25 Years of Successful Scientific Cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe

With the end of the division of Europe in 1989/90, a new chapter began for academic cooperation between East and West. Additionally, after the reunification of Germany, the interest in German-language studies continued to grow. In 1993/94, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) therefore launched the "German Language Courses of Study" (DSG) funding programme in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office. 25 years later, the programme has a track record of success. 

Since the mid-1990s, the DAAD has supported the establishment of over 60 German-language degree programmes in Eastern Europe and has sponsored more than 18,000 students and academics. „The promotion of cooperation between German universities and those in Central and Eastern Europe was and still is an important contribution to a coalescent Europe“ said former DAAD president Prof. Dr. Margret Wintermantel. University graduates in particular benefit from the cooperation between German universities and local higher education institutions: in addition to a proficient scientific and technical education, they get to know the German language and culture. After graduation, they often are highly requested specialists and managers in their home countries. The positive overall economic impact is evident, for example, in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca, where the German company Gühring now operates a research and development centre. Graduates of the German-language engineering course at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca are in great demand both by the world's leading tool manufacturer and by other German and foreign companies in the city. In addition to the course of studies in Cluj-Napoca, six other DSGs have been part of the programme since the beginning of the support 25 years ago: These include, for example, the history course at the University of Prague (in cooperation with the University of Düsseldorf) and the economics course of the University of Passau at Corvinus University Budapest.

The Promotion of "German-language degree programmes" (DSG) in the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe

As part of the German foreign cultural and educational policy, the DSG Programme is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. Currently, 32 German-language degree programmes in 14 countries of the region are funded with around 1.3 million euro per year. In total, 66 German-language degree programmes in 15 countries of the region have been funded since 1993/94. Most of them, 20 degree programmes, are in Russia. Romania is in second place with ten courses of study, and third place is shared by Bulgaria, Hungary and Ukraine (six DSG). Almost half of all DSGs are in law, economics and social sciences. A further 19 DSGs are in engineering and show the reputation of German-language engineering education in Central and Eastern Europe.


The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the organisation of German universities and their students for the internationalisation of the science system. It provides access to the best study and research opportunities for students, researchers and teachers by awarding scholarships. It promotes transnational cooperation and partnerships between universities and is the National Agency for European University Cooperation.

The DAAD thus supports the objectives of foreign cultural and educational policy, national science policy and development cooperation. To this end, it maintains a network of more than 70 offices abroad, supports around 440 lecturers worldwide and offers advanced training through the international DAAD Academy (iDA).

In 2018, the DAAD had funded around 145,000 internationals and Germans around the globe, including the EU programmes. The budget comes primarily from funds provided by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union, as well as from companies, organisations and foreign Governments.

January 2020

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