The DAAD is the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers. Since it was founded in 1925, around two million scholars in Germany and abroad have received DAAD funding. It is a registered association and its members are German institutions of higher education and student bodies. Its activities go far beyond simply awarding grants and scholarships. The DAAD supports the internationalisation of German universities, promotes German studies and the German language abroad, assists developing countries in establishing effective universities and advises decision makers on matters of cultural, education and development policy.
Its budget is derived mainly from the federal funding for various ministries, primarily the German Federal Foreign Office, but also from the European Union and a number of enterprises, organisations and foreign governments. Its head office is in Bonn, but the DAAD also has an office in the German capital, Berlin, to which the famous Berlin Artists-in-Residence Programme (Berliner Künstlerprogramm) is closely affiliated. It maintains contact with and provides advice to its main partner countries on every continent via a network of regional offices and information centres.
In 2016, the DAAD funded more than 131.000 German and international scholars worldwide. The funding offers range from a year abroad for undergraduates to doctoral programmes, from internships to visiting lectureships, and from information gathering visits to assisting with the establishment of new universities abroad. Voluntary, independent selection committees decide on the funding. The selection committee members are appointed by the DAAD′s Executive Committee according to certain appointment principles. The DAAD supports the international activities of German institutions of higher education through marketing services, publications, the staging of events and training courses.
The DAAD provides young people with the opportunity to gain international academic and research experience in Germany as well as worldwide. Most foreign DAAD scholarship recipients are Master’s students or doctoral candidates. Only very few scholarships are awarded at Bachelor’s level (to top students at German schools abroad).
The reason for this funding priority is that graduate students will have already proven their academic ability by completing their first degree, hence are more likely to benefit from a scholarship.
The DAAD head office is located in Germany. However, with 15 branch offices across the globe and a further 50 international information centres, the DAAD is represented by a worldwide network. Financed through public funding bodies, the DAAD is the world’s largest funding organisation dedicated to promoting international exchange in higher education.