Research Alumni Strategies in the context of the collaborative project “International Research Marketing”

Collaborative Project: “International Research Marketing”

With the Collaborative Project “International Research Marketing”, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, a framework for strategic cooperation amongst four major German research (funding) institutions (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service, DFG and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft) was created for the first time.

In the context of this new strategic alliance the specific expertise and resources as well as the relevant contacts and networks of the four research and funding organisations were pooled. The objective was to draw international attention to the potential and opportunities offered by Germany as a destination for research and innovation as well as to enhance the visibility of top-class German research abroad. Other main objectives of the joint project included initiating more international research collaborations, recruiting both eminent and junior researchers, communicating specialist knowledge on research marketing to German actors in the field and driving innovation potential to ensure the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the German research system. In order to achieve these goals each of the project partners assumed responsibility for various constituent projects and activities.

Building on decades of experience in alumni activities and networking, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation focused on promoting research alumni activities at universities and research institutions in Germany.

Long-term impact on research alumni activities in Germany

Research alumni are international scientists and scholars who have spent time working on research in Germany as doctoral candidates, post-doctoral researchers or at a more advanced career stage before continuing their academic careers in other countries. They are ideal multipliers who can inform junior researchers in their specialist networks about the opportunities and potential for a research stay in Germany and spark their enthusiasm. Furthermore, research alumni can support their former host institutions strategically – for example to establish worldwide networks and collaborations – or assist them in the process of strategic decision-making on internationalising the respective higher education or research institution internationalisation.

Thanks to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, in the three first rounds of the collaborative project “International Research Marketing”, research alumni activities secured a place for themselves on the agenda of the research location Germany. At some 40 institutions, structures for research alumni activities have been established on the strength of funding by the Foundation, thus achieving one of International Research Marketing project’s important goals. It is now in the hands of the institutions themselves to continue funding the structures for research alumni activities. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will remain associated with their partners in the ongoing International Research Marketing project.

Institutions with a successful research alumni strategy


Successful Research Alumni Strategies

When the International Research Marketing project was launched, research alumni activities at universities, universities of applied science, and research institutions in Germany were still at the pioneering stage. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supported higher education and research institutions in developing and advancing their research alumni activities through several rounds of contest. Moreover, between 2014 and 2018, the Foundation regularly organised workshops to facilitate the exchange of ideas amongst research alumni advisors.


Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Strategic Planning Division
Dr. Barbara Sheldon
Jean-Paul-Str. 12
53173 Bonn

Phone: +49 (0)228-833 109
Fax: +49 (0)228-833 114

Networking opportunities

New: Research Alumni on LinkedIn

Please join the LinkedIn group for further networking, exchange of ideas and best practice examples and for organising network meetings.

All institutions that have been sponsored previously as well as all institutions interested in research alumni work are invited!