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Project ID: 1071

Science in Asylum

Person to contact: Elke Dall
submitted on: 05.11.2015
Budget: € 7.689
Funding deadline: 15.02.2016
Country/Region: Austria/Vienna
Type Course
Issue Refugees & immigration


Project address

Linke Wienzeile 246
1150 Wien

Die Seminare und Veranstaltungen finden am ZSI (Linke Wienzeile 246) sowie in angemieteten Computerräumen statt. Teilnehmende Flüchtlinge erhalten Fahrkarten für den öffentlichen Verkehr.
  • Date of planned start: 15.01.2016
  • Date of planned end: 15.12.2016

Brief project description

Highly skilled refugees are facing great difficulties finding a job in Austria and are often forced in to the low-wage sector. Given this situation, the project “Science in Asylum” aims to contribute to a better integration of refugee scientists in the labor market. The program offers refugees the possibility to attend seminars that provide essential information, training and networking possibilities helping them to utilize their professional experience in the Austrian / European science sector.


  • Organising regular SEMINARS:


  • Acknowledging competences / achievements
  • The Austrian / European research system
  • Paricipants write a short paper showcasing their scientific work.
  • Disseminating of the paper to relevant peers.
  • Light “peer review” (by volunteers)
  • Publication of the papers via a specific website and via a seminar volume.
  • Integration of participants in the scientific community of their respective field
    • Organising networking meetings
    • Developing mentor / mentee relationsships


      • Highly qualified refugees give lectures or present their work to relevant peers and students

      Please help us to fight the de-skilling of refugees!

Proof of project conclusion

News about the project, as well as photo and video material will be posted on the project website, as well as on Facebook. The scientific papers of participants documenting their work will be published on the project website.

Total billing, invoice copies of the expenses financed with funds, photographic documentation, final online report.


Problem statement

Highly skilled refugees are facing great difficulties finding a job in Austria and are often forced in to the low-wage sector. This de-skilling is not only a problem for the refuges but also for the country, in which the refuges seek asylum, due to increasing competition in the low-wage sector. Problems with the recognition of their educational and professional qualifications (nostrification), a lack of professional contacts, and the lack of local knowledge are major obstacles for the refugees.

The chances for highly educated refugees to find an adequate job in Austria are particularly low. Austria ranks very poorly among other OECD-countries concerning the reutilization of foreign qualification[1]. The difficult domestic job situation in the academic and scientific sector worsens the opportunities for refugees even further. An increasing number of refugee jobseekers is expected, with a strong focus on Vienna. 18.968 refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection were reported  at the AMS (Austrian Employment Service) end of September 2015, 67,7% of them in Vienna[2].

The program is geared primarily towards refugee scientists who have a PhD or several years of scientific work experience. The selection of participants is based on the PhD and on publications. Persons entitled to asylum, as well as alylum seekers can participate in this program and thereby make use of the "lost time in the queue."


The project "Science in Asylum" aims to

  1. offer concrete information for highly skilled refugees on the local scientific sector (through a series of seminars)
  2. make the qualifications of the target group visible (through a joint publication),
  3. offer possibilities to form networks and foster mentoring relationships. (through peer review and mentorships).

Weekly lectures on topics such as
•  The Austrian / European research system
• Research funding in Austria
• Nostrification in Austria
• Culture specific „business attitudes“ and expectations concerning hihly skilled applicants.
• Scientific Entrepreneurship, preparation of business plans
• Offers of EURAXESS Researchers in Motion
• Science communication in Austria
• Etc.

offer assistance concerning the recognition and presentation of their education and  professional qualifications and provide a better orientation looking for job opportunities, internships, training and research projects. Also specific needs of the pariticipants will be discussed in the seminar (e.g.: focus on natural or, social sciences). This mainly concern information channels, scientific events, other programs for refugees (initiatives such as the European science4refugees, the EURAXESS team,..)

The main task of the participants at the seminar is to write a short scientific documentation of their previous work (10-15 pages) in English, illustrating their previous scientific activity. The participants will be supported by the project team. After a review by the project team the papers will be sent to well establish local scientists of the respective scientific field with the request for assessment and review on a voluntary basis. The local scientists may also advise the refugees concerning further relevant contacts, projects, job information, etc. If mutual interest exists a regular contact or a mentor/mentee relationship can be established.

After this review, the texts are published on the project website, as well as in an joint seminar volume (anthology). This publication is supposed to be of use when writing applications or at job interviews, as it illustrates their previous scientific activity and their educational activity in the period of the seminar.

The seminar is to be held every two weeks in a computer room. Participants will have the opportunity to use the computers after the seminar to work on their texts. It is planned to enable the participants to have permanent access to computers. Therefore a partnership with the University of Vienna is intended.

Audio-visual recordings of the lectures of the seminar (Webinar)

The lectures, which are held in the seminar will be recorded and made available as a video on the homepage of the project. This allows participants to view the contents again if there are difficulties in understanding. Also refuges, that do not participate in the course can benefit from the offered information. In the future this offer can be expanded to a complete online seminar. Such a format would be well suited for the target group, due to its flexibility, and greater range.

Lectures and discussion meetings

Additionally a series of lecture and discussion meetings are planned in which highly qualified refugees give lectures. This format offers refugees experienced in teaching the possibility to return to their familiar role as lecturer and contributes to a better integration into the local scientific community. The presentation and discussion of their work allows refugees to obtain valuable feedback from professional colleagues and students, and to enter into direct contact with people in their field. In order to address the widest possible, knowledgeable audience, the topics of the presentations are grouped by subject and publicly communicated and advertised in advance. Scientists who work in the fields are specifically contacted and invited to the event. To reach as many students, an announcement on mailing lists, social media and notices will be disseminated. If possible cooperation with the Student Union, Alumni and MORE can be sought. For now, it is planned to hold these lectures directly on ZSI, but depending on the public interest and subject area lectures can be moved to a different stage (larger auditorium, museum, technical university, ...).


Project executing organisation

The Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) is a scientific institute, founded as a not for profit association under Austrian law in 1988 and duly operationalised since 1990. On 1st of July 2014 the Centre for Social Innovation changed its legal basis to a not for profit ZSI GmbH (Limited Liability Company, LLC).

ZSI conducts research on the social embedding and impact of all types of innovations, and contributes to the design and diffusion of socially accepted and sustainable innovations to meet social challenges.

ZSI works in science and praxis, linking research systematically with application. Many ZSI-projects transcend scientific domains, and thus are interdisciplinary. Some also include collaboration with professionals and laymen from non-scientific realms. With this nexus between scientific and practical knowledge the criterion of trans-disciplinarity is fulfilled.

The project „Science in Asylum“ is a cooperation between the departments “A&C Work and Equal Opportunities and F&E - Research Policy & Development

[1] Gächter 2015, vgl.  (23.10.2015)

[2] AMS 2015 siehe (23.10.2015)


  • Total budget
    € 24.000,-
  • - Own resources
    € 17.000,-
  • Raise donations
    € 7.000,-
  • + Handling fee
    € 689,-
  • Target budget
    € 7.689,-
  • partial amount A (will be transferred if financing was successful)
    € 2.000,-
  • Delivery date interim report
  • partial amount B (will be transferred after receipt of the interim report)
    € 2.000,-
  • Delivery date final report
  • partial amount C (will be transferred after receipt of the complete project conclusion report; at least 10 % of the target budget)
    € 3.000,-
  • Project risks
    From our point of view the main risks are reaching the target group and working continuously with the participants. We will be collaborating with NGOs, in order to find suitable participant for the seminar. We have already contacted several project partners and expecting to reach enough interested refugees. It will be possible for participants to join the program in any project phase enabling a fluctuation of participants.
    Delays concerning the publication represent a further risk - editing, printing preparations and reviewing often take longer than anticipated. However, we are positive to have planned realistically.
    The Centre for Social Innovation supports the program as an institution therby minimizing project risks: 50 employees are supporting the project. Resources of the organisation can be used for interim financing. The ZSI has existed since 1990 and is a successful institution that strives for the sustainability of its activities and is experienced in communicating with different audiences and stakeholder groups.
  • Budget planning
    Rent for computer labs (including operating costs) € 4,000 (57%)
    Printing and layout of seminar volume (100 pieces) € 2,000 (28%)
    Transportation of the participants (tickets for public transport) € 1,000 (14%)

    The remaining costs (€ 17,000) are composed of personnel costs for project organization, project design, the lectures during the seminar and fees for external speakers.

    Spending of donations
    We are expecting an overall budget of nearly 20.000€, taking internal costs into account. The staff of the ZSI will contribute to the lectures and the organization of events. Only base costs of the seminar management are provided for in the crowdfunding budget.
    1)      We do not have a computer room which is large enough to give the refugees the opportunity to prepare their texts. We cannot assume that the participants have access to computers. Concerning this matter we would like to cooperate with the University of Vienna or a professional provider.  Here we assume that costs will incur.
    2)      We believe that supporting the participants commute to the seminar will be necessary. Given the cost of a single metro ticket (2,20€) the total mobility costs account for 880€. (10 seminars / 44€ per person). Further participants commuting from the outer metropolitan area will increase the costs even further. We want to provide for these costs, in order not to burden the refugees expenses.  
    3)      While our network of volunteers will provide for editing, proof reading and reviewing, printing cost are unavoidable. Thus we want to ask for support for the printing costs of the seminar volume as part of our crowdfunding budget.
    We are planning to apply for funds of the City of Vienna ( MA17, department of integration) for some of the expenses. The settlement will be totally transparent illustrating the funds of the crowdfunding campaign, the city of Vienna and ZSI.



Zentrum für Soziale...

wrote on 30.06.2016


Die erste Projektphase, das "Science in Asslum" - Seminar, wurde am 1. Juni abgeschlossen. In unserem Zwischenbericht (im Anhang als pdf) erfahren Sie mehr über die Themen der Veranstaltungen, die Vortragenden in der Seminaren, sowie über die ersten Erfolge der Teilnehmer.



Donate time

Please enter the hours you want to donate for the tasks.

Donate time

Still required: 30 Hours
Video cut of talks recorded during the seminar
Still required: 20 Hours
Mentoring / reviewing scientific papers (scientists)
Still required: 50 Hours
Proofreading of english papers (native speakers / professionals)

Assigned subjects