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 recipients are expected to conduct cutting-edge research at German universities on a long-term basis.

  • The biophysicist Kristian Franze investigates how mechanical forces influence nerve cells. He was nominated by the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). Franze was conducting research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom at the time of his nomination.
  • The computer scientist Daniel Rückert studies how artificial intelligence can improve imaging processes used in the medical field. He has been working at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom to date and was nominated by the Technische Universität München. He is to be awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for Artificial Intelligence.

This makes Daniel Rückert and the neuroscientist Peter Dayan - who was selected back in March 2019 and is going to take up his Humboldt Professorship in Tübingen on 1 January 2020 - the first Humboldt Professors for Artificial Intelligence. By creating these additional Humboldt Professorships, which will be filled in the field of Artificial Intelligence until the year 2024, the Humboldt Foundation is contributing to the Federal Government’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy. As in the past, up to ten professorships continue to be available in any discipline.

The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship comes with up to €5 million in funding. The award amount is earmarked for the first five years of the recipient’s research in Germany. The Humboldt Professorship is granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and financed by Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The newly selected recipients 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 2020.

The Humboldt Professorship enables German universities to offer top international researchers competitive general conditions for research and to raise 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 77 researchers, including 15 women, have been appointed to a Humboldt Professorship, facilitating the move to Germany.

We welcome the synergies that the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for Artificial Intelligence will generate in connection with DFG projects being funded through the Federal Government’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy.