Mobility support, networks of diaspora, alumni associations

Diaspora and international alumni are an important source of informal “ambassadors” in science systems of other countries. In this spirit, networks are established, in some cases, countries organise their own diaspora in other countries or the diaspora finds itself in a bottom-up manner. Also, alumni of specific mobility programmes are being kept in the loop about developments in their original home countries, etc. Those often also make available funding programmes. 


The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) was launched in 2012 and is an AISBL (international not-for-profit association) under Belgian law since 2014. MCAA is open to any past or current beneficiary of funding under any of the past or present schemes proposed as part of the European Commission’s Marie Curie programme, which encourages international mobility among researchers. More than 100,000 researchers have already benefitted from the programme.

EU ALUMNI is an initiative that connects former beneficiaries of EU funded programmes from all over the world and facilitates cooperation and engagement with the EU. Furthermore, the European Global Diaspora Facility maps so-called diaspora engagement projects globally. EURAXESS also supports the establishment of Scientific Diaspora networks with an incubator programme.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) supports over 100,000 German and international students and researchers around the globe each year – making it the world’s largest funding organisation of its kind. They also promote internationalisation efforts at German universities, help developing countries build their own systems of higher education, and support German Studies and German language programmes abroad. In 2019, DAAD organised an event with a strong focus on science diplomacy (more information here).

The German-Ukrainian Academic Society supports The UKRAINE Network (The UKRainian Academic International Network) in and from Germany. The UKRAINE Network (UKRAINET) is a professional community, open to researchers from any field — irrespective of nationality and country of residence — interested in fostering international academic cooperation with Ukraine. It was launched in Berlin (Germany) in January 2016 with a first networking event. Objectives include fostering academic cooperation with Ukraine, improve knowledge about Ukraine abroad and vice versa, increase the visibility of Ukrainian scientists and their achievements, support the career development of members and early-career researchers in Ukraine and reforms in Ukrainian science.

Austria‘s scientific diaspora in North America is for example organised in the independent organisation ASciNA, complemented by the Research and Innovation Network Austria (RINA) which is hosted at the Office for Science and Technology Austria (OSTA) hosted at the embassy in Washington. ASciNA also provides grants such as a price for Junior Principal Investigator and Young Scientist (financially supported by the Austrian science ministry).

The Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit (find the document here) or one from Ireland (here) might include some inspiration for those aiming to work with this aspect although the reports do not focus on scientific diaspora.

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Keywords: Mobility support, Funding, Alumni, Networking, Working Groups, Events

Sanaz Honarmandebrahimi

Posted by Sanaz Honarmandebrahimi