Equipment Subsidies

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Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Sponsorship and Network Department
Jean-Paul-Str. 12
53173 Bonn



Due to limited financial resources, we are unfortunately no longer accepting applications for equipment subsidies for 2024. We regret the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact sachmittel[at]

The purchase of scientific equipment should make it possible particularly for alumni from developing countries (current register of countries, PDF) to continue research projects started in Germany upon return to the home country. This is one way of supporting sustainable collaboration with academic hosts or other specialist colleagues in Germany. The necessary funding for purchasing the equipment can be provided by the Foundation in the form of a subsidy.

Applications by alumni from countries, which are not listed in the current register of countries, can be assessed by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation only in duly substantiated exceptional cases. Substantial criteria for this case-by-case examination are the economic development of the country, the financial situation of the respective institution as well as the reasons given by the applicant, why it is not possible to finance the requested scientific equipment from other sources. Alumni who want to apply for an equipment subsidy but whose application is subject to a case-by-case decision are requested to provide a statement regarding these three aspects based on our list of questions (PDF). This statement is then to be uploaded under No. 5 of the application form ("Additional documents")

Humboldtians have to arrange to purchase the equipment themselves. If the equipment can only be acquired outside their own countries, it is essential to observe the formalities required in order to import the equipment into the respective country free of import duty. If necessary, the Humboldt Foundation will support applications for exemption from import duty by issuing deeds of donation or other documents.

Applications for equipment subsidies should not exceed a total amount of €20,000. If applications for higher subsidies are submitted, applications should either be made jointly by several Humboldtians or documentation should be enclosed confirming that part-financing is available from other sources.

Applications should include the following documents:

  • curriculum vitae;
  • precise description and technical specifications of the equipment requested;
  • three comparative offers from different local distributors or from abroad in Euros or US-Dollars (see below);
  • a research outline;
  • a list of publications covering the last five years;
  • a statement by the head of the receiving institute confirming the agreement to assume both ownership and responsibility for any costs ensuing from ownership as well as the confirmation to pass the equipment into the inventory of the receiving institute and to use the equipment for the scientific purposes of the Humboldtian and their colleagues for at least 10 years; details of any investment by the institute itself, if applicable,
  • a statement of a specialist colleague in Germany. Please note that this document can only be uploaded by the specialist colleague herself*himself. The application can only be submitted once this document has been uploaded. Further information is available in the application form.

Further information and important details

  • The offers from local distributors should include additional costs like VAT, packing, freight and insurance charges. If the equipment can only be purchased outside the home country or if a longer transport within the home country is necessary, offers must be quoted CIP (“Carriage and Insurance paid to place of destination) according to the international conditions of delivery and should clearly indicate freight and insurance charges.
  • The research plan should clearly describe the research work and investigations the applicant intends to do by using the equipment and should indicate in detail which research objectives the applicant will pursue. Additionally, an abstract of the current state of the applicant’s special research field and a description of the preliminary research work already done by the applicant are expected.
  • In case of a positive decision on the application, the applicant will receive a fixed sum of money based on the most competitive offer in price and performance of the desired equipment. Normally, the money will be transferred to the account of the Humboldtian or his or her home institution.
  • Scientific equipment is purchased by the research fellow in his or her own responsibility and in accordance with the import regulations, especially the release/exemption from customs duties. Upon purchase, it immediately becomes the property of the home institution abroad. The equipment must be passed into the inventory of the respective institution and must continue to be used for scientific purposes of the research fellow and his or her colleagues for at least 10 years.
    The research fellow and his or her home institution ensure that the necessary technical and financial conditions for installing and operating the equipment exist. Follow-up costs for service and spare parts will be borne by the home institution. The research fellow may only remove the equipment to another institution abroad in mutual agreement with the home institution and with prior written authorisation by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.