Research Group Linkage Programme
In the framework of its alumni programme, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers the opportunity to form institutional partnerships, combining various activities that lead to a long-term collaboration between foreign alumni of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation programmes (please see current list of countries) and German academics. The aim of the programme is to build a sustainable basis for long-term international academic collaboration, also integrating (doctoral and post-doctoral) junior researchers who are potential candidates for an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation research fellowship.
Joint research projects can be sponsored to the value of 55,000 EUR over a period of up to three years. The funding may be used to finance reciprocal research visits lasting up to three months, conferences and workshops, consumables, printing costs, and, to a limited extent, academic auxiliary staff and equipment for the institute abroad. Up to 15% of the funding may be utilised as an administrative lump-sum for the German partner institute. Please refer to the programme information and FAQs for further important information.
To apply, please only use the application documents which can be downloaded here.
This programme is financed by:
How many partners may be involved in a Research Group Linkage?As a rule, a research group linkage involves one institute abroad and one in Germany. The maximum number of institutes involved in a collaboration is two institutes on each side. Because financing institutional partnerships is a tool of our alumnisponsorship, only alumni of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowships and award programmes ("Humboldtians") at institutes abroad are eligible to apply.
I am an alumnus of an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship or award programme (Humboldtian). May I apply for funding for a research group linkage if I am currently sponsored in one of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's other programmes?No. For the duration of the institutional partnership you may not receive a research fellowship or any sponsorship in the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation alumni programme (such as funding for a renewed research stay in Germany, a return fellowship, or funding for conferences, equipment, books or printing costs).
I am already being sponsored in the Research Group Linkage Programme. May I apply for funding for another institutional partnership?No. As a rule, funding for another instutional patrtnership is not possible until three years after funding in the current Research Group Linkage Programme has ended.
How long do I, as a Humboldtian, have to wait after funding in the Research Group Linkage Programme has ended before I can apply for other sponsorship in the alumni programme?As a rule, for all Alexander von Humboldt Foundation alumni programmes, there is a three-year waiting period after funding in the Research Group Linkage Programme has ended.
I am a Humboldtian who was sponsored in a Alexander von Humboldt Foundation alumni programme and now want to apply for funding in the Research Group Linkage Programme. Is there a waiting time for the application?No. Funding in the Research Group Linkage Programme may be requested immediately after sponsorship in the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation alumni programme.
Can I, as a German academic, apply for funding in the Research Group Linkage Programme if I work for a German-financed institute abroad?No. The aim of the collaboration in the Research Group Linkage Programme is to integrate the academics involved into the German research environment as much as possible. This is not feasible if the German partner in the collaboration is not actually based in Germany.
Can I, as an alumnus, apply for funding in the Research Group Linkage Programme if I am working at a German institute abroad?No. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation cannot fund collaborations between German institutes abroad and institutes in Germany.
I am a Humboldtian from a country that is on the list, but I am currently not in this country, but on a long-term assignment in another country. May I apply?No. The foreign applicant must be working in a country on the list and have his or her residence in this country for the duration of the linkage.
I am a professor emeritus. May I apply for funding in the Research Group Linkage Programme?Yes, if you are still administratively linked to and academically active at your own institute. In addition, you must have access to the necessary resources for a research visit by academics from your partner institute. This fact must be confirmed by the director of your institute in his or her statement accompanying the application.
Do junior researchers have to be integrated into the collaboration?Our emphasis on reciprocal academic exchange also includes junior researchers. Integrating junior researchers is therefore a selection criterion, but not doing so will not formally disqualify your application. The Humboldt Foundation is aware of the fact that not all institutes are able to include junior researchers.
How should we structure our research plan?The individual research activities in the Research Group Linkage Programme will vary from application to application. As a general rule, however, your research plan should present the proposed research project, the preparations, and the type and form of collaboration between the applicants in a manner that can be assessed academically. Furthermore, experience has shown that the following aspects have an impact on the selection:
• What are the special significance and objectives of the proposed research project? What are the central questions addressed? How does the planned project fit into the current "research landscape"?
• Why are the academics involved particularly qualified to participate in the project? What preparatory work has contributed to this?
• Which types of collaboration are planned? What form will collaboration take (planned reciprocal research visits, workshops/conferences and their significance for the topic and the collaboration)? What gains do you expect from the collaboration?
• How will junior researchers be integrated into the collaboration?
• Which central results do you expect within the time frame planned for collaboration? Is any further collaboration planned? What effects will the collaboration have on building lasting structures?
• For applicants from developing countries: What is the relevance of the proposed research project for the development of the home country?
What should be included in the confirmation from the institutes?There is no special form for the required confirmation. The respective institute director's confirmation should address the concrete research collaboration and its viability. The institutes should support the project and make all necessary resources (e.g. equipment, library) available to the participants. If the applicants themselves are the directors of the applicant institutions, no statements are required.
Which information should the budget plan contain?The budget plan must list the projected expenses of the project based on current estimates. It is therefore helpful to structure the budget plan in a way that will enable peer reviewers to understand the composition of the individual budget items in the "time and expenses schedule". You should make realistic, if possible, reproducible estimates.
Which expenditures are considered "auxiliary staff for the collaboration"?Up to 20 % of the funding amount may be earmarked for auxiliary staff. The basic idea is that you will need support to carry out your activities. Sometimes you will need additional temporary support for the preparation of conferences or workshops. It is important that the tasks for which you plan to use auxiliary staff in the context of your joint activities are described and delimited in detail.
Can we request funds for the travel and accommodation expenses of our partner institute's staff?It is possible to request funds for reciprocal research visits and for attending conferences and workshops for the applicants and their academic staff (who must be at least doctoral candidates). We cannot cover travel and accommodation expenses for students, post-graduates or auxiliary staff working on the collaboration.
You will need the prior written consent of the Humboldt Foundation in order to integrate any additional academic staff not mentioned in the application into the collaboration.