Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

With a value of five million euros, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is the most highly-endowed research award in Germany and draws top international researchers to German universities.

From 2020 to 2024, additional Humboldt Professorships can be awarded in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

The Humboldt Professorship at a glance

  • The Humboldt Professorship for AI

    In 2020, the first Alexander von Humboldt Professorships focussing specifically on the exploration and use of AI and its societal impacts are being granted.

  • Alexander von Humboldt Professorships for Artificial Intelligence coming

      more

  • 10 years of Alexander von Humboldt Professorships

    What is expected of the recipients of a Humboldt Professorship is, first and foremost, that they create something new, inject new ideas and bring a fresh breeze. They come to change things.

  • Coming to Change

    Great flexibility, exemplary freedom of research and, last but not least, a vast amount of money: since 2008, the Humboldt Professorship has been attracting top international researchers to Germany.  more

Award Winners 2021

Oskar Hallatschek
Biophysics

Leipzig

Christoph Keplinger
Robotics

Dresden

Kou Murayama
Psychology

Tübingen

Bart Thomma
Microbiology

Cologne

Thorsten Wagener
Hydrology

Potsdam

Award Winners 2020

Peter Dayan
Theoretical Neuroscience

Tübingen

Kristian Franze
Physical biology

Erlangen-Nürnberg

Francisco Jesus Moreno-Fernández
Linguistics

Heidelberg

Daniel Rückert
Computer Science

Munich

Background

Coming to Change

Great flexibility, exemplary freedom of research and, last but not least, a vast amount of money: since 2008, the Humboldt Professorship has been attracting top international researchers to Germany.

But the stars from abroad do not only help German universities to score in science. They are also expected to be a breath of fresh air and change the system. Reviewers have now examined whether the Professorship is achieving its goals. At the start, says , all the public attention took a bit of ...  more

Knowledge Transfer in Modern History

Robots, cuneiform, bioinformatics, museums and aesthetics research – the Humboldt Professorship knows no disciplinary boundaries, only intriguing ideas and questions. To mark the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Germany's most valuable research award, KOSMOS spoke with several of the award winners about their experiences. In this report, we talk with the literary scholar Elisabeth Décultot.

If you want to trace the history of knowledge transfer in the aesthetics of the 18th century, as Elisabeth Décultot does, you need old books – and they exert a particular fascination on the literary scholar. At the Interdisciplinary Centre for European Enlightenment Studies in Halle and in ...  more

We Need Fearless Universities

If you manage to acquire a five-million-euro professorship for your university, you get upheaval and envy into the bargain. This was a concern that was raised ten years ago when the first Humboldt Professorships were awarded. Things have changed.

A conversation with Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, on recruiting research luminaries and the benefits they bring German universities.  more

Intelligent Robots

To mark the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Germany's most valuable research award, KOSMOS spoke with several of the award winners about their experiences. In this report, we talk with the computer scientist Oliver Brock.

To build robots that can deal with everyday tasks and situations just as well and as efficiently as people can – that is Oliver Brock’s mission. He is not so much interested in the routine of certain activities, but rather, in how robots manage in dynamic situations and unstructured ...  more

There’s Still Room at the Top

Prominent female researchers are rare, amongst Humboldt Professors, too. What academia and the Foundation can do about it.

The IBM Research Centre in Zurich likes to showcase the successful physicist, Heike Riel. When TU München raised the possibility of a Humboldt Professorship a year ago, alarm bells rang in Zurich. They made her an IBM Research Fellow, the highest accolade the company grants. For five years, the ...  more

The Museum of the Future

To mark the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Germany's most valuable research award, KOSMOS spoke with several of the award winners about their experiences. In this report, we talk with the ethnologist Sharon Macdonald.

“Museums are extremely important for our societies because that is where people decide which things will play a role in the future,” says Sharon Macdonald in response to a question about her scientific interests. The British ethnologist investigates the criteria and decision- making processes ...  more

19.05.2020

New Alexander von Humboldt Professors selected

Five researchers from abroad have been selected to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award in 2021 and make the move to Cologne, Dresden, Leipzig, Potsdam and Tübingen.

A biophysicist, a robotics expert, a psychologist, a microbiologist and a hydrologist have been chosen to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award. Each Alexander von Humboldt Professorship comes with up to €5 million in funding. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is ...  more

14.11.2019

New Alexander von Humboldt Professorships granted - including one for Artificial Intelligence

Two researchers from abroad have been selected to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award in 2020 and make the move to Erlangen-Nuremberg and Munich.

The biophysicist Kristian Franze and the computer scientist Daniel Rückert have been chosen to receive Germany’s most valuable research award. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is granted to eminent researchers of all disciplines who have been working abroad up to this time. The ...  more

08.08.2019

Alexander von Humboldt Professorships for Artificial Intelligence coming

Up to 30 professorships to be awarded as a contribution to the German government’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Up to 30 additional Alexander von Humboldt Professorships in the field of Artificial Intelligence are to be filled in the years up to 2024. Through these professorships, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation intends to contribute to the German government’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy which ...  more