Scholarship programmes: opportunities for the best minds


The Federal Foreign Office funds a variety of scholarship programmes, which are important for the implementation of its research and academic relations policy. The programmes enable the top international specialists of tomorrow to undertake periods of study or research in Germany.

At the same time, they lay the foundation for research partnerships with the world’s best minds. Jun Zhu, a lawyer from China and doctoral student in Göttingen, is one of them. Like many highly qualified young graduates from abroad, he receives financial support from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Quality is the only thing that counts when the DAAD considers applicants for its scholarships. Chinese law student Jun Zhu (born in 1982) was an ideal candidate: he had excellent grades, a Bachelor’s degree in German studies, a double Master’s degree from the Sino-German Institute for Legal Studies in Nanjing and a passionate interest in law. Since the autumn of 2008 he has been studying for a doctorate under the supervision of Professor Rüdiger Krause at the Institute of Labour Law at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Jun Zhu finds labour law particularly fascinating because it is still relatively new territory in China.

In 2009 the DAAD awarded one year scholarships to some 4,000 foreign students like Jun Zhu to continue their studies or complete a doctorate in Germany. Additionally, the DAAD, the world’s largest scholarship-awarding organization, offers numerous other programmes. The lion’s share of scholarship holders comes from Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia, and most of them are doctoral students of mathematics or natural sciences as well as philology or cultural studies. However, the proportion of Master’s degree scholarships is increasing rapidly. These scholarship programmes are funded by the Federal Foreign Office: education and research are regarded as a strong bridge between Germany and its partners worldwide. In 2010, Germany’s Federal Foreign Office will provide a total of 230 million euros in funding for education, research and development within the framework of its international cultural and education policy. The existing range of scholarships has been significantly expanded since the Research and Academic Relations Initiative was launched in 2009. Overall, Germany’s Federal Foreign Office is providing some 140 million euros of financial support for visiting students and researchers from abroad. Most of these scholarships are being awarded through the DAAD. The Initiative is also deliberately supporting highly qualified individuals from conflict regions. Other important partners are the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, political foundations and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI).

Jun Zhu is also unequivocal about his wish to continue his career in China after completing his doctorate. “I would like most of all to remain in the research field and contribute to the development of Chinese labour law,” he says. If he succeeds in that he will fulfil the expectations of the DAAD in the best possible way, since the success of its programmes is measured largely in terms of the individual professional success of the scholarship holders. What is also important is networking, linking the best minds in Germany and the world. Jun Zhu will certainly be a good partner in this steadily growing international knowledge network.

Text: Janet Schayan/Societäts-Verlag

Facts and figures

The DAAD scholarship amounts to 650 euros a month for undergraduates, 750 euros for graduates and 1,000 euros for scholarship holders engaged in two years of research activity.// A total of 540 university teachers in some 80 selection committees worldwide select the recipients based on quality-related criteria.// The DAAD supported a total of 33,000 foreign undergraduate and graduate students in 2009.// The 2009 DAAD budget included 83 million euros in funding for foreign scholarship holders.// A total of 710,000 foreigners have come to Germany with DAAD support since 1950.//

If you have specific questions concerning studying or DAAD-scholarships, please contact  DAAD in Rwanda (see below).

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