A former PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn has alleged that the Max Planck Society (MPG) routinely discriminates against foreign PhD students by offering them scholarships instead of regular contracts.

The MPG is an independent basic research organization that funds 80 different institutes with more than 12,000 staff members and 9000 PhD students, postdocs, visiting researchers, and student assistants.

Andrea Raccanelli, who now works at the University of Bonn, said his statistics indicate that 99% of the German PhD students at the MPG have a regular contract, whereas 84% of the non-German PhD students have scholarships.

PhD students who are on a scholarship do not have access to retirement plans, health insurance, or unemployment insurance, so they have a lot of disadvantages, Raccanelli told The Scientist.

He also noted that PhD students on scholarships cost half as much for the MPG to employ...

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