Humboldt Research Fellowships for postdoctoral researchers In providing Humboldt Research Fellowships for postdoctoral researchers, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables highly-qualified scientists and scholars from abroad who are just embarking on their academic careers and who completed their doctorates less than four years ago to spend extended periods of research (6–24 months) in Germany.
Scientists and scholars from all disciplines and countries may apply. The research outline is carried out in cooperation with academic hosts at research institutions in Germany. Applicants choose their own topic of research and their host in Germany. Details of the research outline including information on the intended duration of the fellowship must be agreed with the intended host before applying.
Short-term visits for study and training purposes or for attending conferences are not eligible for sponsorship. Candidates are selected solely on the basis of the evaluation of their academic qualification. There are no quotas for individual disciplines or countries. A candidate’s academic qualification is assessed on the basis of the following criteria: – academic record and academic performance to date (mobility, determination, breadth of research activities, academic productivity) – quality of key publications specified in the application (originality, degree of innovation, applicant’s contribution in cases of multiple authorship) – originality and innovation potential of the suggested research outline (significance for the advancement of the discipline, convincing choice of academic methods, prospects for academic development of the applicant, clear focus and feasibility of realization within the requested funding period and at the chosen host institution) – the applicant’s future potential (academic potential, further academic development, career prospects)
Applications are assessed on the basis of independent peer reviews requested by the Humboldt Foundation. The final decision is taken by a committee composed of academics from all disciplines in the framework of the funding available.
The fellowship is worth 2,650 EUR per month. This includes a mobility lump sum and a contribution towards health and liability insurance. Additional benefits for research fellows: – lump sum for the fellow’s travel expenses if the costs are not borne by a third party; – language fellowship for an intensive language course lasting two to four months at selected language institutes in Germany immediately prior to the actual period of research; language fellowships may also be granted to accompanying marital partners. – family allowances for accompanying family members staying at least three months (monthly allowance: up to 326 EUR for marital partners and up to 234 EUR for each child); 1 Researchers who completed their doctorates more than four, but no more than twelve years ago may apply for “Humboldt Research Fellowships for experienced researchers”. as of September 2015 – for single-parents: flat-rate allowance for accompanying children (under the age of 18) for stays of at least three months (400 EUR per month for the first child and 100 EUR per month for every additional child); – additional extension of the fellowship up to 12 months for research fellows accompanied by children under the age of 12; – a subsidy towards research costs to be paid to the hosts in Germany amounting to 800 EUR per month (for research in the natural sciences and engineering) and 500 EUR (for research in the humanities and social sciences); –
Europe allowance for a research stay at a research institute in another European country (though not the research fellow’s own country); for a designated period in the course of the fellowship if necessary to ensure the success of the research; – extensive alumni sponsorship once a successful research stay has come to an end, especially for maintaining contacts with collaborative partners in Germany during the Humboldtian’s entire academic career.
- Doctorate or comparable academic degree (Ph.D., C.Sc. or equivalent), completed less than four years prior to the date of application. Candidates who have nearly completed their doctoral degrees are eligible to apply provided that they submit the manuscript of their dissertation or publications containing the results of their dissertation, however, at the earliest, 6 months prior to the completion of their dissertation.
- Academic publications reviewed according to international standards and printed in journals and/or by publishing houses.
- Confirmation that research facilities are available and mentoring agreement and a detailed expert’s statement by an academic host at a research institution in Germany.
- Expert reviews from the doctoral supervisor and one other academic qualified to give wellfounded comments on the applicant’s qualification, preferably including reviewers not working at the applicant’s own institute.
- Necessary language skills: humanities or social sciences and medicine: good knowledge of German if it is necessary to carry out the research successfully; otherwise a good knowledge of English; natural sciences and engineering: good knowledge of German or English.
Potential applicants who have been in Germany for more than six months at the time of application are not eligible to apply.
For more information regarding recently terminated long term stays in Germany please visit the FAQ on our website.
Potential applicants of German nationality are eligible to apply provided that their habitual place of work and residence has been located abroad on the assumption of permanence for at least five years.
Potential applicants who have completed their school education and one university degree or one university degree and their doctorate in Germany are subject to the regulations governing German citizens. Visit the FAQ on the website for additional information.
Academics who have already been sponsored by the Humboldt Foundation are not eligible to apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme but should turn to the Foundation’s Alumni Programme for support for further research stays. as of September 2015
Application and selection procedure
Applications can only be submitted online. The completed application form, including the necessary additional documents, should be submitted at least four to seven months ahead of the prospective selection date. Visit the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s website for further information on the online application process and all necessary documents as well as access to the online application system. A confirmation of receipt will be issued after the application has been submitted. The expert reviewers as well as the host should send their statements directly to the Humboldt Foundation.
Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their documents are complete. Incomplete applications will be excluded from the selection procedure. After checking the documents, applicants will be notified about the proposed selection date. The application documents will then usually be forwarded to two independent reviewers for written review.
On the basis of these independent peer reviews a selection committee composed of about 50 academics from all disciplines reaches a decision on approving research fellowships.
The selection committee meets every year in March, July and November. If an application has been approved, a fellow arriving from abroad may start the fellowship two months after the selection meeting at the earliest. Fellows must start their fellowships within twelve months of the selection meeting; otherwise the fellowship will be forfeited. After a negative selection decision, candidates may apply informally by email to be informed about the factors which led to the rejection. In this case, applicants and their hosts will receive notification on this issue approx. four to six weeks after the selection committee meeting. It is not possible to appeal. However, applicants who have been rejected may submit a revised application provided that fundamental aspects of the original application have been significantly improved.
Further information on the selection procedure can be found in the FAQ on the Humboldt Foundation’s website as well as in the application form. Further details pertaining to the fellowship and to the research stay can be found in our Guidelines and Information for Research Fellows. Moreover, the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and the ethical rules of the 7th EU Framework Programme apply both to applications and sponsorship.