Henriette Herz Scouting Programme

outstanding (junior) professors and (junior) research group leaders
up to three permissions to recommend candidates for a Humboldt Research Fellowship
Henriette Herz, portrait by Anton Graff

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A new way of accessing the Humboldt Research Fellowship

By introducing the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme, the Foundation is opening up a new way of accessing the Humboldt Research Fellowship in parallel with the standard application procedure. It will allow selected hosts to recruit suitable candidates from abroad as Humboldt Research Fellows by means of a direct award procedure. Every year, we will grant up to 100 additional research fellowships in this way.

Our aim is to attract researchers, who for various reasons do not apply for one of the Foundation’s fellowships themselves, both for collaboration with a research institution in Germany and for the Humboldt Network. This is how we want to reach new subject-specific and regional target groups in particular and increase the percentage of women in our research fellowship programme at the same time.

The Henriette Herz Scouting Programme comprises three phases:

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Individual advice

1. Selection of scouts

Irrespective of whether you are an internationally renowned academic with a concomitant network or have only just become a professor or head of a research group, apply to become a scout in the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme. With your knowledge, connections and commitment you can scout gifted scientific talents for Germany and your own institute. Every year, the Humboldt Foundation will select up to 40 scouts in a competitive peer-review process.

The Henriette Herz Scouting Programme addresses researchers at different career stages in all disciplines in Germany. The requirement for becoming a scout is that you hold a professorship or equivalent executive position in Germany.

Scouts will be selected according to the following criteria:

  • Visible academic success: you can substantiate your internationally recognised academic record, commensurate with your career level, by initial awards, outstanding publications, particularly innovative research or by approved research proposals
  • Successful promotion of junior researchers’ careers
  • International connections: your extensive international collaborative network holds the potential to scout international research talents
  • Convincing concept for identifying, selecting and hosting international researchers

You can submit an application to become a scout to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at any time. Further information and the online application form can be found on this website.

Please submit the following additional documents:

  • A list of three selected key publications which substantiate your particularly innovative and excellent research
  • A concept for identifying, selecting and hosting international junior researchers (approx. 1-2 pages)
  • Two references: one from an international collaborative partner and one from a junior researcher you have supervised

Once your application documents have been checked, they will usually be forwarded to two independent peer reviewers who will provide written reviews based on the aforementioned selection criteria. An independent selection committee composed of researchers from all disciplines will select the best applications based on the peer reviews. The selection committee will meet twice a year, at the end of May and the end of November. The first selection committee meeting is scheduled to be held in December 2020.

2. Granting of Humboldt Research Fellowships on recommendation of the scout

As a scout you will be able to recommend up to three outstanding international junior researchers with whom you would like to cooperate for a Humboldt Research Fellowship, whereby the first fellowship should be granted to a female researcher. If a recommendation is approved by Humboldt head office, we will grant the fellowship in the framework of the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme.

As a scout in the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme you will identify excellent junior researchers abroad. You will set your sights on researchers whose academic record would qualify them to receive a Humboldt Research Fellowship but who have not yet taken part in the application process. This may be because many young research talents already have a permanent job or lucrative offers from business or academia at an early stage in their careers, or simply do not have any contacts in Germany.

Our aim is to use this new access route to increase diversity in the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme, both in terms of subject and region; we particularly want to boost the percentage of women amongst our fellowship-recipients. Your first recommendation should, therefore, be for a female researcher. The candidates you recommend must fulfil the following requirements (see the Guidelines for detailed information):

  • Doctorate completed within the last 12 years
  • Above-average publication record commensurate with career level
  • Have not undertaken post-doctoral research stays nor completed degrees/doctorates in Germany
  • Do not hold German nationality
  • Language skills: good knowledge of German or English, depending on research proposal
  • Availability: the research fellowship should commence within 12 months of being granted
  • No previous applications submitted to the Foundation by the candidate; no previous sponsorship in any of the Foundation’s fellowship programmes

In order to be granted a research fellowship, the candidates you identify will have to submit the following documents online:

  • Fully completed form with details of planned duration of sponsorship
  • Copy of doctoral certificate or proof of completed doctorate
  • Complete list of publications
  • Curriculum vitae (two pages max.)

From you, the scout, as well as from any other individuals who are supposed to be involved in the planned collaboration, we will also require a letter of recommendation, in which you make a convincing case for your choice, and a brief outline of the planned research work. We will, moreover, require confirmation that research facilities and mentoring can be made available for the intended duration of sponsorship.

On receipt of the documents, Humboldt head office will firstly check whether the individuals recommend fulfil the formal requirements. If this is not the case, we will be unable to grant a research fellowship. As a scout, you will then be able to recommend another candidate. The candidate’s level of academic performance must equate unequivocally to the level of successful applicants in the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme.

Processing the documents will normally be completed within two weeks, preparation of the award letter within another two weeks.

Fellows will receive the standard benefits granted in the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme. You will find details in the Guidelines on the Recommendation Procedure.

We assume that scouts will make use of their recommendation permissions once a year. Other arrangements may be possible in agreement with the Foundation. You will find more information in the Guidelines on the Recommendation Procedure. Furthermore, when you have been selected as a scout, we will invite you to an information event.

3. Ex-post evaluation of the research fellows sponsored

Was the sponsorship you initiated a success? About a year after the respective fellowship has been completed, we will ask independent peer reviewers to evaluate the results of sponsorship and subsequently present it to the Selection Committee. Their reviews will be based on the reports written by your fellows and your own assessment. If the results are positive, you will be eligible to re-apply for the right to scout for further fellows.

As participants in the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme you and your research fellow will be expected to take part in the ex-post evaluation. The purpose of this procedure is to review the performance and results of the junior researchers sponsored in a peer-review process and achieve comparability.

In line with normal procedures in the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme, both the research fellows and you, the scout, will write a final report based on a standardised online questionnaire immediately after sponsorship. These documents will form the basis for the ex-post evaluation.

Twelve months after finishing the fellowship, we will expect research fellows to submit a report on their academic progress since the end of the fellowship as well as on the results of the research stay itself. This is how sponsorship recipients will document, for example, any relevant publications, patents, new or expanded (international) collaborations or approved research proposals. From you, the scout, we will request a written assessment of the research results and the research stay. Together, these documents will form the second basis for the ex-post evaluation.

We will subsequently forward all the documents submitted to independent peer reviewers who will prepare written reviews. On the basis of these evaluations we will inform first the Selection Committee and then you, the scout, and your fellow about the results of the review.

The ex-post evaluation is, moreover, the basis for your re-application to become a scout once again. The respective application may only be submitted 12 months at the earliest after the ex-post evaluation of the last fellowship-recipient has been completed.

New permissions to recommend research fellows will, once again, be granted through a competitive procedure. Over the course of the programme, the Humboldt Foundation aims to grant a maximum of 50 percent of new permissions to recommend new fellows to previously active scouts to ensure that there are enough opportunities for new scouts to join the programme.

Programme timeframe

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Scout selection procedure Active scouting phase Completion of scouting phase Re-application as scout optional
  • Submit application
  • Formal review by head office
    • Formal review by head office
    • Selection by interdisciplinary selection committee
  • Decision: become a scout
  • Scout and recruit fellows
  • Submit documents for up to three permissions to recommend
  • Formal review by head office
  • Start of fellows’ sponsorship
  • Submit documents on the results of fellows’ sponsorship
  • External review of results
  • New application possible
  • Selection on the basis of external review of the results achieved by fellows recruited

Questions & Answers

No, in order to apply, the applicant must hold an executive academic position at a German university or research institution at the time of applying.

Yes, applicants that hold an executive academic position at a German university or research institution at the time of applying may apply. The applicant’s nationality is not relevant in this case.

No, is it not possible to apply to several programmes of the Humboldt Foundation concurrently.

Yes, if you hold an executive academic position at a German university or research institution at the time of applying and meet the other prerequisites.

There is no closing date for submitting your application. Applications are processed as part of an ongoing procedure. As soon as we receive your complete application, it will be forwarded to independent peer reviewers and, upon submission of the written peer review, a decision will be made at the next meeting of the Selection Committee. Please note that your application can only be submitted after your references have uploaded all the necessary documents. The date used to determine whether the applicant meets certain formal  requirements, such as those relating to a permanent stay in Germany, is the date on which the Humboldt Foundation receives the respective application. Selection committee meetings take place  twice a year – once in May and once in November. Applications should be submitted at least four to seven months ahead of the prospective selection meeting.

You can find information about creating the concept in the hints to the application form.

This essentially addresses junior researchers who have been supervised in the past and could refer to either a doctoral candidate or a post-doctoral researcher. The person providing the reference should be in a position to answer the questions in the questionnaire (PDF).

We will inform you about the Selection Committee’s decision via email in the days following the meeting.

There is no standard duration for scouting activities; it depends on the granted permissions to recommend fellows and when they are used. Scouts can identify up to three potential research fellows abroad and recommend them for a Humboldt Research Fellowship. Ideally, scouts will use their permission to recommend a fellow once a year; in agreement with the Foundation, flexibility is possible. When a scout has been selected, he*she will be asked to provide the Foundation with information on the relevant plans at an early stage so that the budgetary resources can be made available. The appointment as a scout ends when the final research fellow’s fellowship and the respective ex-post evaluation have been completed. Another application for further permissions to recommend fellows may then be submitted.

Documents are usually reviewed within two weeks and the grant documents are then issued within a further two weeks. When planning a research stay in Germany or the beginning of sponsorship, researchers from countries subject to visa requirements must take into account the duration of the respective visa process.

Who was Henriette Herz?

Henriette Julie Herz (* 5 September 1764 in Berlin; † 22 October 1847 in Berlin), Writer and host of first literary salon in Berlin

Together with her husband, Henriette Herz organised discussion groups on scientific and philosophical topics.

The participants, including the von Humboldt brothers, came from various strata of society. Henriette Herz stands for emancipation, networking and exchange as well as for the promotion of talents. She and Alexander von Humboldt shared a life-long friendship.

Henriette Herz, née de Lemos, was born into a patrician family on 5 September 1764. Her father was a doctor and director of the Jewish Hospital in Berlin. Quite untypically for the time, he allowed his knowledge-hungry daughter to acquire a comprehensive education. From 1785, she held Prussia’s first literary salon, inspiring many women to establish salons of their own.

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