The Mannheim Sports Scholarship is a true success story. In its first year in 2009, it was awarded to nine students. Now, in the year of its tenth anniversary, no fewer than 60 top-level athletes studying at the University of Mannheim receive scholarship funding while another 60 scholarship holders have already successfully completed their studies.
The purpose of the scholarship is to enable students competing in sports at an elite level to pursue their studies successfully along with their training. In order to achieve this purpose, the students receive support and assistance from a professional advisor for elite athletes in coordinating their studies, competitions and training sessions. In addition, they receive a monthly grant of up to 200 euros. “When young athletes retire from their professional sports career, they should be prepared for the transition to a second career in the best possible way,” explains entrepreneur Klaus Greinert, who initiated the sports scholarship and used to be an excellent athlete himself, playing for the national hockey team.
A number of recent success stories prove that the concept works. Among these are Mannheim students Lisa Nippgen (U23 European Champion with the 4x100 meters relay), Marc Milano (bronze medal winner in the European Judo Championships for the visually impaired) as well as Nike Lorenz, Cécile Pieper and Sonja Zimmermann (Vice-European Champions with the hockey team). But also past scholarship recipients are shining examples for extremely successful sports careers. Take long jumper Malaika Mihambo, who, following her studies, became the German Champion in her event in both 2018 and 2019 as well as the European Champion in 2018. Another example is Lisa Hattemer, who won the World Championships in artistic cycling during her studies and went on to work at Boehringer Ingelheim after ending her sports career.
In 2018, the Dietmar Hopp Foundation took over the Mannheim Sports Scholarship as main sponsor. The foundation extended the scholarship now called “Spitzensport-Stipendium Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar” to include students from Heidelberg University as well.