23.10.2014

Coming to Germany with an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

Top international researchers for Germany’s best-endowed research award / Wanka: “Award-winners reflect the diversity of research”

A museologist and a specialist in Ancient Near Eastern History from Great Britain and a mathematician from France have been selected for Germany’s best-endowed international research award, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. Each award comes with up to five million euros in funding. The award is granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and financed by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The award money is to be used for the winner’s first five years of research work in Germany.
Three high-calibre international researchers were chosen from a total of ten nominees during the second selection phase for the 2015 award. These three will now enter into appointment negotiations with the universities that nominated them for an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship:

  • Sharon Jeanette Macdonald (53), museologist and cultural anthropologist at the University of York, Great Britain, was jointly nominated by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) and the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin.
  • A specialist in Ancient Near Eastern History, Karen Radner (42) currently conducts research at University College London, Great Britain, and is to switch to the Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München in Munich as an Alexander von Humboldt Professor.
  • Harald Andrés Helfgott (36), mathematician at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, France, was nominated by the University of Göttingen.

The aim of the Humboldt Professorship is to induce internationally leading researchers in all fields who have conducted their research abroad to date to switch to a German university. “As a research location, Germany is attractive for top researchers from throughout the world. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship makes it possible to regularly recruit international authorities to conduct research at German universities”, Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka said. “I am particularly pleased that a large number of women were selected this year and that the fields they represent reflect the enormous diversity of our research landscape.” The president of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Helmut Schwarz, also gave credit to German universities for the large share of women among the candidates selected for the 2015 award. “Universities look worldwide on a targeted basis for suitable researchers they could nominate for the award”, Schwarz said. “Fortunately, they are increasingly taking top female researchers into consideration ‒ with success, as the results show.”

A total of ten top researchers ‒ three women and seven men ‒ from the USA, Japan, Canada, France, Great Britain, Belgium and Switzerland were nominated for the latest selection phase. This spring, during the first selection phase for 2015, three female researchers were chosen. If they accept the 2015 Humboldt Professorship, the award will be presented to the six winners during a special ceremony next spring.