13 October 2010, No. 26/2010

Three new Alexander von Humboldt Professors selected

Germany's highest valued international research award goes to three researchers from abroad

The most recent Humboldt Professorships have been awarded to a psycholinguist and two physicists. The International Award for Research in Germany, worth up to five million EUR, is granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. With the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, the Foundation honours world-leading researchers of all academic disciplines working abroad. In the long term, these researchers will then conduct cutting-edge research at German universities.

The selected award winners are currently entering into appointment negotiations with the German universities that nominated them.

  • Psycholinguist Harald Clahsen (55), currently researching at the University of Essex, Colchester, UK, is to work at the University of Potsdam.
  • The quantum physicist David DiVincenzo (51), from the IBM Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, USA, was nominated by RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich.
  • Vahid Sandoghdar (44) is a physicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and is to conduct research for the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen.

“The nominations from the successful universities of Aachen, Erlangen-Nürnberg and Potsdam show how the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship may be used as a strategic instrument: The award winners will help to expand existing areas of excellence and intensify co-operation with non-university research institutions. The award winners’ knowledge and international repute will contribute to the fulfilment of these strategies,” explained Helmut Schwarz, the Foundation's President.


“We have selected excellent scientists for the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship once again this year,” commented Annette Schavan, Germany's Federal Minister of Education and Research. “As a result, the international community will look at Germany and see that Germany is a talent pool; we have good conditions for research, and we want to compete with the world's best.”

The Humboldt Foundation's selection committee had eight applications to consider: two of the eight candidates are currently working in the USA, UK and Netherlands respectively, one in Switzerland and one in Australia.

The award amount is earmarked for funding the first five years in Germany. The award gives universities the opportunity to offer international top-class researchers competitive conditions and the prospect of long-term work in Germany as well as the opportunity to raise their own institutional profiles.

At this year’s third and final selection meeting, the winners of the three remaining awards for 2010 were selected. Seven of the ten Humboldt Professorships were already granted in February and June. The award ceremony is scheduled for 12 May 2011 in Berlin.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 24,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 130 countries worldwide – including 44 Nobel Prize winners.

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