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Staying abroad during doctoral studies

Conducting part of the research abroad during doctoral studies allows researchers to gain new insights into their own research field. It gives them the opportunity to exchange with scientists from other cultural backgrounds, to collect new data and learn about new working methods that can enrich their own research projects. Research stays abroad should be planned and prepared in good time. Temporary research stays are usually based on personal contacts or existing contacts of the respective supervisors. If no such contacts exist, you can apply for a research stay or a research internship on your own initiative. Opportunities to take part in a 'Summer Internship Programme' or a 'Summer School' are occasionaly advertised directly by the respective research institutions. In addition, HHU has a number of cooperation agreements with higher education institutions and research institutions at which guest visits are possible.

You can find general information on how to prepare your research stay abroad in the Euraxess Mobility Portal. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has compiled specific information on individual countries. Please enquire at your country's Federal Foreign Office about the current entry and visa regulations applicable in your country of destination. For all further information and requirements, please contact your host institution.


Having decided to go abroad, there is the question of how to finance your stay. We have listed the most important funding schemes for you here. You can search in the scholarship databases for other programmes according to your own criteria.


When applying for funding it is often necessary to proove sufficient skills in the language of the destination country. At the HHU Language Center you are able to receive language certificates for the German Academic Exchange Servive (DAAD) and for the "Bundesvertretung der Medizinstudierenden in Deutschland" (bvmd). Please pay attention to the registration deadlines. For all other certificates please contact the respective test centers directly.  

Before embarking on your research stay abroad, you should clarify with your supervisor to what extent it can be integrated effectively into your doctoral thesis. There is also the possibility of pursuing a Joint PhD, which leads to the award of a joint doctoral degree by two universities.

Research stays abroad lasting up to three months must be declared as official journeys. Cost accounting is governed by North Rhine-Westphalia's "Travel Costs Act" (Landesreisekostengesetz). The costs for the stay abroad must also be financed within the framework of the research project or by means of a scholarship.

For your research stay abroad, you must take out an overseas health insurance. This is not to be confused with a travel health insurance, which is not sufficient. If your stay abroad is within Europe, it will generelly be covered by your German health insurance. Please bring your European Health Insurance Card with you. During your research stay as well as the outward and return journey, you will have accident insurance coverage through the relevant industrial insurance association (Berufsgenossenschaft). 

For stays abroad of more than 3 months, additional agreements must be made to your employment contract at HHU. For this, please contact HHU's HR Department as soon as possible.

A scholarship does not establish an employment relationship, i.e. neither the university nor the scholarship provider becomes your employer. The scholarship is tax-free and not subject to social security contributions. As a scholarship holder you therefore neither have pension, nursing care, unemployment insurance nor health or accident insurance. Some scholarship providers offer the possibility of taking out accident insurance via the scholarship provider's supplementary/group insurance schemes.
Researchers who are enrolled as doctoral students at HHU can also obtain accident insurance cover for their scholarship-funded research stay abroad through the university or the relevant industrial insurance organization. It is important to note that this is linked to internal and subject related work at the university. Hence, if a researcher is employed for a temporary period in another organization outside the university (e.g. in an enterprise in the framework of an internship), then accident insurance must be covered through this employer. Please contact us in good time - we are happy to help you further.


Further tips on social security and on various types of insurance to cover your research stay abroad in general can be found on the Euraxess Mobility Portal.


Junior Scientist and International Researcher Center

Building: 16.11
Floor/Room: 42-48
+49 211 81-13564;13405

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HHU Scholarships for language courses abroad

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