Students at Risk – Hilde Domin Programme

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) administers the scholarship programme “Hilde Domin Programme” with funds from the Federal Foreign Office (AA). The programme serves to support students and doctoral candidates from across the globe, who are at risk of being formally or de facto denied educational or other rights in their country of origin, and to provide these students and doctoral candidates with an opportunity to begin or complete a study or research degree at a higher education institution in Germany. Students and doctoral candidates nominated and accepted under the programme will be enrolled in degree courses of any personal subject choice and according to individual qualifications and receive a scholarship sufficient to cover the necessary costs incurred in the course of their study resp. research stay.

The long-term goal of the scholarship programme is to enable students and doctoral candidates to complete their higher education studies resp. research project in a secure environment, in order to be able to contribute towards meaningful political, economic as well as social development in their countries of origin (respectively in Germany or third countries) upon completion of their studies in Germany. All beneficiaries of the scholarship programme will further be qualified in an accompanying interdisciplinary programme, in order to enhance the prospects of a free development of their personality and their contributions towards society.

Programme launch

To mark the start of the programme on 14 April 2021, Federal Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, and DAAD President, Prof Dr Joybrato Mukherjee, each expressed a few personal words in a video statement.

The video statement of the Federal Foreign Minister can be found here.

The video statement of the DAAD President can be found here.

The nomination and selection procedure

Potential candidates cannot themselves apply for participation in the Hilde Domin Programme, but are nominated by the management (presidiums/rectorates) of an institution that is a legal entity domiciled in Germany. All nominations shall formally be made by respective nominating institutions and organisations who are requested to submit the Nomination Form given to them by the DAAD.
Thereafter, on the basis of an initial plausibility check, suitable candidates will be contacted by the DAAD and invited to apply via the DAAD online application portal. The application documents submitted by the candidates are then verified by the DAAD for completeness and formal correctness. 
The final selection of candidates will be carried out by independent selection committees appointed by the DAAD. Both the status of risk and academic performance are assessed as part of the selection process.

Target group

Students and doctoral candidates worldwide* resp. with a recognised refugee status and/or an entitlement to asylum who are at risk of being formally or de facto denied educational rights in their country of origin, due to their ethnic, sexual, gender or religious identity and/or their political or civic engagement. By definition of the DAAD, political, civic and similar engagement encompasses either the participation in groups or individual actions based on liberal and democratic principles aspiring to contribute to a positive social change in communities.

*Except for the following countries: EU/EEA/EFTA countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the United Kingdom.

Nomination requirements

Students and doctoral candidates from all disciplines can be nominated, except for fine arts, performing arts, design, visual communication, music, film and architecture, as well as human medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine,

•    who can prove or credibly demonstrate a threat to their personal well-being or safety (e.g. physical violence, arrest, denial of civil and educational rights, etc.) to the nominating institution and
•    who are in possession of educational certificates that enable entrance to a higher education institution and warrant the pursuit of a desired higher education qualification according to the database.

Funding period

As a rule, the duration of funding for a

•    Bachelor’s degree is: up to 48 months
(12-month preparatory course/Studienkolleg, up to 36 months studies)
•    Master’s degree is: up to 24 months
•    Doctoral degree is: up to 48 months


Funding of a scholarship encompasses

•    a monthly scholarship payment of 861 EUR for bachelor and master students resp. 1,200 EUR for doctoral candidates
•    a health, accident and personal liability insurance cover
•    a travel allowance based on your country of origin resp. present residence
•    participation in a preparatory German language course (of two, four or six months) according to the previously acquired and required language skills for the intended course of study or doctoral project
•    additional financial benefits

Nomination and application deadline

Nominations of suitable candidates by the management (presidiums/rectorates) of the nominating institutions can be submitted at any time.

The application portal is open all year round for successfully nominated candidates with the following application deadlines to be considered:

31 July 2021
31 January 2022

PhD Scho­lar­ships

The GPN is an interdisciplinary and international network of excellence with the head office located at the University of Kassel (Germany) and partner universities in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. It co-operates closely with various partner NGOs in the respective countries. The GPN is funded by the programme “Exceed – Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation” launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). 

In the framework of its Graduate School of Research for Global Partnership, the GPN invites students from ODA recipient countries to apply for a PhD scholarship at a GPN partner university. Further, it will enable and fund research co-operations between partner universities working on Global Partnership in the global economy (in the fields of agriculture, finance, and energy), in development cooperation (access, accountability, deep participation) and/or in knowledge production (Eurocentrism and alternative knowledge). 

The GPN is committed to creating equal opportunities for doctoral candidates. We particularly encourage women and people from other marginalized groups to apply.

Ap­p­li­ca­ti­on Dead­line

May 7, 2020 (12:00PM, GMT+1)

Re­se­arch To­pics

PhD research proposals are required to address one ofthe GPN research clusters:

  • Cluster 1: Partnership in development cooperation: access, accountability, and deep participation
  • Cluster 2: Partnership in the global economy: agriculture, finance, and energy
  • Cluster 3: Partnership in knowledge production: Eurocentrism and alternative knowledge

What We Of­fer

Building on successful earlier initiatives, the network will include a graduate programme in which PhD students are co-supervised by professors from two partner universities. The supervisors are chosen by the PhD student based on thematic preferences and if they agree to the supervision, they will monitor the thesis progress at least once every three months in a one-hour online session. The PhD student will spend at least six months at the partner university of the second supervisor. 

PhD students of the GPN Graduate School will be based at the respective partner universities (see above) and enrolled in the virtual PhD training programme. Moreover, successful candidates participate in the annual PhD virtual conferences of the GPN Graduate School and get involved in the lively academic exchange and activities within the GPN network.

The PhD scholarship will be awarded for three years. An extension for a fourth year is possible under certain conditions. In exceptional cases, preparatory PhD grants are given for up to one year for students (especially from countries with weaker higher education systems) who exhibit potential for interesting research but need more academic training. This grant will enable them to attend courses in one of the partner universities and improve their proposal.The scholarships will cover a country-specific monthly living allowance (including a family allowance if applicable), the participation in virtual GPN Graduate School activities as well as the opportunity to apply for funding towards completing empirical research. Final admission to the GPN Graduate School is conditioned on the admittance to the PhD programme of the chosen GPN partner universityand a positive progress evaluation by the GPN in the first scholarship year.

Ap­p­li­ca­ti­on Re­qui­re­ments

  • a completed or almost completed MA/MSc degree (in the final phase of submitting the thesis/dissertation), with very good results, in a discipline related to the above topics; the applicant’s last academic degree should not be more than six years ago; if an applicant already started with his/her PhD project, it should have started not more than three years ago;
  • a very high proficiency in English (CEFR level: C1 or above) demonstrated by one of the following language certificates: TOEFL, with a minimum score of 95 IBT (Internet-based test); IELTS 7.0 or above; the Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English or an equivalent; native speakers and applicants who have completed [one of] their first degree[s] fully in English do not have to provide an English proficiency certificate; if the PhD dissertation will be written in another language than English: a high proficiency of English (CEFR level: B2 or above) for the participation in the Graduate School demonstrated by one of the just mentioned language certificates.
  • academic or vocational experience in one of the disciplines related to the thematic field of global partnership;
  • citizenship of an ODA recipient country 

Ap­p­li­ca­ti­on Pro­ce­du­re 

The application process involves three elements. Your application is only complete if all three are submitted:

Step 1: Ap­p­li­ca­ti­on pa­cka­ge

Step 2: Com­ple­ti­on of the on­line ap­p­li­ca­ti­on form and upload of your ap­p­li­ca­ti­on pa­cka­ge

Step 3: Two let­ters of re­com­men­da­ti­on

For further information or questions, please contact the GPN Graduate School staff (graduateschool.gpn[at]uni-kassel[dot]de).