Research Programme Martin Roth Initiative

What effect do international protection programmes have? How can civil society’s scope of action be shaped? In the Research Programme Martin Roth Initiative (MRI) experts conduct research on current issues in the field of foreign cultural and educational policy. Therefore ifa awards three to six-month grants and research assignments to scientists and cultural activists from the areas of art, culture, policy and media. The results are published in studies and discussion papers (for links see below).

In 2018 ifa and the Goethe-Institut initiated the Martin Roth Initiative. The joint project sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office supports artists and cultural activists as well as civil society actors by facilitating temporary protection stays in Germany and secure third countries. 

Topics and Programme Points

The programme scope Research accompanies the protection programme of the Martin Roth Initiative (MRI). Through ongoing and accompanying research, it is intended to open up the, thus far, under-researched field of protection programmes and to contribute to documenting the impact of protection programmes.

In particular, the intention is to gain insights on the effects and working methods of international protection programmes and their parameters. In this context, it should not only be possible to network with other programmes but the cooperation between them should also be improved while critically examining different working methods. In this way, the goal is to create resilient impact measures and to foster general improvements in the area of project orientation.

Central Topic

  • Civil society spaces of action

Important Programme Points

  • Practice-oriented research
  • Documentation and information
  • Ongoing and accompanying evaluations
  • International networking


Interested scholars and practitioners from the academic, artistic or other sectors are welcome to apply for freelance research assignments. All calls for proposals by the Martin Roth-Initiative are published under 'Current Research Projects' on the ifa website Jobs and Careers.

Current Projects

International relocation of artists at risk: Learnings from pandemic times

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the creative and cultural sectors hard and restricts the mobility and opportunities of artists worldwide. It also affects the work of temporary international relocation and shelter programmes, which aim to enable artists from restricted political contexts to continue their work abroad. The project focuses on the experiences, coping strategies and best practices that emerged during the pandemic and investigates what relocation programmes can learn from this to better support artists in the future.

  • Realisation: Pelin Çakır


    Pelin Çakır is a researcher, practitioner and activist working at the intersection of vulnerability, resilience, migration, trauma, resistance, arts and culture. She builds on feminist and decolonial perspectives, care theory and co-creative methods in her research and writing.


FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Can One Find Out about Current Calls for Applications?


    All grants and research commissions offered by ifa are updated regularly and can be found on the website under Jobs and Careers. All of the important information about the application process are given in each application.


  • Is an Application with its Own Topic Possible?


    No, unfortunately not. All grants and research assignments are tied to topics specified by ifa.


  • What Are the Requirements?


    Typically, the minimum requirement is a university education with a master’s degree. Further prerequisites can be found in the application posting on the website under Jobs and Careers.


  • What Is the Difference between a Grant and Research Assignments?


    In the framework of a grant, ifa supplies a current monthly allowance of 1,500 euros for scientific work. This funding is tax-free. The grant holder must pay for his or her own health insurance. The funding is bound to the acceptance of the grant guidelines which are agreed upon before the project is awarded. During the grant period, the grant holder may not receive additional funding or be employed.
    On the other hand, when accepting a research assignment, the research assignments recipient and ifa sign a project contract agreement. The research assignments recipient is responsible for tax treatment.


  • Can the Research Programme also Assign Commissions to Universities or only to Individuals?


    Yes, it is possible for universities and tax-privileged institutions to receive commissions.


  • Are the Projects Usually More Research-Oriented or Practice-Oriented?


    The implementation of the research is the priority. The current scientific findings should be worked out concisely and precisely for those involved in foreign cultural and educational policy, and recommendations for future foreign cultural policy measures should be formulated.


  • What Formats Are Being Developed?


    Typically, the results of the research are published in a study, in print or on the internet. Often one of the agreed requirements is to conceive and implement an event, for example, a conference, colloquium or panel discussion.


  • In Which Language Are the Projects Carried Out?


    This depends on the focus of the project. Typically, the projects are carried out in English or German.


  • Is a Workspace Provided?


    It is generally assumed that every researcher has the necessary basic equipment such as a PC or laptop in order to work on their respective project. ifa has temporary workstations with PCs that can be used by the hour or by the day as well, for example, as part of research in the ifa Library in Stuttgart. While implementing the projects, ifa may work in part with partner institutions. If this is the case, the partner organisations usually provide a workspace during the project period. In this case, the research assignment recipient must be prepared to stay, for example, in Brussels or Bonn for the duration of the project.



Dr Lisa Bogerts

Linienstraße 139/140
D-10115 Berlin

Telephone: +49.173.2745988