Call for applications

German-American Frontiers of Engineering Symposium on “A Digitally Connected World” (March 25–28, 2025, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, USA)

Farbige Sprechblasen mit Silhouetten von unterschiedlich aussehenden Menschen darin
Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild
Frontiers of Research Symposia

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation invites early career researchers in the fields of engineering and applied sciences to apply to participate in a symposium jointly organised with the National Academy of Engineering.

The symposium aims to incentivise and establish international engagement and collaboration between early career researchers working in Germany and the United States in a broad range of disciplines, thereby encouraging the exchange of ideas across disciplinary and national boundaries. From March 25 to 28, 2025, participants will gather at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA.

During the three days, participants will engage in cross-disciplinary discussions about the four session topics and their interlinkages. There will be considerable time for networking among all 60 researchers. All participants will have the opportunity to present their work with a poster. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory will also offer exclusive guided tours of various research facilities.

After the symposium, all participants can apply for funding through the follow-up programme CONNECT to carry out future joint research activities with participants from the partner country.

Thematic focus

The world has undergone substantial transformations over the past several decades. The digital transformation of technology and its impact on society has been and will continue to be significant. Furthermore, the rate of transformation in the digital domain is rapidly accelerating. One of the greatest transformations that society has encountered is the digital transformation, in which we have “A Digitally Connected World.” This symposium will address this evolving world and its implications on both technology and society. In particular, the symposium will focus on the following topics:

  • The Industrial Metaverse
  • Novel Work Models for a Digital World
  • Equity in Distributed Digital Education
  • Energy Related Manufacturing

The primary theme to be addressed is: How do Germany, the United States and other international collaborators build a secure digitally connected world that benefits and advances all of humanity in an equitable and sustainable manner? Moreover, the presentations and discussions will address not only technology but also socio-economic and business models that coexist and thrive in a multicultural international environment.

Questions and issues that will be addressed and discussed include:

  • How do we design a secure digital world that is sustainable and that can evolve with the ever-changing needs of society?
  • What are the best practices for a digitally distributed and deployed education capability that leverages new technologies such as the metaverse, cloud operations and high-speed connectivity?
  • How can a digitally connected world advance the capabilities of societies that include a broad spectrum of socio-economic and multicultural foundations?
  • How can the metaverse be integrated into manufacturing operations to make the worker more efficient and effective, in light of a rapidly aging population?
  • How can digital technologies be brought to bear in manufacturing operations to accelerate the manufacturing and adoption of clean energy technologies in a sustainable fashion?

Follow-up Programme CONNECT

To encourage and support long-term collaboration and networking, participants may apply for the follow-up programme CONNECT offered by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. All participants are eligible to apply after the symposium. The funding is designed to facilitate collaborations that arise directly from the symposium. CONNECT provides residence allowances for short working visits up to 30 days to Germany or the United States that can be taken up at any time following the symposium.

Eligibility requirements for participants from Germany

Participants must

  • work in Germany at a research institution or in the industry sector,        
  • have obtained a PhD no more than 12 years ago (by the time of the symposium),
  • be fluent in spoken and written English.

Participants must attend the entire symposium.

Application process

Applications may be submitted online at until June 28, 2024. Only applications received within this deadline will be considered.

Applicants should submit:

  • the completed application form (accessible via the link)
  • curriculum vitae (max. two pages)
  • list of key publications (max. one page)

Applications must be in English. A confirmation e-mail will be sent after successful submission of the application. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail, please contact anke.teubner[at]

Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Proven research interest and/or experience in at least one of the session topics of the symposium
  • Commitment to and experience in interdisciplinary research activities
  • Added value of the symposium to applicant’s academic career development

Applicants will be notified regarding final decision in August 2024.


Date of Symposium: March 25, 2025 (begins in the evening) until March 28, 2025 (ends early afternoon)

Venue: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, USA

Accommodation: The National Academy of Engineering will make hotel reservations for all participants at a hotel near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and will cover hotel expenses for three nights from March 25 to 28, 2025. Transfer between the conference venue and the hotel will be provided. Expenses for meals for the duration of the symposium will be covered by the National Academy of Engineering.

Travel Expenses: Participants from Germany will receive a travel allowance from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The amount of this travel allowance will be announced in fall 2024 and will be based on the average economy class airfare, including transfer costs and other additional costs. Participants will make their travel bookings individually using the travel allowance. The amount of the travel allowance will be transferred after participation in the symposium.


If you have any questions, please contact anke.teubner[at]