Humboldt Research Fellowship

Information for Independent Peer Reviewers

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation sponsors exceptionally qualified scientists and scholars both individually and ad personam. The Humboldt Foundation's focus on this kind of individualised sponsorship plays an especially important role during the selection process. Identifying extremely promising and outstanding talent is thus even more important than assessing the academic quality of a research outline.

Granting a research fellowship means securing long-term support for collaboration with partners in Germany through the Humboldt Foundation's Alumni sponsorship. As such, it is very important to target the academic elites of tomorrow when selecting the research fellows of today and enlist them as partners for Germany.

In addition to the expert reviews provided by the applicant, the Humboldt Foundation’s selection committee requires independent, external peer reviews. In such cases, we will approach you and ask you to act as an independent peer reviewer. Your review will, of course, be treated confidentially, just as we assume that you will maintain confidentiality with respect to all those involved. In order to provide helpful feedback for candidates whose applications are rejected, we may forward short, anonymous quotations from your statements to the applicant and proposed host. We should be grateful if you would base your review on the list of questions for independent peer reviewers. Please answer all the questions so that we can do full justice to the applicant in the evaluation process. Visit for a graphic overview of the entire selection procedure.

When assessing an applicant's academic performance to date, appropriate consideration should be given to the conditions under which the academic results have been achieved, as evidenced by the curriculum vitae. When making a final recommendation please bear in mind that, due to the large number of applications from all over the world, we can currently only approve about one third of all the applications. Thus, only exceptionally highly-qualified researchers can be considered for sponsorship by the Humboldt Foundation.

Information on the sponsorship criteria relating to Humboldt Research Fellowships can be found in the relevant Programme Information for Humboldt Research Fellowships for post-doctoral researchers and for Humboldt Research Fellowships for experienced researchers.

Before preparing your review, please check that you are not affected by impartiality issues (Guidelines on impartiality/conflict of interest). Should you not consider yourself sufficiently impartial or appropriately qualified to provide an expert opinion or not be able to submit your statement in the time foreseen, we should be very grateful if you would provide us with the name and address of a competent colleague and return the application documents to us immediately.

We apologise that, in the interests of an efficient selection process, we have to request you to complete your independent review promptly (usually in two to three weeks).

We shall, of course, notify you of the outcome of the entire selection procedure for which you submit reviews. Should you have any questions, please contact Humboldt headquarters.