The EPOS programme offers individual scholarships to participants from developing countries so that they may study development-related postgraduate courses at selected universities in Germany.
Highly qualified local specialists who are interconnected with international partners play an important role in the development of their countries. They are pivotal for a better future with less poverty, more education, and better health for all.
However, many universities in developing countries are underfunded and overcrowded, and also the availability of top-level university lecturers and practice-oriented training programmes is often limited. It is against this backdrop that the DAAD created “development-related postgraduate courses” (EPOS), which are closely linked to practical experience. The programme supports rigorously selected graduates from developing countries with scholarships to study for an internationally competitive degree in Germany. These postgraduate courses have been going through discerning selection processes and have to reapply to the multi-institutional selection committee on a regular basis.
Professionals and managerial staff from developing countries and emerging economies () gain further qualifications on postgraduate courses to become future decision-makers and partners for Germany. This is the case for degree courses in all areas of expertise important for development and for solving global problems. It is expected that the graduates will be involved in international networks, working on solutions to national, regional, and global challenges. In this way, they will initiate and support development processes in the medium and long term.
In addition, capacity development in terms of supporting personnel and organisational development in partner countries will have sustainable development effects. For the participants of the programme, the postgraduate courses offer the necessary skills and qualifications to continually increase their performance and development capacity in their working environment. Graduates will act as disseminators passing on their experience and their newly acquired skills to others.
At the same time, the postgraduate courses contribute to the further internationalisation of higher education institutions in Germany. In addition, participants from partner countries will promote the transfer of knowledge from South to North by sharing their specific regional know-how with students, teachers and researchers, thus strengthening their competences in respect of the developing countries.
The EPOS programme successfully supports specialists and managerial staff from developing countries. Since the programme was launched in 1987, more than 7,000 scholarships have been awarded, with about 50 per cent currently going to women. Well over 90 per cent of students complete their studies successfully and earn the academic degree they have worked for.
The results of a survey published in 2013 show that over 70 per cent of the graduates immediately return to their home countries or home regions after completing their studies. Some stay for doctorates or work in international organisations like the World Bank, GIZ, or Terre des Femmes. More than three quarters of the DAAD scholarship recipients stated that there even is a thematic link between their EPOS studies and their employment. In other words, the vast majority of EPOS alumni work in a professional environment where they can directly apply their acquired knowledge to issues of development cooperation while acting as disseminators at the same time.
In order to achieve the objectives of the programme more efficiently, the DAAD regularly evaluates the effect of its funding programmes. A comprehensive launched in 2014 helps to further improve the quality and transparency of our work.