Brandt tried to build bridges across the divide and promoted the policy of Change through Rapprochement. The bulky title of “Programm zur Förderung von Partnerschaften mit Hochschulen in Mittel-, Ost- und Südosteuropa sowie den Ländern der GUS” is usually referred to as “Ostpartnerschaften”. It is one of the longest running programmes of DAAD, being quite successful since 1973.

While the original aim was rebuilding and supporting academic structures in Eastern Europe, today Ostpartnerschaften build on an equal footing. The cooperation includes all fields of academic studies, teaching and research. Students, doctoral candidates and scientist visit partner universities to participate in conferences or workshops, to do research, exchange ideas, and jointly publish their findings.

The long-term support by DAAD has fostered strong academic networks. The partnership between University of Cologne and St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia for instance has been supported since 1985 and covers twelve departments in five faculties.


Supporting measures are based on reciprocity. For German students and scientist DAAD will cover travel expenses using funds of the federal foreign office. Accommodation shall be covered by the hosting partner university. For foreign students and scientist DAAD will cover costs for accommodation, but not the travel expenses.

Our Partners

St. Kliment University, Sofia

St. Kliment University is the oldest university in Bulgaria and according to university rankings like QS’s it is the best university in the country. Not less than three Bulgarian presidents of state studied at St. Kliment confirming the excellent reputation of the university.

The University of Cologne and St. Kliment University Sofia cooperate actively in the fields of economics, social sciences, law, medicine, philosophy, classical and ancient studies, linguistics, cultural sciences, Slavonic studies, natural sciences and political science.

Jagiellonian University, Krakow

The Jagiellonian University was founded in 1364 making it one of the oldest European universities. The university has seen remarkable minds among its ranks like Nicolaus Copernicus and several Nobel laureates. There are nearly 50’000 students and 4’000 scientists studying, teaching and doing research in 15 faculties. Both THE and QS rankings list the university among the top 400 world-wide.

Cooperation between the Jagiellonian University and the University of Cologne covers a wide range of academic fields, including law, German studies, botany, history of art , history, media culture and theatre, Scandinavian and Finnish studies and Higher Education administration.

University of Warsaw

Counting more than 50’000 students, University of Warsaw is among the biggest and most important Polish universities. International rankings like QS or THE clearly underline this outstanding position. The University of Warsaw has been associated with five Nobel laureates, many renowned scientists, politicians and artists.

The University of Warsaw and the University of Cologne formalized their cooperation only recently in 2015. However the fruitful partnership already embraces a variety of fields such as Slavonic studies, Jewish studies, ancient studies and media studies. Some of these projects are multi-lateral in cooperation with the Higher School of Economics, Moscow.

Charles University in Prague

Founded in 1348, Charles University in Prague is the oldest Central-European university. Both by numbers and by reputation Charles University is the most important university in the Czech Republic. International rankings confirm the outstanding importance of Charles University for Eastern Europe and beyond. Boasting a share of almost 20 % international students and an extraordinary level of research activity, Charles University clearly plays a key-role for academic exchange with and within Eastern Europe.

The long-standing and extensive exchange programme between Cologne and Prague covers several faculties and many areas of research and teaching: statistics, astronomy, physics, teaching of mathematics, inorganic chemistry, procedural law, German studies, general history, Latin-American and Eastern European history, archaeology, history of arts, pre- and early history and political sciences.

National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow

The National Research University was founded in 1992 under the name of Higher School of Economics. In 2009 it has officially been granted the status of Research University. Today the HSE as it is still known offers teaching and research far beyond economics, including business, software development, mathematics, law, media studies, arts, humanities and social sciences.

The MoU between the Higher School of Economics and the University of Cologne was only signed in 2015. Nonetheless academic exchange has been established in three faculties and a number of subjects: Slavonic studies, ancient history, Byzantine studies, law, history, media studies, economic and social sciences.

Moscow State Pedagogical University (MSPU)

Origins of the University are dating back to 1872. While the university started as an institute of higher learning for women, the focus shifted to teacher training in the 1930s –hence the name Pedagogical University. The university now has eighteen faculties, 106 chairs offering a variety of 70 majors. In 1995 a close and continuous cooperation has been established between MSPU and the University of Cologne in the field of didactics of mathematics and natural sciences.

The academic exchange is limited to an annual workshop for students and staff, taking place alternately in Moscow and Cologne. Though the programme looks rather limited at first sight, it has been a great success and is actively broadening the horizon of participants tremendously.

Volgograd State University (VolSU)

Ten thousand students are being trained in the ten institutes of Volgograd State University. In total there are 1300 scientists and researchers employed by the university. The partnership with the University of Cologne developed along the city partnership uniting Volgograd and Cologne since 1989. Both partnerships between universities and cities complement each other in academic, cultural and humanitarian activities.

The focus of academic cooperation with the State University of Volgograd is on arts and humanities. It includes Slavonic, German and Byzantine studies.