30 years of the Franz Werfel scholarship: 150 scholarship holders from 27 countries | OeAD

Grant to promote research and teaching of Austrian literature

Vienna (OTS) The Franz Werfel Scholarship is the “oldest” scholarship program of the Austrian Ministry of Science and at the same time one of the most successful scholarship programs for international mobility. The scholarship is aimed at university professors from all over the world who are mainly interested in Austrian literature. OeAD, the Austrian agency for education and internationalisation, oversees the funding program and has so far funded around 150 people from 27 countries around the world. Originally aimed at contestants in Central and Eastern Europe, it has been broadcast worldwide for 20 years. Hungary, Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic provide the largest contingents. Werfel scholarship holders also come from India, the United States, Tunisia, Brazil and Cameroon.

An international network of 70 dedicated Germanists has been created through specialist meetings during their fellowship in Austria and the annual Werfel conference for graduates. Many jointly organized conferences and publications testify to the close scientific and personal exchange of the Werfel community. Even after the scholarship, these Werfelians are continuously informed about the current state of Austrian literature and are thus supported in their teaching activities at their home university (with a focus on “Austrian literature”). Since the Werfel community also includes Werfelians from Ukraine and Russia, current events in Ukraine have sparked heated discourse among Werfelians, which will not be silenced at this year’s conference.

Minister of Science Martin Polaschek on the great recognition of the program: “The Franz Werfel scholarship enjoys a very high reputation among the funding programs of the BMBWF. A niche-oriented scholarship program in the field of German studies is of great importance to Austrian literature of the past, present and future. Austria has a rich tradition of literary works and it is important to research and discuss this within the framework of language literature German and broadcast it around the world.

OeAD Managing Director, Jakob Calice, underlines: “This program of excellence contributes to the formation of a worldwide academic network of German studies and academic cooperation. Many Werfel graduates successfully teach and research in various German departments in their home countries, which in turn reflects the original intent of the program.

Erhard Busek as co-initiator of Werfel

Since 1992, the Ministry of Science has set up, in addition to country-specific activities, scholarship programs to promote international mobility in certain disciplines and qualifications within the framework of the numerous activities for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the focal zone defined at this time. This also includes the Franz Werfel scholarship program for young Germanists who teach at a foreign university and focus on Austrian literature. In 1994, the program received its current name from the then Minister of Science, Erhard Busek. Thus, Erhard Busek, who recently died suddenly, is closely linked to the Werfel program.

“Other realities. Pararealities in Austrian Literature. »: Annual conference on 8 and 9 April 2022 in Vienna

The annual conferences provide an opportunity for networking, exchange and professional discussion on aspects of Austrian literature on a specific conference topic. The annual conference, to which all Franz Werfel scholarship holders are invited, is taking place in Vienna for the 18th time this year – in a hybrid format. The “Wendelin-Schmidt-Dengler Lecture” in honor of the former head of the scientific program Wendelin Schmidt-Dengler, who shaped the scholarship and accompanied the Werfelians until his untimely death, has been an integral part of the conference for thirteen years. The Büchner Prize winner Clemens J. Setz will read on April 8 at 7 p.m. in the Literaturhaus Wien, the Werfel scholarship holders will translate text passages from his works into their native language.

This year’s conference theme includes presentations with exciting titles such as “Parareal and Other Realities: The Narrative Worlds of Michael Köhlmeier”, “Parallelaktionen. The Concept of Political Parareality in Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities” and ” Recollected reality Different journeys in space and time foreseen in Ilse Aichinger’s Incredible Journeys.

In 2017, a publication on the Franz Werfel scholarship was published.


Questions & contacts:

OeAD – Agency for Education and Internationalization
Mag. Ursula Hilmar
01/534 08-270

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