Humboldt Foundation increases its engagement in selected countries

In the coming years the Humboldt Foundation wants to extend its network in Turkey, Korea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Colombia.

In all five countries, the Foundation sees it is not yet exploiting existing scientific potential to the full. By increasing the amount of information and targeted promotion it would like to encourage more excellent researchers from these countries to apply for a Humboldt Research Fellowship and spend time researching in Germany.

This year, the focus is on Colombia and Turkey.

Back in May, Humboldt President, Helmut Schwarz, discussed the “Perspectives and Challenges of Bilateral Research Collaboration” with high-ranking representatives of science at a well-attended event in Colombia during the state visit by Federal President, Joachim Gauck, to Bogotá. This summer, Enno Aufderheide, the Foundation’s Secretary General visited the universities in Bogotá and Barranquilla to present the sponsorship opportunities offered by the Foundation. He also went to Medellin. Colombia’s second-largest city has just been named the “most innovative city in the world” by the Urban Land Institute, Citibank and the Wall Street Journal – an accolade that also recognises the enormous progress that has been made in research and science.

Two research fellows from the Colombian network – molecular geneticist, Diana Torres López, and mathematician, Bernardo Uribe, are helping the Foundation to publicise the opportunities and perspectives offered by one of the Foundation’s research fellowships.

For the last year, López has been a Georg Forster Research Fellow at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg. Her research will help people in her own country to understand more about the development and progression of breast cancer so that early diagnosis can be improved. Uribe will return to Colombia in 2014 after several stays in Germany, the most recent one as a Humboldt Research Fellow at the University of Bonn. He will then teach and do research at his own university, the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, and host German researchers who want to work at his institute in Colombia supported by a fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation.

Since 2012, ten per cent of the annual profits from the mining of raw materials, which is very important to Colombia, are channelled into promoting research and innovation. Other focus areas include the establishment of promotional programmes, the development of centres of research excellence and the internationalisation of the science system. As early as 1993, the public research funding organisation, Colciencias, started to provide support for Colombian junior researchers to go abroad during their doctorates. Apart from the Humboldt Foundation, Colciencias has so far cooperated with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK).

In Turkey, too, the Humboldt Foundation would like to initiate more scientific collaborations especially as, like Korea, Turkey is one of the countries in which the Foundation sees great research potential.

Thus, at the end of November, the Humboldt Foundation will present its sponsorship programmes to junior researchers at five universities in Istanbul and Ankara.

A collaboration between the Humboldt Foundation and the Joachim Herz Foundation will be presented, amongst others, at an event attended by Humboldt President, Helmut Schwarz, at the German Embassy in Ankara. This collaboration will generate approximately 800,000 EUR to finance Humboldt Research Fellowships for up to eight Turkish applicants from the natural sciences until 2016.  


Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Press, Communications and Marketing
Jean-Paul-Str. 12
53173 Bonn

Tel: +49 228 833-257/-144
Fax:+49 228 833-441


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