Measures concerning Coronavirus/Covid-19

The MFO is keeping a close eye on current developments and follows the instructions of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Robert Koch Institut (RKI) and the World Health Organization. New guidelines and recommendations may very quickly result in the adjustment of our measures. Please inform yourself regularly on our website.

Recent updates:

  • 7 January 2021: Test-obligation for people coming from high-risk areas outside Germany
  • 15 December 2020: Extension of Oberwolfach Research Fellows and small collaborations
  • 10 November 2020: Quarantine obligation by German authorities for people coming from high risk areas outside Germany.


Information for invitees in 2021

Although vaccinations in some countries have started, the covid-pandemic could last during the first half of 2021. On the other hand, the MFO is open since end of June 2020 again and in the meantime we could gather a lot of experience with necessary modifications and adjustments.

We are prepared that the workshop/activity in 2021 where you are invited could also be affected by measures described below (travel restrictions, realization as a  hybrid workshop, hygiene measures and restricted capacity). For details, please see the explanation below and the links given there. Please read these websites carefully as a lot of questions are answered there (e.g. concerning safety distance, travel restrictions, participation in person or online, new deadlines in the invitation procedure ...). Please keep checking our websites in the coming months, we try hard to keep all relevant links current.

Of course, if the pandemic should be finished at the time of the workshop, we will be happy to go back to the traditional workshop format and procedures.

General advice and travel restrictions

We ask all our guests to make a responsible decision about their visit at the MFO!

In case that

  • you have fever, or respiratory symptoms, or other symptoms of a contagious disease,
  • or if you had contacts with an infected person in the last 14 days,
  • or if you had stays in high risk areas in the last 14 days (please check the links given below for a up-to-date list!),

we urge you to cancel your participation and to inform us by email to as soon as possible!

The MFO is forced to withdraw invitations to participants showing such symptoms, or having known contacts with an infected person, or coming from high risk areas, as the MFO is not allowed to host such persons at the institute! 

Please note that the MFO is legally bound by rules of the German and state government concerning the pandemic, in particular travel from high-risk areas. Unfortunately, these rules can change quickly, details are given in the links below.

For people coming from high risk areas outside Germany (according to the definition by the RKI) to Baden-Württemberg it is obligatory to have a corona test which is not older than 48 hours and a quarantine stay (duration: 10 days, with the opportunity to make a PCR test on the 5th day in order to shorten the quarantine). In order that the health authorities can check compliance with the quarantine, travelers must fill out a digital registration on entry. The former rule (travel to Baden-Württemberg with a negative test result concerning covid-19) does not apply anymore. Please also note that it is not possible to realize a quarantine obligation at the MFO. We hope for your understanding that the MFO is obligated to apply the new government rules. We are currently checking if an exemption rule is possible for the MFO.

The following links inform you on areas that are deemed to be high risk by government institutions. Please note that the country of exit for the travel to Germany is relevant, not the affiliation or citizenship. See the website of the Robert-Koch Institute (RKI) for up-to-date information which also serves as an official list for the German government. The former prohibition of the state of Baden-Württemberg to accomodate domestic travelers from counties with more than 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within the last 7 days is no longer valid.

Please be aware, that the definition of high risk areas may be changed very quickly, as well as quarantine rules of the German government. All participants are urged to check these websites regularily, as the MFO has to reserve the right to withdraw an invitation to the concerned participants individually and at short-term. We kindly ask for your understanding.

Travelling in Europe is partly possible at the moment. Note that many universities (not only in Germany) have canceled or re-opened their institutional travel restrictions and enable conference visits. In many cases, these announcements are not so easy to find on the corresponding universities websites.

Please note that the MFO cannot foresee possible changes in future contact and travel restrictions by the government. Participants themselves are responsible to inquire about restrictions on travel to and from Germany; thus we strongly recommend to make travel arrangements flexible/refundable in case the Corona crisis continues or resurfaces in the future. We are sorry that we are not able to reimburse travel tickets which cannot be used because of force majeure. This also applies to grants. We would also like to inform you that currently many airlines and also the Deutsche Bahn offer free cancellation or rebooking of tickets (see the current list).

Oberwolfach Workshops in hybrid format

In accordance with the gradual opening of restrictions in Germany due to the corona crisis, the MFO is allowed to host research groups again. The allowed total capacity is smaller than in former times and depends on current developments. In agreement with the workshop organizers, the MFO will realize workshops in a hybrid format (mixed personal/online) now - please read the modifications in our invitation procedure there. A hybrid workshop can be realized with 15-30 participants in person and 10-20 online participants, for example. Because of the new hygiene measures, the total capacity of the MFO is restricted to 30 participants in person for each workshop (15 for a half workshop, 10 for a mini-workshop). About the same number of online participations is possible, the original number of participants should not be exceeded. 

The concept of hybrid workshops works fine since June 2020 and the feedback of organizers and participants is consistently positive.

The new hybrid format does not intend to open the workshop online to the general public. As usual for Oberwolfach workshops, the organizers select and suggest international experts in the field who are personally invited by the institute's director. All talks and lectures are restricted to the invited participants and are not authorized for outside users. The mathematical community is informed about the content of all talks in our Oberwolfach Reports which are available open access as pdf on the wokshop's web site about 3 months after a workshop.


New hygiene measures

In accordance with general government rules, the MFO has developed new hygiene measures for hand desinfection, accommodation, lecture halls and individual meal services to make such an activity as safe as possible. In particular, please note, that masks are required in all public areas of the buildings, unless you are seated in a dedicated area (e.g. in the lecture hall or in the dining hall) with adequate distance.

For institutional travel applications we provide a summary of the most important measures (in German) together with a statement of our Scientific Advisory Board.

Because of the new hygiene measures, the total capacity of the MFO is restricted to 30 participants in person for each workshop (15 for a half workshop, 10 for a mini-workshop), plus 10 persons visiting the MFO as long-term researchers (Oberwolfach Research Fellows, Research in Pairs or Leibniz Fellows).

Please note that our capacity for accompanying persons is very restricted at the moment and that the new hygiene measures do not allow to use the dining area as a lounge, unfortunately. Thus we recommend not to travel with an accompanying person to Oberwolfach.

Kindly note, that due to the current situation we are unable to accomodate families with children. Nevertheless, we can help to find a holiday home close to the institute for an accompanying person and the children. Unfortunately, until further notice it is also not possible to find a nanny. Therefore, our usual offers for children at the MFO are not valid until further notice and can only be requested again when the situation in Germany has normalized further. We kindly ask for your understanding.

Oberwolfach Research Fellows and small collaborations

In order to react to the current crisis the MFO offers in the period from July 1st, 2020 to end of June 2021, the possibility to apply for an Oberwolfach Research Fellowship. Single researchers or groups up to four people can apply for a stay between two weeks and three months. Junior researchers and post-docs can apply for full scholarships and travel support. Read more...

Furthermore, the MFO invites applications from researchers who want to organize small scale, week-long interactive mini-workshops or seminars jointly between the MFO and their own institution. For example, a group of 4-10 researchers able to travel to Oberwolfach may team up with a group of similar size at an institution far away to run an activity combining intense personal interaction locally in each of the two places with a certain number of joint zoom lectures and discussions. Read more...

Activities which could not be realized because of the pandemic

Due to the dynamic development and change in travel restrictions several meetings until mid of June had regretfully to be cancelled. Some of them could be shifted to fall or winter 2020, the other meetings had to be postponed to 2022 in accordance with the organizers, provided the decision by the Oberwolfach Scientific Committee in October 2020. The program for 2022 will be fixed until the end of 2020 and then we can inform the invitees about the new date.

We are very pleased that the two cancelled workshops  

have organized an Oberwolfach Online Seminar for the invited participants.

For workshops in the second half of the year 2020 and in the year 2021, we offer the new possibility of hybrid workshops (see above). If a workshop should nevertheless be cancelled in a common decision by the organizers and the MFO, it has to re-apply for the workshop program 2022 or 2023 because of our restricted capacity, unfortunately. We hope for your understanding that a general postponement of activities is not possible.