New Alexander von Humboldt Professors chosen

Five researchers from abroad selected to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award in 2019

An economist, a mathematician, a nuclear physicist, an immunologist and a quantum optician have been selected to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is endowed with funding of up to €5 million and is granted to eminent researchers of all disciplines who have been working abroad up to now. They are expected to conduct cutting-edge research at German universities on a long-term basis. The newly-selected award winners currently work in the United Kingdom, France and the United States. The award amount is earmarked for the first five years of their research in Germany. The Humboldt Professorship is granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The new award winners were chosen from a pool of 12 nominated researchers from Austria, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. They will now embark on appointment negotiations with the German universities that nominated them. If the researchers accept the Humboldt Professorship, the award will be conferred in May 2019.

  • The economist, Anke Hoeffler, currently working at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, was nominated by the University of Konstanz.
  • Stefanie Petermichl, a mathematician at the Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier in France, was nominated by JMU Würzburg.
  • The nuclear physicist, Alexandre Obertelli from the Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (IRFU) in Paris-Saclay, France, was nominated by TU Darmstadt.
  • Henning Walczak, currently an immunologist at University College London, United Kingdom, was nominated by the University of Cologne.
  • The quantum optician, Martin Wolfram Zwierlein, currently at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, was nominated by the University of Bonn.

In addition, the science historian, Myles W. Jackson, was also selected for a Humboldt Professorship but will not be taking up the position. Shortly after the decision, Jackson, who had been nominated by Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, accepted the offer of a professorial appointment, which he had received concurrently, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, USA.

The Humboldt Professorship enables German universities to offer top international researchers competitive general conditions for research and to sharpen their own international profiles in the global research market at the same time. The award is granted on the precondition that the new Humboldt Professors are given long-term prospects for their research in Germany. To date, a total of 68 researchers, including twelve women, have been appointed to a Humboldt Professorship, facilitating their move to Germany.