25 September 2012, No. 27/2012

Winning universities of the Research Alumni Competition announced

FU Berlin, University of Cologne and TU München are victorious in the ideas competition ‘Research alumni of universities in Germany’

The award winners of the second round of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation ideas competition ‘Research alumni of universities in Germany’ have been announced. Awards go to the Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Cologne and the Technische Universität München. A further award is also being presented to the Technische Universität Braunschweig but without financial funding.

From 14 submissions, concepts were selected that promise particularly active and sustainable cooperation between the universities and their research alumni abroad. Research alumni are international academics who have previously spent a research stay at a German university and are now continuing their academic activities abroad.

As in the first round of the competition, the award winners will each receive up to 130,000 EUR to implement their concepts. A publication containing the best ideas from the submissions received will once again be produced in time for the award ceremony in Berlin on 17 January 2013.

The award winners:

Freie Universität (FU) Berlin incorporates its research alumni work into its existing initiative ‘International Network University’, which aims to recruit outstanding junior researchers. Plans include guest stays for junior researchers from abroad and from Germany at the FU and the alumnis’ own institutes. In addition, subject-specific workshops for research alumni and further consultancy and networking opportunities are to be offered in the FU’s focus areas.

All of the University of Cologne’s measures centre on the personal networking of academics. Together with colleagues from Cologne, research alumni can apply for return and conference fellowships. Furthermore, prestigious academics who have worked closely with the University for several years should receive the opportunity to teach and research as guest researchers in Cologne.

The concept from the Technische Universität München (TUM) focuses on intensifying the search for talented researchers abroad. An overview of the career paths of young research alumni will be created at regular intervals under the title ‘talent screening’ in order to keep an eye on promising young researchers. Several information and networking opportunities are available for creating ties between these talented young researchers and TUM. Selected research alumni will also be named ambassadors or partners of preference.

By more closely integrating research alumni, the Technische Universität (TU) Braunschweig is not only striving to expand international collaborations but also hopes to stimulate the internationalisation of research and teaching in the region. Its concept involves offering further education opportunities, symposia and summer schools. Each year, a Distinguished Research Alumni Award is to be presented to research alumni that have shown particular commitment to TU Braunschweig as disseminators of opinions and information.

The competition is part of the ‘International Research Marketing’ project, which is being jointly organised by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the German Research Foundation and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is part of the ‘Research in Germany’ initiative.

In addition to the competition winners, other universities will also receive assistance for their research alumni work. A new e-brochure is intended to support this initiative by offering for example background information on Germany as a centre of research as well as an overview of the online services and databases available for finding funding and networking opportunities. The brochure can be customised by the universities and passed on to research alumni as a guide. The research alumni can then use this to pass on information to young researchers interested in a stay in Germany.

For further information about the brochure, please visit:

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 25,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 130 countries worldwide – including 48 Nobel Prize winners.


Regine Laroche
Susanne Arning
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-455/144
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Georg Scholl
Head of
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Further information