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Support services for refugees

Helmholtz President Otmar D. Wiestler on the war in Ukraine and the offers of help

Science thrives on free discourse in peaceful coexistence, across borders, cultures and governments. This is the only way to solve the global challenges facing humanity. No one could have imagined that in 2022 a war of aggression in the heart of Europe, in violation of  international law, and a resulting humanitarian catastrophe could occur. The entire German scientific community resolutely condemns the attack.  as we have expressed in the joint statement of the Alliance of German Scientific Organizations.

Our solidarity and deepest sympathy is with the people of Ukraine and with those who had to leave the country. It makes me proud to see that within the Helmholtz Association, both on a small and large scale, numerous initiatives have emerged in a very short time to help refugees quickly and without bureaucracy. Here are a few examples: Guest houses at many of our Research Centers have opened their doors to refugees. The Cancer Information Service at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) has set up a Ukrainian and Russian-language service to help refugees with cancer find their way around the German healthcare system. Ukrainian scientists already working at Helmholtz Centers receive special on-site support. At Helmholtz, we have also relaunched an initiative with which we enabled refugees from the Syrian war to enter scientific or science-related employment at Helmholtz back in 2015. An initiative that is now open to refugees from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. This, too, is supported by our Centers without bureaucratic hurdles.

Further offers of assistance will follow. In these difficult times, the people who work at Helmholtz show that the values of peaceful coexistence and interpersonal solidarity determine their actions, even outside the laboratories. I would like to thank you for this and ask you to do everything in your power to alleviate the tragedy that is befalling the people in Ukraine.”

Call for proposals Helmholtz Initiative for Refugees

Due to Russia's attack on Ukraine in violation of international law, the Helmholtz Association has re-established its initiative for refugees. From 2016 to 2019, this initiative, which at the time focused on the crisis regions of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria, enabled refugees to enter scientific or science-related employment. Now we will once again provide funding from the Initiative and Networking Fund to offer people from Ukraine transitional professional prospects in Germany. In justified exceptional cases, funds can also be granted to refugee scientists from Russia or Belarus. In doing so, the Helmholtz Association is fulfilling its social obligation to offer transitional professional prospects to refugees. 

Are you interested in our funding program? Then please get in touch with the contact person at the Helmholtz Center of your choice for further information:

Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Anne Morgenstern (anne.morgenstern@awi.de)

Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron
Meike Johannsen (m.johannsen@desy.de)

Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
Claudia Mayer (C.Mayer@dkfz-heidelberg.de)

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt
Jürgen Hein (Juergen.Hein@dlr.de)

Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE)
Sabine Hoffmann (Sabine.Hoffmann@dzne.de)

Forschungszentrum Jülich
Melanie dos Santos Mendes (m.dos.santos.mendes@fz-juelich.de)

GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
Jan Helmke (jhelmke@geomar.de)

GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung
Monica Wamers (M.Wamers@gsi.de)

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie
Cathleen Strauch (cathleen.strauch@helmholtz-berlin.de)

Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)
Christian Melzer (c.melzer@hzdr.de)

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Katrin MacLeod (katrin.macleod@helmholtz-hzi.de)

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Informationssicherheit - CISPA
Sandra Strohbach (strohbach@cispa.de)

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung UFZ
Martina Kunz-Pirrung (martina.kunz-pirrung@ufz.de)

Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon
Iris Ulrich (iris.ulrich@hereon.de)

Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam- Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum - GFZ
Ludwig Stroink (stroink@gfz-potsdam.de)

Helmholtz-Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Sophie Rothhämel (sophie.rothhaemel@helmholtz-muenchen.de)
Lucia Berti (lucia.berti@helmholtz-muenchen.de

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie - KIT
Klaus Rümmele (klaus.ruemmele@kit.edu)

Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
Jutta Kramm (Jutta.kramm@mdc-berlin.de)

Links and statements

10-point plan for rebuilding Ukrainians science, research and innovation (Leopoldina)

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD): The DAAD site bundles support services. The page is updated continuously: Offers of assistance for Ukrainian students and scientists

Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany: solidarity with partners in Ukraine – consequences for science and the humanities

G6: Common statement on solidary with the souvereign state of Ukraine

Our research centers at a glance

Helmholtz is the largest research organization in Germany. In 18 centers we work in six research fields​​​​​​​ on solutions for the great challenges of our time. 

Further information on the Helmholtz Association


Anne Einhäupl

Head of President's Office
Helmholtz Association

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