BEYOND BORDERS supports research about borders and boundaries in past and present times. It promotes interdisciplinary exchange in the social sciences and humanities. The Call for Applications 2023 was open until 1 March 2023 and focused on "Borders, Contestation and Conflict".


First Border in Focus seminar - June 2023 in Poland

Since last year, Poland has implemented two radically different migration policies at the border to the Ukraine and at the border to Belarus. While migrants arriving at the Ukrainian-Poland border encountered fast procedures and a supportive infrastructure, refugees at the Polish-Belarusian border are facing harrowing conditions. What are the consequences of these differences in practice? What is the role of EU-institutions in the management of the Polish borders? Will other EU outer borders see similar developments?
The first Border in Focus seminar, taking place 12-16 June 2023 in Poland, addresses these questions. Next to discussions on social and humanitarian aspects of EU border management, the seminar itinerary includes consultations with civil society organizations and local experts as well as excursions to the Polish border regions. The seminar brings together academics and journalists working on border-related issues to explore exchange between scientific and journalistic perspectives may sharpen the analysis of the EU border management. Attendance of the seminar is free. The ZEIT-Stiftung will cover the accommodation and travel cost.
Interested journalists may find further information regarding the contents of the seminar and the application process here. 


Borders are an integral part of our everyday life. Political, social, virtual, intellectual, and cultural borders are hotly contested, both in international contexts around issues of migration, security, trade, or global education and within nations trying to deal with increased diversity and changing notions of national identity and culture. Geographical borders separate states, regions, and cities. They mark the breadth and depth of territorial organization while informal symbolic and social boundaries define values and norms for social, cultural, and religious life. All types of borders can be conceived as social constructs: they may refer to cultural and historical contexts, result from international treaties or political negotiations or reflect public debates on controversial topics. In our increasingly globalized world in which human mobility and the constant circulation of goods, objects, ideas, and practices are also an integral part of everyday life, the importance of border making and crossing is growing. Borders and cross-border regions function therefore as manifestations of social, political, economic, and cultural change.

Focus 2023

Borders, Contestation and Conflict

Borders’ violations have been back in the breaking news since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The war expanded the armed conflict from the Donbas region to a large part of Ukrainian territory. Following the annexation of Crimean Peninsula in 2014, the Russian Federation has attempted to incorporate further occupied areas to its state territory. The leadership in Moscow has been openly questioning the integrity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state.  

The war in Ukraine together with further ongoing border disputes and clashes, i.e. between China and India, Ethiopia and Sudan or Armenia and Azerbaijan show that multilateralism is currently at stake. As the Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, Martin Kimani, underlined in his speech given on the 21st of February 2022 at the emergency session of the UN Security Council on the situation in Ukraine, a renewed commitment to international cooperation is needed for worldwide peace and security. He invoked his nation’s struggle for independence from the British Empire and the necessity to consent to existing borders despite their colonial heritage. Can defining the limits of jurisdiction and governance ensure peace and the international order? And what would or could this 'international order' look like? 

How did state borders develop historically in different parts of the world? How do they relate to cultural and social boundaries and depend on historical – national, imperial, colonial etc. – heritage? And what does territoriality mean today in times of geopolitical competition and changing domestic environments? How do borders contribute to the definition of sovereignty and belonging? What are their origins and how have they been transformed in the past and present times? What are the prospects of cross-border cooperation and integration?  

Questions concerning borders, their contestation as well as territorial conflicts and disputes are the focus of the current call for applications for Ph.D. scholarships. We encourage applications for projects concentrating on following aspects, although other topics will be also considered: 

We invite applications from Ph.D. students worldwide studying borders and bordering phenomena in different regions of the world. Both empirical research based on extensive fieldwork and projects centered on theoretical reflection are eligible for support. Innovative and challenging research questions as well as comparative approaches are highly welcome. 


provides scholarships for different stages of Ph.D. research

Start Up Scholarships
for advanced master’s students and Ph.D. students in an early stage of project formulation
Duration: 10 months
Monthly living stipend of € 1,200
Dissertation Proposal Development Workshop

Ph.D. Scholarships
for Ph.D. students enrolled in Ph.D. programs or admitted to an individual Ph.D. scheme
Duration: one to three years
Monthly living stipend of € 1,400
Yearly Students’ Conference

Dissertation Completion Scholarships
for advanced Ph.D. students
Duration: one year
Monthly living stipend of € 1,400
Yearly Students’ Conference

Advisory Board

Akosua Adomako Ampofo
Professor at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon
President, African Studies Association of Africa

Michael Goebel
Einstein Professor of Global History, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin

Peggy Levitt
Chair, Department of Sociology, Wellesley College
Associate, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
Co-Founder, Global (De)Centre

Noora Lori
Assistant Professor of International Relations, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University

Steffen Mau
Professor of Macrosociology, Department of Social Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Ranabir Samaddar
Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group

Jens Schneider
Senior Researcher at the Institute of Migration Studies and Intercultural Studies, Universität Osnabrück
Co-Founder, Global (De)Centre

Sören Urbansky
Head of Office & Research Fellow, Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington at UC Berkeley
Visiting Professor, Department of History, Central European University Vienna


The Call for Applications 2023 was open until 1 March 2023.

Fellows 2020Fellows 2022


Quantification Devices of Irregular Migration at the European Union Level: Between ´computational coalitions´ and Use in Migration Governance

Université Libre de Bruxelles / École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Pauline Adam >>


Black Politics, Activism and Identity in Western Europe: Negotiations, Continuities and Visions

University of Hamburg
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Josephine Akinyosove >>


The Roads to Rural Colonization: A Regional History of Putumayo, Colombia, 1893-1977

The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Oscar Aponte >>


Contested Citizenship and Social Cohesion: A Comparative Study of the Ewe and Mande Cross-Border Ethnic Groups in West Africa

University of Duisburg-Essen
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Eric Elikem Ashiabi >>


Politics of Identity: Colonial Border Delineation, Belonging and the Securitization of the Anglophone People of Cameroon

University of Ibadan
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Peter Awodi >>


A Tale of Two Treaties: Adjudicating Canada’s Colonial Borderlands

McGill University
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Laura Charney >>


Buddhism Beyond Nations and Empires: Mapping Transnational Buddhist Networks from Early Twentieth-Century Inner Mongolia and Manchuria

University of California Santa Barbara
Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

more about Daigengna Duoer >>


The Political Economy of the West Bank-Israeli Economic Relationship: Class and Sectoral Analysis

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Walid Habbas >>


Running in the Shadows: Fugitive Movements Across and Beyond the Dark City

The New School
Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

more about Jacquelin Kataneksza >>


Care or Control? The Safety/Security Nexus and the Externalization of Europe's Borders

Freie Universität Berlin
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Thea Kirsch >>


Good Work: Jewish Sex Work and Transnational Human Rights Work, 1885 – 1931

Johns Hopkins University
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Magdalene Klassen >>


Respect for the Duty of Care and Data Quality a Guarantee for the Rule of Law in Asylum Procedure in the European Union

Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Romain Lanneau >>


Paper-Work: The Political Economy of Migration, Labor, and Documentation in Postsocialist Moscow

Columbia University
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Alexander Maier >>


Making Chinese Orthodox

University of Michigan
Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

more about James Meador >>


Borderlanders, Contested Sovereignties, and Everyday Life in North-Eastern Zimbabwe, c.1890s to 2021

University of Minnesota
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Nicholas Nyachega >>


Torn Towns: Civic Elites between Local Belonging and Nationalization in Cieszyn and Český Těšín, 1919-1938

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Zora Piskačová >>


Transnational Communist Networks in the Post-WW1 Middle East: Anti-Colonialism, Internationalism and Itinerant Militancy, 1919-1928

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

more about Burak Sayim >>


Enforcing Borders and Preventing Immigration: A Normative Appraisal on Two Levels

European University Institute, Florence
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Lukas Schmid >>


Effects of Cross-Border Population Mobility on Environmental Resource Governance and Sustainability: Case of Ethio-Kenya

Jimma University
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Girma Defere Tegegn >>


The Model Borderland of Maoist China: Identity Politics and Ideological Contentions in Inner Mongolia, 1945-1966

Cornell University
Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

more about Anran Wang >>


The Local Context of Refugee Political Socialisation: A Mixed-method Analysis of Syrian Refugees in Germany

United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology,
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Zakaria Al Shmaly >>


Circuits of Sense-Making: A Study of Youth Experiences of Human-Earth Relations, Ecological Knowledge, and Environmental Change in Ghana

University of Wisconsin-Madison,
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Yaa Oparebea Ampofo >>


Desert Colonization: Ottoman, British, and Zionist Development in Southern Palestine, 1830-1950

Columbia University in the City of New York,
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Sahar Bostock >>


Women Fight, Women Write: Renegotiating the Borders of the War Canon

Utrecht University, University of Oviedo,
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Luna Carrasquer >>


The Diaspora as Cultural Creative Spaces

University of Amsterdam,
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Eleri Connick >>


Artistic Productions of the Brazil-Uruguay Border: Mixed Portuñol

National University of San Martín,
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Lina Gabriela Cortés >>


In Search of an Alternative Europe: Germanism in the Bengali Imagination, 1919–1945

University of Groningen,
Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

more about Arnab Dutta >>


Ambiguous Policy, Uneven Implementation, Discretionary Practices. A Situated Analysis of Fragmented Spatio-legal Bordering Dynamics in the post-2015 European Border and Migration Regime on Sicily

Universität Osnabrück,
Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

more about Karl Heyer >>


Lines Drawn in the Sand: The Shifting Boundaries of Kali’na Territory at the Mouth of the Maroni River

Université de Guyane,
Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

more about Marquisar Jean-Jacques >>


Cosmopolitanism from the Margins – Embodied Migrations, Beauty and Belonging amongst Rwandan Cross-Border Sex Workers

The University of Edinburgh and Aarhus University,
Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

more about Suvi Lensu >>


A Nation of Families among the Family of Nations: Upwardly Mobile Israeli Developers and their Families in the Middle East and Africa, 1926 – 1979

The Geneva Graduate Institute
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about David Motzafi-Haller >>


Race and Racialization in North Africa: The Case of Blackness in "Arab" Tunisia

L’Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Shreya Parikh >>


Paths of Displacement and Refuge: Tracing the Movement in Al Wehdat Camp in Amman, Jordan

Delft University of Technology,
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Nama'a Qudah >>


The Social Life of Satellite Images – A Qualitative Research Project into the Work of Space-Eye and the Application of Artificial Intelligence for Supporting Sea Rescue Missions

University of Amsterdam,
Bucerius Strat Up Scholarship

more about Andreas Stoiber >>


Negotiating Life in between Empires: Debates on the Position, Possibilities and Belonging of Bosnian and Cypriot Muslims in Relation to the Ottoman Empire and Austro-Hungarian and British Rule

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg,
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Simon Trunk >>


Untangling China: Everyday Lives and Nation-Making

Utrecht University,
Bucerius Start Up Scholarship

more about Lin Yi-Hui >>


Intergenerational Transmission of the Memory of the War: The Cases of Families in Bosnia-Herzegovina
and the Bosnian Diaspora in Europe

University of Warsaw,
Bucerius Ph.D. Scholarship

more about Emina Zoletic >>


ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius
Feldbrunnenstrasse 56
20148 Hamburg

Dr. Anna HofmannAcademic Director
+49 (0) 40 41 336 785

Mail to Dr. Anna Hofmann

Rosenka Babinets Project Manager
+49 (0) 40 41 336 770

Mail to Rosenka Babinets

ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius

ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius
Feldbrunnenstrasse 56
20148 Hamburg