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Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

International Award for Research in Germany

The "Regulations on the Use of Funds" were modified recently: Unfortunately, it is no more possible to use the administrative flat rate as a reserve for salary supplements after the funding period has come to an end.

Academics of all disciplines from abroad, who are internationally recognised as leaders in their field and who are expected to contribute to enhancing Germany's sustained international competitiveness as a research location in consequence of the award, are eligible to be nominated for an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship.

The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, which is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research through the International Research Fund for Germany, enables award winners to carry out long-term and ground-breaking research at universities and research institutions in Germany. The award funds, totalling €5 million for academics in experimental disciplines and €3.5 million for researchers in theoretical disciplines, are made available for a period of five years.

Nominations may be submitted online by German universities; non-university research institutions may also submit nominations jointly with a German university.

Online nomination

Further information

  1. The nominee must be recognised as a world leader in his or her field.
  2. The nominee must be established as an academic abroad.
  3. Nomination by a research institution entitled to make nominations.
  4. Detailed statement on the nominee's academic qualifications and his/her compatibility with the nominating university’s strategic development by the institution in Germany making the nomination.
  5. The nominating institution's strategic development plan, e.g., with regard to enhancing its capacity to compete internationally in the nominee's subject area as well as the nominee’s role as a catalyst in bringing about structural change.
  6. Assurance that the position can be sustainably integrated in the structure of the research institution even after Alexander von Humboldt Foundation sponsorship has come to an end.
  7. Observance of the Rules of Good Scientific Practice.

Nominations may be submitted online to the Humboldt Foundation at any time.

The Humboldt Foundation will confirm receipt of the online nomination by email. It is the nominator’s responsibility to ensure that he or she has submitted all the necessary documents.

Subsequently, the nomination documents will usually be forwarded to independent peer reviewers in Germany and abroad for written review. Reviewing the nominations takes five to six months. Therefore, nominations should be submitted well before the meeting of the Selection Committee targeted. The closing dates for submitting applications are 15 April and 15 September.

An independent Selection Committee composed of academics from all disciplines makes the final decision on the nominations received. The competition between nominations is international and there are no quotas for countries or disciplines. The Selection Committee makes its decision on the basis of the nominee’s excellence and the persuasiveness of the concept for his or her involvement in and importance for achieving the nominating institution’s strategic goals. There are two selection meetings annually.

Nominees will be notified about the Selection Committee's decision immediately after the meeting.

Further information

One of our hallmarks is the degree of support we try to provide for every single guest researcher. This is why we offer you extra benefits in addition to the award amount: from invitations to events to language courses.

Further information

Once a Humboldtian, always a Humboldtian: Even after your initial research stay has come to an end, we shall still maintain close contact with you. Our alumni sponsorship is flexible and designed to support every Humboldtian’s particular path in life and development as well as collaborations between individuals.

Further information

This programme is financed by the:


Where do I find answers to the questions that are not addressed in these FAQs?

If you have any questions or comments regarding the programme, feel free to contact Alexander von Humboldt Foundation headquarters.
We strongly recommend applicants to contact the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation prior to submission to clarify any questions pending (Email: avh-professur(at); Regina Basse, Tel +49(0)228-833-170; Dr. Oliver Lange, Tel +49(0)228-833-274). Processing may be delayed if applications are submitted incomplete or require further clarification.

For detailed information on previously awarded Humboldt Professorships see

What are the basic differences between an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship and many other endowed professorships?

  1. You can apply for a Humboldt Professorship in any academic discipline. The Humboldt Foundation makes no stipulations on this point.
  2. The Humboldt Professorship is intended for the long term, i.e. the receiving institution must ensure from the beginning that the award winner will be given a tenured academic leadership position when the five-year sponsorship period comes to an end. This will usually be a W3 position.
  3. With the administrative lump sum (see “award funds”) the Humboldt Foundation provides the receiving institution with a tool that will facilitate the transition from Humboldt Foundation financing to its own financing.

Preparing an application

What are the most important application criteria?

  1. The nominee's academic qualifications, indicating that he or she is clearly at the forefront of the respective discipline internationally.
  2. The persuasiveness of the concept outlining the nominee’s importance for and prospective involvement in the process of achieving the nominating institution’s strategic goals.
There are no quotas for countries or disciplines, for example.

Which concepts promise chances of success?

It is assumed that the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship will contribute to the internationalisation of especially promising research areas in Germany.

It is expected that synergies will be achieved in the focus and structure of the academic environment at the receiving institution. Even though the award winners will be at the centre of the sponsorship provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, they will also be the starting point for sustainable structural change both at the receiving universities and research institutions as well as in their environment. As such, they should act as a catalyst for the continuation of development at the receiving institution.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation expects the receiving institution to make a substantial contribution, going beyond providing basic equipment and facilities, already from the start of sponsorship. This contribution is to be complemented meaningfully by the measures financed from the award funds.

Under what circumstances is it worthwhile to submit an application?

Only applications which have the full support of the university leadership have a chance of being successful.
The Humboldt Professorship is conceived as an integral part of the university’s overall strategic development. You should therefore choose a department which is a planning major realignment and restructuring or has already embarked on this process.

Are there guidelines for joint applications by universities and non-university research institutions?

The application must indicate how the Humboldt Professor’s work, as well as the award funds (working group, material investments), are to be distributed. Precise figures are not required. The Humboldt Professorship must be utilised to strengthen the university significantly.
It is not possible that the Humboldt Professorship should almost exclusively benefit the non-university research institution, i.e. that the university should only submit a pro forma application.

What agreements should the applicant institution in Germany make with the candidate before submitting an application?

There are enormous personal and organisational consequences resulting from being appointed to a Humboldt Professorship.
At the time the application is submitted the nominee must confirm that he or she will move to your institution in Germany on a permanent basis if the professorship is awarded. Guarantees must be given that the candidate will be able to embark on the research work in Germany twelve months after the selection committee’s decision at the latest. Thus, prior to application, the nominating institution should draw up as detailed a scenario as possible and come to an agreement with the nominee as to how he or she should be involved in the receiving institution.
We also recommend you to discuss the details of the appointment offer in advance, both in relation to the items to be financed from the award funds as well as those to be covered by the contribution to be made by the university. In addition, you should discuss how the position is to be continued after sponsorship has come to an end – this also helps to underpin the presentation in the application package. Experience shows that this also has a beneficial effect on later appointment negotiations.
Points to be discussed might include
  • salary structures for the award winner and the working group
  • teaching duties
  • dual career options
  • staffing resources, possibly a working group budget
  • opportunities and limits for staff recruitment (employment contracts for members of the working group, advertising formalities; contracts for knowledge bearers also moving to Germany may hold surprises)
  • pension provision, including previously accrued pension rights
  • depending on age: potential concept for a senior professorship
  • technical resources, facilities
  • financial and technical challenges involved in laboratory relocation; time required for acquiring laboratory equipment
  • current structures in the receiving department
  • "road map" for commencing work in Germany and completing research abroad
  • legal aspects pertaining to research in Germany, e.g. in relation to legislation on stem cells, animal rights, safety at work and buildings etc.; scheduling applications for permission, if applicable
  • current relationship of the candidate to universities and research institutions in Germany (mentoring of doctoral or habilitation theses, working group leaderships etc.). It may be important to contact the Humboldt Foundation in advance to discuss whether any formal obstacles speak against a nomination (cf. FAQs on target group for Humboldt Professorships)

What stage should have been reached in appointment or employment procedures before an application is submitted?

When the application is received an appointment may have been offered but it may not have been accepted.
Applications are independent of appointment or employment procedures; it may be necessary to submit additional information (see hints in the online form).

Should a researcher be nominated prior to the appointment or advertising process, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation recommends the nominating university and non-university research institution to reach an agreement on the potential appointment or employment with the relevant committees, so that in the event of a positive award decision, an appointment or employment decision can be made without further internal coordination.

Should the appointment be accepted prior to the decision on awarding the Humboldt Professorship, we recommend justifying the importance of the Humboldt Professorship funds for recruiting this top researcher.

Can a university submit several applications at the same time, and can several Humboldt Professors work at the same university concurrently?


Applicant university / research institution

Which institutions are eligible to apply

Any university in Germany is eligible to apply. Non-university research institutions in Germany may make a nomination jointly with a university. Joint applications make sense when both partners would benefit significantly from such a professorship. This must be explained convincingly in the joint university concept. Sponsorship must benefit the university to a large degree.

Can two universities submit a joint nomination?

Yes, it is possible for two universities to submit a nomination jointly. In the application, the universities must explain how they are going to cooperate in the recruitment of the nominee and at which university, and in which way, the nominee will be integrated.

Target group for a Humboldt Professorship

May researchers nominate themselves?

No, self-nomination is not possible.

What constitutes an eligible candidate?

The programme addresses "research luminaries" of all disciplines from abroad. Choose your candidate carefully with an eye to academic excellence and the greatest possible coherence between his or her research profile and your strategic development planning.

What qualifications are the candidates expected to bring with them?

Candidates are expected to hold a position of international eminence in their field and must also have the potential to lead their new department in Germany to the forefront of international excellence. Their academic qualifications should be comparable to that of a Leibniz Prize winner.

Are Alexander von Humboldt Professorships awarded in certain preferred disciplines?


Is there a formal age limit?

No. As a matter of principle, however, the candidate must be eligible to be appointed to a professorship in Germany.
Furthermore, the issue of sustainability should be observed: the proposal will normally be considered to be sustainable if the Humboldt Professor can be expected to continue productive academic activities for at least 10 years from the beginning of the sponsorship period. If retirement is scheduled to fall within this period, please explain how you intend to proceed in order to ensure the sustainability of the funding (concept for a senior professorship or similar).

Can a German national be nominated?

Academics of German nationality are eligible to be nominated provided that they have established their academic careers abroad. This is considered to be the case if they fulfil at least one of the following conditions:
  • They have a tenured position abroad.
  • They have worked abroad in an academic capacity for an uninterrupted period of at least five years.

Is it possible to nominate an academic who has already accepted an appointment in Germany?

No, with one exception: If the candidate accepts an appointment at the nominating institution after the Humboldt Foundation has received the application documents, it has no adverse effect on the application and does not formally exclude him or her from the selection procedure.

Can the Humboldt Professor commute between his former location and Germany ("split appointment")?

Not indefinitely. However, there might be a transitional period during which he or she finalises current research or mentoring work with students and doctoral candidates abroad.

May candidates be nominated who already are or have been in Germany immediately prior to nomination?

Whether this academic is eligible to be nominated for a Humboldt Professorship depends on the type and duration of activity in Germany. Academics may usually be nominated if the stay in Germany was temporary, i.e. in the context of a visiting professorship.
Academics who are academically established abroad, but also hold a regular position in Germany at the same time (such as a professorship, directorship or any other position under an employment or service contract), may not be nominated. If in doubt, please consult the Humboldt Foundation in advance.

Is it possible to nominate an academic who is not permanently associated with any research institution?

Yes, this is not an obstacle provided that he or she conducts research abroad on a long-term basis. If in doubt, please consult the Humboldt Foundation in advance.

Is it possible to nominate an academic who has been sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the past?


Is it possible to submit a nomination for an academic who has previously been unsuccessful?

Yes, this is possible. You should, however, definitely consult the Selection Department at the Humboldt Foundation (avh-professur(at) before submitting a further application.

Award funds

Which factors must be taken into account in determining the Humboldt Professor's personal income?

We recommend that you discuss the salary with the candidate as early as possible. In the interest of sustainability, you should ensure that the award winner will not suffer any loss of income even after the sponsorship period comes to an end. In general, any questions with regard to taxation and social security should be clarified. Personal income is normally subject to German income tax.
The Humboldt Professor's personal income may be supplemented using funds allocated in connection with the Humboldt Professorship, or from other funding at the receiving institution’s disposal. Hybrid financing and top-up benefits are also possible.

Is it possible to use the award funds for research purposes only (i.e. not for salary payments)?

Yes, this is possible, although15 percent of the award funds must be designated as a lump sum for administration.

Must the application explain how the award funds are to be used?

Yes, but only in general terms. A numerical breakdown of the intended use by type of expenditure will only be required after the Selection Committee has made a positive decision.

Should we provide specific information on the use of the lump sum for administration?

No, specific information is not required. We do recommend, however, that you provide some information on how you intend to utilise the lump sum for administration in order to integrate the Humboldt Professor into the receiving institution.

How should the lump sum for administration be used?

The so-called lump sum for administration, which amounts to 15 percent of the requested funding amount, represents the portion of the award funds that the receiving institution can use at its own discretion. The use of these funds is very flexible. They can be used to finance any measures to recruit the Humboldt Professor for the new institution and ensure that he or she remains long-term, such as integration or dual career measures or compensation for any pension entitlements that he or she may have accumulated abroad and forfeited upon relocation. Please contact the respective state ministries or pension offices for further information.
It is not possible any more to build reserves from the lump sum for administration.
The general purpose of the lump sum for administration is to help the receiving institution make the future Humboldt Professor an offer that is too good to refuse. It is therefore advisable to find out about the candidate’s very specific wishes and needs in advance and to prepare a tailor-made package of measures.

Selection procedure

Will the Humboldt Foundation confirm receipt of the application?

As soon as we receive your nomination we will notify you by email. We will also notify the contact person if any important documents or information are missing or need amending, usually a few weeks after receiving the application.

Who reviews the nomination?

Independent German and international peer reviewers will evaluate the application.

Is it possible to name individual academics who should be excluded from the independent review process?

This is possible but should only be invoked in exceptional cases, such as reviewers who are themselves applicants in the same appointment procedures.
It is not possible to exclude entire “schools” from the review process. However, we do take the greatest care in selecting the individual, appropriate reviewers.

Who decides on the applications?

A Selection Committee appointed specifically for this purpose will make the final decision on the Humboldt Professorships by two-thirds majority. It is composed of academics of all disciplines and ex officio members. Humboldt Foundation headquarters has no voice on the Selection Committee. For the list of Selection Committee members visit: website.

Who will be notified of the selection decision and when?

The rectors or presidents as well as the directorates or boards of non-university research institutions will usually be notified on the first working day after the Selection Committee meeting. Rejected candidates will not receive a selection notice from the Humboldt Foundation; the Humboldt Professors are usually notified three working days after the Selection Committee meeting.

Which deadlines must be observed after the selection decision?

The date of the award letter to the Humboldt Professor serves as reference date for the following deadlines:
  • within 4 weeks at the latest: submission of the declaration of acceptance;
  • within 8 months at the latest: successful conclusion of appointment negotiations between award winner and receiving research institution; submission of the "Agreements between the award winner and the receiving institution" (cf. Form, Enclosure 1) to the 'Regulations on the use of funds') and the research and financial plan;
  • within 12 months at the latest: award winner begins his or her work at the receiving research institution in Germany.

In case these deadlines are not met, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation reserves the right to revoke the award.


How high is the success rate?

Only those applications that leave no doubt whatsoever about the academic excellence of the candidate and the persuasiveness of the university concept will ultimately be approved. In the past, this applied to about one in four applications on average.

To what extent should applicants and candidates be prepared for a negative decision?

Applicants and candidates should plan for the possibility of a rejection. We recommend that you explore in advance under which conditions the candidate would be willing to transfer to the academic institution in Germany even without the support of the Humboldt Foundation.

Does the Humboldt Foundation give reasons for a rejection?

There is no detailed written explanation for a rejection. After each Selection Committee meeting, we are available by telephone to give you information on the competitive situation and the selection criteria for the Humboldt Professorships. We also give advice on potential future nominations.

Appropriation, use and provision of funds

Can award funds be transferred from one budgetary year to the next?

Yes, within the sponsorship period of 5 years. Payments are made in instalments according to the financial plan and are effected – depending on the demand and the availability of budgetary means – as soon as possible. The cash balance as per Dec. 31st of each year must not exceed 20% of the total instalment paid that year; in exceptional cases this amount can be exceeded.

How precise should the details on the "fund request" form be?

As detailed as possible to help the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's budgetary planning.

By when should the entire amount of award funds be spent?

By the end of the sponsorship period. Any remaining funds must be remitted to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

How should travel expenses be claimed?

According to the regulations governing the receiving institution (e.g. the respective state law on travel expenses).

Is it possible to use award funds to finance the costs of an official mobile phone?

An official mobile phone may be financed from award funds ("expendable items/miscellaneous").

Is it possible to take a lump-sum from the award funds to cover certain very small expenses (mobile phone, meals on journeys, public transport)?

It is possible on principle; it is not forbidden in the regulations. How this "ready cash" is actually dealt with is a matter for agreement with the administration of the receiving institution.

Does the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation subsidise moving expenses or may award funds be used to finance domestic moving expenses?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation does not pay subsidies towards moving expenses. The regulations governing travel expenses for public service at the place of employment obtain (including the payment of moving expenses).

Which sections of the receiving institution are entitled to the administrative flat-rate? Is it paid directly to the department in which the administrative costs are actually incurred or could the central administration/rectorate also make claims?

This question has to be clarified with the receiving institution. In the agreement between the award winner and the receiving institution, as well as in the Regulations on the Use of Funds, the receiving institution in general is cited as the recipient of this lump-sum.

Is the amount of the administrative flat-rate based on the original amount of award funds or may accrued interest also be taken into account in calculating the amount?

The basis for calculating the administrative flat-rate is the original amount of award funds (excluding interest accrued).

Is it possible to use award funds to finance invitations to national and foreign academics to hold guest lectures etc. at the award winner's receiving institution? (Travel expenses, accommodation, meals, remuneration)?

Yes, based on the regulations and cost unit rates pertaining at the receiving institution.

I would like to take my group on a cultural/scientific outing to Hamburg. May I use award funds for the travel expenses?

Yes, award funds may be used to cover travel expenses as the outing arises from the employment situation which, apart from a salary, also includes other social contributions (which may embrace a group outing).

May expenses incurred in connection with interviewing applicants for potential membership of the working group be financed from the award funds?

To cover expenses incurred in connection with interviewing applicants the relevant regulations obtaining at the receiving institution should be the determining factor.

May award funds be used to finance the cost of German language courses attended by members of the working group?

If attending a language course is the precondition for working on the project successfully and providing it cannot be financed from other funding – yes.

May the costs of entertaining (academic) guests be taken from the administrative flat-rate?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has no objections to using award funds to cover the costs of entertaining invited guests. And it is possible to use the administrative flat-rate for this purpose. In chapter III of the Regulations on the Use of Funds general information can be found on the sort of expenses covered by the administrative flat-rate.

We should like to set up a small kitchen with a coffee machine, fridge, etc. for the staff and invited guests. May we finance these purchases from the award funds?

Yes, preferably from the proportion of award funds earmarked for the administration of the host institution as the administrative flat-rate. Upon purchase, any equipment and utensils immediately become property of the receiving institution.

May research funding from other sources (e.g. third-party funding from the DFG, EU etc.) be applied for in addition to the award funds?

Yes. Please note that you are obligated to inform the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of applications for or any further funding granted for the same research project. Your contacts within the administration will advise you. It is forbidden to duplicate financing for one and the same research project (double funding). If additional funds are granted for a subproject on a closely related topic (parallel sponsorship), careful attention should be paid to a strict division of budgets - especially when preparing the documentations on the use of funds. In the event of violations of these regulations the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation retains the right to reclaim part or all of the award money.

Human and material resources

How may or should I employ my staff?

The employment of staff should be based on the relevant legal framework regulations governing the receiving institution. All designated forms are possible, including employment contracts on the basis of the TVöD-/TV-L-tariff and fee agreements. In addition to this, the Regulations on the Use of Funds draw specific attention to the fact that fellowships may be granted.

Are there rules/guidelines on advertising positions?

The advertisement should conform to the relevant legal framework conditions at the respective receiving institution. As with all public presentations, at a suitable point reference should be made to the sponsorship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as donor.

In which geographical locations should positions be advertised? Only in Germany, or in Europe, or should they address academics all over the world?

Depending on needs and target group advertisements may be placed in publications disseminated world-wide.
We would like to draw your attention to the site: EURAXESS Jobs on the EURAXESS – Researchers in Motion portal. Euraxess Jobs is a Europe-wide job exchange for researchers, where universities, research organisations and industry can post their vacancies.

Members of the working group not employed by the receiving institution do not have professional indemnity insurance. How can this problem be solved?

By taking out a professional indemnity insurance privately.

What are the regulations applying to the granting of fellowships to PhD students by comparison with postdocs?

The award-winner is entitled to earmark funds from the award money which the receiving institution may use to grant fellowships, particularly to scientists and scholars from abroad. The basis for determining the value of the fellowship should be the monthly instalments paid by the German Academic Exchange Service and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to graduate and post-doc fellows respectively (cf. Regulations on the Use of Funds, cf. IV, Personnel).

How flexible am I with regard to the amount granted for monthly fellowship payments and additional benefits? Can I deviate from the rates foreseen for Humboldt Fellows and DAAD Scholars?

Divergence is possible, should, however, be convincingly and soundly substantiated and should be noted in the files accompanying the documentation of payment. Possible implications with regard to tax liability are to be clarified in advance.

Does the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation provide forms for managing fellowships (e.g. sample grant letters, sample declarations of acceptance)?

Yes, they can be provided on request.

Are representatives of the receiving institution signatories to the procedures involved in granting fellowships?

Yes, inevitably, as in the interests of the award winner, it is only the receiving institution which is entitled to grant fellowships. Cf. Regulations on the Use of Funds, ch. IV, "The receiving institution acts as employer on the award winner's behalf. The award winner is entitled to earmark funds from the award money which the receiving institution may use to grant fellowships...".

I am a doctoral student in the working group of an awardee and receive a fellowship from the Australian National University which will continue during the period of time I spend in Germany. As the cost of living in Australia is lower than in Germany I have been told that my fellowship will be raised to the level of the German doctoral tariff TVöD EG 13/2 (BAT IIa/2). Is it possible to use award funds to pay partial fellowships?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has no objections to the planned increase in the fellowship up to the level of remuneration received by German doctoral students (TVöD EG 13/2 / BAT IIa/2). Information on granting fellowships from the award funds can be found in ch. IV (Personnel) of the "Regulations on the Use of Funds". These details also apply to granting partial fellowships.

Are there any special procedures required by the receiving institution in order to pay fellowships or can I simply choose those who should be sponsored by a fellowship?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation recommends setting up an ad hoc committee for selecting fellows, e.g. comprising of the award winner, the head of department, an additional scientific member of the department and the dean or vice-dean. It is not out of the question that the award winner should "have a free hand" in selecting fellows. The act of granting the fellowship can, however, only be carried out by the receiving institution. At the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation the following procedure applies: selection of excellence, documented by academic qualification, on the basis of specialist reviews and discussion/decision in the selection committee.

11. Is a fellowship granted in the framework of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship free of tax? A German tax office would like to be provided with proof and is also asking for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's tax number.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's tax number is of no relevance to the tax office because the fellowship is not an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship but a fellowship in the framework of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. In the framework of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, it is the receiving institution which has granted the fellowship (see “Regulations on the Use of Funds”, chapter IV “Human and material resources”). However, these fellowships should be granted according to the regulations governing the granting of Humboldt Fellowships. We are then pleased to confirm that Humboldt Research Fellowships are free of tax in Germany according to § 3 No. 44 of German Income Tax Law. We, therefore, assume, that fellowships in the framework of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship are also free of tax in Germany providing the concrete case does indeed fulfil the definitive criteria for exemption from taxation. Any further information should be obtained from your receiving institution.

Scientific equipment

At my receiving institution procurement of scientific equipment takes up to six months due to the complicated call for tenders. This would delay the progress of my research project. Is it, therefore, possible to procure equipment in a less "bureaucratic" fashion or would this kind of procedure conflict with the Regulations on the Use of Funds which state that the award funds must be used economically and prudently?

The reference to an economic use of funds has to be looked at from the point of view of the amount of time available for the project, too. Without the necessary equipment the research work cannot be carried out, the objective of the award - international top-flight research - cannot be achieved. The pressure of international competition in the respective research field should also be borne in mind and this might mean procuring equipment quickly. These basic conditions and the costs which might be incurred for a stand-by phase caused by delay should be one of the aspects taken into account when discussing the economic procurement of equipment. If allowance is made for the aforementioned aspects the institution entrusted with the administration of funds does not infringe conventional allocation regulations by purchasing without a call for tenders because procurement must take place at speed [§ 3 No. 4 lit f) VOL/A].

Can equipment/scientific supplies be purchased for the project abroad and then brought to Germany?

Yes, if this is necessary for the success of the research project.


Are the award funds taxable?

Award winners are responsible for all matters pertaining to their taxation. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation assumes that the award will be classified as a grant towards a research project in Germany and, as such, be free of tax. Whether the proportion of the award funds earmarked for covering living expenses is taxable should be examined individually. In this case, any existing double taxation agreements may be relevant. The laws in the award winners’ own countries or countriesof residence may include special regulations on taxing awards. If in doubt, the award winners should contact a tax advisor in their own country.
When conferring fellowships funded out of award funds, particular attention needs to be drawn to applicable special tax regulations (cf. FAQ II.11).

Acceptance of the Award / Use and Provision of Award Funds

What commitments does the Humboldt Professor enter into by signing the declaration of acceptance?

By signing the declaration of acceptance, the Humboldt Professor expresses his or her essential agreement to accepting sponsorship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He or she also commits him- or herself to entering into the actual appointment negotiations with the German receiving institution.

Exploiting research results – publications, patents and licences

In the acknowledgements included in publications ensuing from projects sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship the Humboldt Foundation and the BMBF are supposed to be mentioned explicitly. Are there any standard formulations?

In publications and all other (especially public) presentations, appropriate reference should be made to the sponsorship provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation as well as to the donor, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is to be presented as an endowed professorship; the nomenclature should, in particular, be used as an addition to the name of the chair and in official correspondence, in particular in the letter head. There is no further binding standard formulation.

If it is planned to use the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation logo, the following needs to be observed:
  • The use of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation logo in any kind of communication is subject to strict rules. The logo and its constituent parts are a trademarked name and may not be reproduced without obtaining the express written authorisation of the Foundation in advance. The logo comprises three parts: the head of Alexander von Humboldt, the script nameplate and the bilingual addition "Stiftung/Foundation". These elements jointly comprise the inseparable word/image trademark. The logo and its constituent parts may not be copied, altered or truncated or integrated in other logos.
  • Use of the logo is authorised in publications and other, in particular public, presentations (e.g. conference presentations) of research results that were produced in direct connection with sponsorship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. For this purpose, the logo with the label "Unterstützt von/Supported by" may be downloaded from the password-protected section of Network Online in an electronic file format that conforms to the specific requirements for print:
  • Any other use of the logo requires prior written permission from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and must be requested in writing, stating the intended use of the logo.

If a patent is supposed to be registered in the framework of Alexander von Humboldt Professorship sponsorship should the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation receive any kind of share in the patent?

No such provision for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is foreseen in the Regulations on the Use of Funds. In accordance with the "Agreements between the award winner and the receiving institution" the provisions of the "German Employees Invention Act", (ArbNErfindungsG) apply. If a patent is registered, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation should be informed. Cf. also "Regulations on the Use of Funds", cf. VII.

May award funds be used to cover any costs incurred in registering a patent?

Providing the registration of the patent is covered by ch. VII of the Regulations on the Use of Funds, costs incurred may be financed from award funds.