Humboldt Research Fellowship

Country
postdoctoral researchers, experienced researchers
Residence
all countries (excluding Germany)
Country
6–24-month research stay in Germany

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Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral and experienced researchers

The Humboldt Research Fellowship for researchers of all nationalities and research areas: We support you – postdoctoral and experienced researchers – with your research in Germany.

Through the Humboldt Research Fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation sponsors researchers with above-average qualifications from across the globe. As a fellow, you will benefit from individual support from the Humboldt Foundation and our diverse sponsorship portfolio.

Hint

Researchers from developing and transition countries, whose research has high relevance for the further development of their country of origin, should apply for the Georg Forster Research Fellowship.

What we offer

The Humboldt Research Fellowship enables you to conduct your own research at various stages of your career in collaboration with a host at a German research institution of your choice. Hosts may apply for a subsidy towards research costs.

 

Postdocs

Benefit from research sponsorship in Germany at the beginning of your academic career. The Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers enables you to conduct research in Germany. The monthly fellowship amount is €2,670. Fellowships may last from 6 to 24 months. 

Experienced researchers

You can still apply for research sponsorship in Germany even if you are already well advanced in your academic career. The Humboldt Research Fellowship for experienced researchers enables you to conduct research in Germany. The fellowship amount is €3,170. Fellowships may last from 6 to 18 months and can be divided into up to three stays within three years.

General conditions

In addition to the fellowship amount, you will also receive personal support throughout your sponsorship. You are flexible in determining when you would like to start your fellowship. Prior to your research fellowship, you and your marital partner will be able to attend an intensive language course.

Further financial support, including family benefits for children and marital partners and allowances for travel expenses, is also available.

Alumni programmes

We stay in contact even after your research stay has come to an end. Our alumni sponsorship measures flexibly support every Humboldtian’s individual journey through life, in both their careers and their future research collaborations. A return fellowship or later visits to Germany are also possible.

You must meet the following criteria

The Humboldt Research Fellowship addresses post-doctoral researchers with above-average qualifications from across the globe – regardless of their field.

Postdocs

Did you complete your doctorate – or equivalent academic qualification – during the last four years? Or are you within six months of submitting your doctoral thesis and can already provide a written summary of your findings? Have you been published in academic journals and by publishing houses that are reviewed according to international standards? If so, and if you fulfil the criteria under the “What is required of you” section, apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers.

Experienced researchers

Did you complete your doctorate – or equivalent academic qualification – during the last twelve years? Is your academic profile substantiated by an extensive list of publications in academic journals and by publishing houses that are reviewed according to international standards? If so, and if you fulfil the criteria under the “What is required of you” section, apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship for experienced researchers.
If a doctorate in your field or country of origin is not possible or uncommon, you can still apply up to 16 years after completing your master’s or other postgraduate degree provided that you have a publication record commensurate with your career level.

What is required of you

You must fulfil the following criteria to successfully apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship.

You are not a German national. If you are a German national, or if you obtained your university entrance qualification and university degree, or your university degree and your doctorate, in Germany, you can apply if you have lived and worked abroad for more than ten years and intend to continue doing so long-term. Have you lived and worked abroad for more than five years? You can still apply if there is a strong connection to your current country of residence (permanent employment, additional citizenship etc. – see FAQs). 
 

For your application to be successful, you may not have lived in Germany for longer than a total of six months within the 18-month period prior to submitting your application.

If you have arrived in Germany recently you should submit your application as soon as possible, as we can only assess your eligibility and formally accept your application after it has been submitted.

A researcher from an academic institution of your choice in Germany will provide you with a mentoring agreement and written confirmation that research facilities are available, and will compile a detailed review for you.

You can provide two expert reviews. 
Postdocs: Your doctoral supervisor and one other researcher – outside of your institute, if possible – should provide well-grounded information on your qualifications. 
Experienced researchers: The reviews should be provided by important collaborative partners and/or researchers at your own institute as well as other institutes – outside your country of origin, if possible.

Natural sciences and engineering: You must have a good knowledge of German or English. 
Humanities, social sciences and medicine: You must have a good knowledge of German if this is necessary for conducting your research successfully. Otherwise, good knowledge of English will suffice.

You must abide by the rules of good scientific practice (PDF) and the principles of scientific ethics.
You may not apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship if you have already received sponsorship from the Humboldt Foundation. In such cases, our alumni programmes are open to you.

How to apply

If you would like to apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship, please submit the necessary documents to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation online only.

If you have any doubts or questions, please contact us (info[at]avh.de) before submitting your application. We are happy to help.

What we need from you

Please note that you may only submit your application once you have uploaded the following documents in the application form:

  • curriculum vitae (two pages max)
  • research outline ( five pages max)
  • complete list of your publications  
  • list of selected key publications (cf. sample list (PDF) of key publications)
  • key publications
  • doctoral certificate or proof that your doctorate has been completed successfully, or confirmation that this will be the case within the next six months
  • German language certificate, if required
  • if required: publisher’s acceptance notifications and/or acknowledgement of receipt and summaries/translations of key publications that are not available in English

  • In addition: host’s statement and confirmation that research facilities are available, as well as two expert reviews. Please note that these documents can only be uploaded in a protected area by the host(s) and expert reviewers personally. You can only submit your application once these documents have been uploaded. Further information and explanations can be found on the application form.

As soon as we have received your online application, we will send you written confirmation by email. After reviewing your documents, we will notify you of the expected selection date.

Deadlines

The Selection Committee responsible for reviewing applications to this programme meets every March, July and November. Please send your completed application form, including any additional documents required, well in advance of the desired selection date. Applications are usually processed within four to eight months. Incomplete or inaccurate applications take longer to process and often have to be postponed to a later Selection Committee meeting.

The deadline for meeting certain formal conditions – in particular those relating to limitations on career stages and previous stays in Germany – is the date on which we receive your application.

If your application is successful, you may begin your fellowship between two and twelve months after being selected.

If your application is unsuccessful, we may provide you with the reasons for our decision. Please request this information informally by email. You and your host will receive a letter with the outcome of your application approximately five weeks after the decision is made. Decisions cannot be appealed. You can, however, re-apply if you significantly improve crucial aspects of the rejected application. In the case of unanimously rejected applications, you must unfortunately wait a minimum of 18 months before re-applying.

The selection procedure

Icon Applicants
Applicants
Icon Foundation
Foundation
Icon Notification
Notification
Application Processing 4-6 weeks Review process approx. 4 months Selection Feb./Mar., June/July, Oct./Nov.
  • Online application
  • Host's statement
  • References
  • Receipt of application
    • acknowledgement of receipt
  • Check eligibility
    • if not eligible: formal rejection to applicant and host
  • Check completeness
    • notification about the expected date of decision
    • reminder about missing items, if applicable
  • Request for independent peer reviews (usually two)
    • allowing for potential impartiality issues
  • Reviewed applications forwarded to selection committee members
  • Selection committee meeting (3 times a year)
    • information about decision to applicant and host (1—3 working days after selection meeting)
  • Approval of application
    • delivery of award documents (approx. 4 weeks after selection meeting)
  • Rejection of application
    • upon request: information on factors that led to rejection to applicant and host (approx. 5 weeks after selection meeting)
  • Start of fellowship (if applicable: preceding language course) min 2 to max 12 months after selection meeting

The decision to award research fellowships is taken by a selection committee consisting of 60–70 researchers from various fields. The committee’s decision is usually based on two independent peer reviews that evaluate your personal academic credentials. The selection is based on four criteria:

  • academic career and academic record to date (mobility, determination, thematic scope, academic productivity)
  • quality of the key publications named in the application (originality, innovativeness, evaluation of your own contributions to publications involving several authors)
  • originality and innovative potential of your proposed research (significance for the further development of the subject area, convincing selection of scientific methods, potential for scientific development, clear focus and feasibility within the requested sponsorship period, viability at the host institute)
  • your future potential (academic potential, personal development, career prospects, e.g. professorial appointment)

In past years, an average of 25 to 30 percent of applicants received fellowships.

All the best for your application!

Questions & answers

No, an English language certificate is not required.

You can apply if you can prove that your academic performance is equivalent to a Ph.D., e.g. by academic publications in internationally reviewed journals and for publishing houses. Should this be the case, you may apply to the programme for experienced researchers, however, only until up to 16 years after you obtained your first university degree (Master's degree, Diploma, etc.). It is, furthermore, possible to apply to the programme for experienced researchers if you hold an academic position that is equivalent to or higher than Associate Professor / Senior Lecturer / Reader etc., regardless of the date of your first university degree, within the first twelve years of working in this position. Please send us your CV and a list of your publications before you apply so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

You may apply if you will complete your doctorate within the next six months. If selected, you must complete your doctorate before commencing the research fellowship. Please note that your application will be rejected for formal reasons if your dissertation has not been published and you do not have any further academic publications at the time of application.

The relevant date is that of completing the final academic part of the doctoral process (e.g., defence of thesis, doctoral viva). This date will usually be included on your doctoral certificate alongside the date of issue. The key date for calculating the period following your doctorate is the date on which your application is received by the Humboldt Foundation.

In the case of multiple doctorates, the effective date is that of the first doctoral degree (PhD/CSc.).

We cannot consider your application for a fellowship for postdoctoral researchers if your doctorate was completed more than four years ago. In case you already have a clearly recognisable own research profile and, as a rule, working at the level of at least assistant professor or junior research group leader, or have a record of several years of independent scientific work, you can apply for a fellowship for experienced researchers. If you have passed the deadline, an exception may be made in well-founded cases (e.g. recognition of parental leave). Please send us your CV and a list of your publications before you apply so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

We cannot consider your application if you obtained your doctorate more than twelve years ago. If your doctorate is older than this, an exception may be made in well-founded cases (e.g. recognition of parental leave). Please send us your CV and a list of your publications before you apply so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

Yes. You should, however, already have your own clearly recognisable research profile and, as a rule, be working at the level of at least assistant professor or junior research group leader, or have a record of several years of independent scientific work.

Periods in which you interrupted your academic activities after completing your doctorate in order to rear children may be taken into account as career breaks after examination. The proportionate offsetting of such periods is also possible. Please always indicate child-rearing periods when filling in our application form.
Mothers can claim two extra years for each child born after their PhD plus any further verifiable parenting periods. Fathers and other persons responsible for raising children are only credited with verifiable parenting periods.
In general, postdoctoral researchers may apply up to four years, and experienced researchers up to twelve years after completing their doctorates. Recognized child-rearing periods may correspondingly extend these maximum timeframes during which the submission of applications is possible. The extension is limited to 6 years.
Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Periods in which you interrupted your academic activities after completing your doctorate in order to perform military or alternative service, to care for close relatives, or due to long-term illness may be taken into account as career breaks after examination. The proportionate offsetting of such career breaks is also possible. Please always indicate career breaks when filling in our application form.
Job hunting, unemployment and non-academic employment do not count as career breaks.
In general, postdoctoral researchers may apply up to four years, and experienced researchers up to twelve years after completing their doctorates. Recognized career breaks may correspondingly extend these maximum timeframes during which the submission of applications is possible. The extension is limited to 6 years.
Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Yes, because the assessment of academic achievements is always made on an individual basis at the Humboldt Foundation. Therefore, when filling in the application form, please specify all periods in which you partially or completely interrupted your academic activities after finishing your doctorate in order to rear children.
The voluntary disclosure of private circumstances may help increase equal opportunities during the selection process. The consideration of your personal circumstances allows for a fairer assessment of your academic achievements.
Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Yes, because the assessment of academic achievements is always made on an individual basis at the Humboldt Foundation. Therefore, when filling in the application form, please specify all periods in which you partially or completely interrupted your academic activities after finishing your doctorate in order to perform military or alternative service, to care for close relatives or due to long-term illness.
Job hunting, unemployment and non-academic employment do not count as career breaks.
The voluntary disclosure of private circumstances may help increase equal opportunities during the selection process. The consideration of your personal circumstances allows for a fairer assessment of your academic achievements.
Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

If your primary life focus (nationality and permanent residence) is in a developing or transition country (see list of countries) and the research you plan to carry out in Germany is of relevance to the future development of your country of origin and, in this context, particularly suited to transferring knowledge and methods, you should apply for a Georg Forster Fellowship. If your project is more oriented towards basic research, we recommend that you apply for a Humboldt Research Fellowship. If in doubt, please contact us before submitting your application so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

  1. Natural scientists and engineers: good knowledge of German or English is sufficient.
  2. Scholars in the humanities and social sciences: should have knowledge of German if it is necessary to carry out their research successfully. In this case, a German language certificate confirming proficiency must be submitted. Otherwise, a good knowledge of English is sufficient.
  3. Physicians: if the research involves work with patients, the candidate must have a good knowledge of German (language certificate required). Otherwise, a good knowledge of English is sufficient.

No, a language certificate is not required.

 

You are eligible to apply if you hold a research doctorate or a comparable academic degree.

In addition, please read our Admission Questionnaire for Physicians (MD / Dr. med.) for detailed information.

If you have several research doctorates, the above mentioned FAQ on the subject of "several doctorates" applies.

The aim of the programme is to enable highly qualified academics from abroad to come to Germany to conduct a research stay here. Applicants should therefore be living and/or working outside Germany at the time of application.

If you have previously been to Germany, you may only apply if you have resided outside Germany for a minimum of 12 months in total in the 18-month period prior to submission of the application. Any time spent in Germany within those 18 months is taken into account, regardless of duration or reason. This also applies to employment contracts with institutions in Germany.

If you have arrived in Germany recently you should submit your application as soon as possible, as we can only assess your eligibility and formally accept your application after it has been submitted.

In all other cases you are unfortunately ineligible to apply.

German citizens and/or educational residents* (see following FAQ) are generally ineligible to apply if they have been in Germany within the last 18 months prior to receipt of their application or are already in Germany at the time of applying.

* Educational residents are individuals who have completed their school education and a university degree, or a university degree and their doctorate in Germany.

The aim of the programme is to enable highly qualified academics from abroad to come to Germany to conduct a research stay here. German citizens/educational residents* are thus not the target group of this funding programme. You are however eligible to apply if you are permanently working abroad and intend to return abroad immediately following the requested research stay.

We consider you to be permanently established in a foreign country if you have unquestionably been living and working abroad

  1. for more than 10 years;
  2. for more than 5 years and meet one of the following criteria that unequivocally indicate strong ties to your current country of residence:

    1. a permanent/tenured position;
    2. additional citizenship of your country of residence;
    3. permanent permission to reside in your current country of residence (e.g. permanent residence permit, green card etc.). Permission to reside based solely on your citizenship (e.g. for EU citizens as part of EU freedom of movement) is not accepted;
    4. other indications that you intend to permanently return to your current country of residence

German citizens and/or educational residents* are generally ineligible to apply if they have been in Germany within the last 18 months prior to receipt of their application or are already in Germany at the time of applying.

If you intend to apply in order to prepare your permanent return to Germany, we recommend that you instead apply to the “Temporary Positions” programme of the DFG.
If in doubt, we would ask to send us only your complete CV and a list of your publications, so that we can advise you. Please state which criterion applies to you (info[at]avh.de).

* Educational residents are individuals who have completed their school education and a university degree, or a university degree and their doctorate in Germany.

 

Any researcher working at a university or research institution in Germany who offers to make research facilities available for the research stay may act as your host.

If you have already worked in Germany for a longer period of time (12 months or more) you should look for a new academic environment for another guest stay in Germany. Applications that involve returning to the supervisor of the doctoral thesis or to the mentor of a longer postdoctoral stay are generally rejected by the Selection Committee on the basis of a lack of further independent academic development.

You are free to choose your own academic host. The Humboldt Foundation does not provide any direct support in finding a host.

We would like to draw your attention to the following search engines for hosts and research institutes:

We would also like to draw your attention to the open access part of the Network Online. This database features a large proportion of the Foundation's more than 25,000 academics sponsored worldwide. Here you can search for names, disciplines and keywords.

Yes. If the hosts work at different research institutes, they must each provide a host's statement and confirmation that research facilities can be made available.

In general the host institute will receive an allowance for research costs of €800 per month for research in the field of natural sciences and engineering, and €500 for research in the field of humanities or social sciences.

Please see the respective FAQ of the Department Sponsorship and Network.

There is no closing date for submitting applications. Applications are processed as part of an ongoing procedure. As soon as we have received your complete application we shall forward it to independent peer reviewers. Their written evaluations will then be presented to the selection committee at the next selection meeting at which a decision will be made.

Please note that you can submit your application only after your host and your expert reviewers have uploaded all necessary documents. The date used to determine whether the applicant meets certain formal requirements, such as career stage limitations and stays in Germany, is the date on which the Humboldt Foundation receives the respective application.

Selection committee meetings take place three times a year, in March, July and November. Applications should be submitted at least four to seven months ahead of the prospective selection meeting.
A graphic display of the complete application process can be found under timeline of selection procedure.

No, it is not possible to apply to several fellowship programmes or the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award programme concurrently. Should you be rejected by any of them, you may, however, apply to any other programme as long as you fulfil the formal requirements.

On principle, it is possible to file parallel applications. You must, however, indicate this on the application form and inform us immediately of any other applications you submit and any other sponsorship decisions that occur while we are considering your application.

If it is necessary for the success of the project, fellows may conduct research at research institutions in other parts of Europe during the fellowship period (excepting their country of origin). Please do not apply for this stay until you have been awarded the fellowship. As a rule, the total length of your Europe Research Stay may not exceed 25 percent of the projected total duration of sponsorship. Furthermore, if the fellowship is divided up into several stays (experienced researchers), the duration of the Europe Research Stay may on principle not exceed half the duration of the respective fellowship period.
Research stays in the fellow's country of origin or in a non-European country will, however, normally result in a temporary suspension of the fellowship.

The first research stay in the context of a postdoctoral fellowship must last at least six months. Experienced researchers must also apply for a stay of at least six months, which can, however, be divided up into two blocks of three months.

Yes. It is not possible to deviate from the standard model.

It is not possible to break up the research stay.

You must start the fellowship period within twelve months of being selected. Otherwise you will have to submit a new application.

Please refer to our current programme information for postdoctoral and experienced researchers for details.

No, the fellowship cannot be paid retroactively.

A two- to four-month language course takes place immediately prior to the start of the research fellowship. The language fellowship is not part of the research fellowship. (In other words, if you apply for a two-month language course in connection with a 12-month research stay in Germany, your stay will last a total of 14 months.)

The intensive German language course can only be taken immediately prior to the start of the research fellowship. If this is not possible, you may apply for funds to attend evening classes during the research fellowship.

There is no obligation to take a language course. However, the Humboldt Foundation strongly encourages all its fellows and their partners to learn German during their research stay so that they can fully participate in social and cultural life in Germany.

If the fellow's own institution does not cover travel expenses, the Humboldt Foundation will pay a single lump sum for return travel. The Humboldt Foundation will only pay travel expenses for family members in exceptional circumstances.

The Humboldt Foundation welcomes the idea that fellows' partners and children should accompany them and encourages this by paying family allowances in addition to the fellowship, provided that the family members accompany the fellow for more than three months.

There are three Selection Committee Meetings each year: in March, July and November.
If you are coming from abroad, the earliest you may begin the fellowship period is usually two months (three months if you need a visa) after your application has been approved by the Selection Committee. If you are already in Germany, you can start at the beginning of the following month at the earliest.

Your host(s) and expert reviewer(s) upload the required documents in a secure area themselves, adding them to your application form. You can find the links to this area in the application form. Please send these links on a timely basis to your designated scientists/academics. Once all the documents have been uploaded, you will automatically be notified by email and will then be able to submit your application. You are responsible for ensuring that your documents are complete.

Expert reviews should not be more than 12 months old at the time of application.

The expert review should assess your development as a researcher, your potential, and your academic accomplishments to date. It is, therefore, important that expert reviewers are well acquainted with your academic work to date. You must submit two expert reviews. Postdocs must submit an expert review from their doctoral supervisor. Please note: The host's statement does not count as an expert review! You are responsible for requesting all expert reviews and the host’s statement.

Your application must contain three to five key publications. Other publications will not be accepted (exception: You may optionally submit published reviews of your key publications by other authors).
If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for printing, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.

No. Please only cite publications that are already in print, have been accepted for publication or have at least been submitted to a publishing house. Please cite submitted publications without naming the journal or publishing house on your publication list. In the latter case you must include the acknowledgement of receipt from the publisher; in the case of publications that have been accepted, please include the letter of acceptance from the publisher. Any other works cited on the list will be deleted.
Exception: Your dissertation may be cited as a key publication even if you have not yet submitted it to a publisher. If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for printing, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.

Yes. As soon as you complete your doctorate, we need at least official confirmation from your university. You will not be able to start the fellowship without this confirmation.

You yourself should choose the key publications from your publications. You should choose works which present your most important academic results. In cases of multiple authorship you should select those to which you have made a major contribution. When choosing key publications we recommend including works that reflect your more recent publication activity.
Please note that you cannot amend your selection of key publications once the selection process has begun.

If you are applying for a fellowship for postdoctoral researchers, one key publication is sufficient. You may cite a maximum of three.
If you are applying for a fellowship for experienced researchers you must choose at least three key publications. You may cite a maximum of five. Surplus key publications will be removed from the list without notifying the applicant.

Please address the particular academic relevance of the results contained in the key publication and briefly explain the significance of the publication for your academic profile (cf. Sample key publications, PDF). In cases of multiple authorship please also indicate your own personal contribution to the publication.

Yes. Please cite all your publications in the complete list of publications, including your key publications. An unpublished dissertation, however, may not be listed in the complete list of publications. In this list the key publications should be cited without explanations (cf. Sample publication list, PDF). Please note that the order of the authors on the publication list corresponds to the order of the authors on the submitted publication. Changing the order is against the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and may result in penalties (cf. Rules of Good Scientific Practice, PDF).
Please note that it is not possible to amend the list of publications submitted to the Humboldt Foundation once the selection process has begun.

 

As soon as we receive your application, we will notify you by email.

Your application will be checked upon receipt to ensure that it is complete and meets the formal requirements for eligibility. We shall only be able to inform you about the expected decision date when we have received all the required documents. Once the review process by independent reviewers has been initiated, it is not possible to submit or exchange any documentation. If any papers or books that have only been submitted for publication at the time of application should subsequently be accepted, you should send us a copy of the acceptance letter immediately by email. This information can be fed into the process prior to the selection meeting. It is not possible to add to the publication list once the procedure has started.

When all the documents have been received we shall notify you about the proposed date of the selection meeting. Should the peer review process of your application take longer than expected you will also be informed if it becomes unavoidable to postpone the date of the decision.

Your application will be reviewed by independent peer reviewers.

The final decision on all applications is made by the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee consists of researchers of all disciplines who decide on all applications by majority vote. The Humboldt Foundation has no vote on the Selection Committee.

If your application is not approved, you may send an informal email requesting feedback to be sent to you and your host on the reasons for the rejection. This will usually follow approximately four to six weeks after the selection committee meeting. Please note that we cannot provide any personalised information before this juncture so as not to delay the notification process.

We shall notify you and your academic host about the decision by email in the days immediately following the selection meeting. At larger selection meetings it may take a few days longer to contact all the applicants and academic hosts.

In recent years, between 25% and 30% of all applications have been successful.

The essential aspect of the application is the individual applicant's academic qualification. Please refer to the relevant programme information for more details on the selection criteria.

It is possible to re-apply. The new application should, however, differ significantly from the original, rejected application. Generally, it makes sense to re-apply after developing one's academic profile, e.g. after academical publications have been accepted by internationally reviewed journals and publishing houses. Our experience shows that applicants should wait about two years before re-applying. Submitting a new application that differs little or not at all from the rejected original may result in a formal rejection of the new application.

In the case of unanimously rejected applications, a new application will be accepted only after 18 months.

Insufficient publication record:

In particular, applicants who apply upon completion of their doctoral thesis should ensure that the key findings of the doctoral thesis (key publications) are already published or have been accepted for publication. In case of doubt, it is a good idea to wait for several months before submitting the application until evidence can be provided that the key publications have been accepted.

Lack of academic development:

The chosen research project should not be a direct continuation of the doctoral thesis or of the academic work carried out to date. Returning to the same academic environment, e.g. returning to the supervisor of the doctoral thesis or the mentor of longer postdoctoral research (more than 12 months), or returning to a host institute where a longer research stay has already taken place, generally results in the rejection of applications on the basis of a lack of further independent academic development.

Lack of originality:

In the qualitative assessment of the key publications and of the research outline, the independent peer reviewers focus in particular on the originality of the work and the associated impetus for further development in this research area. If these aspects are not immediately apparent, if the research concerns more routine work or if the aims of the planned research and its significance for the continued development of the subject area are not clearly presented, applications are generally rejected.

Lack of personal academic profile, academic establishment:

In the experienced academics’ programme segment, the personal academic profile is of major importance for the assessment of applications by the independent peer reviewers and committee members. Therefore, applications are frequently rejected if

  • no or insufficient publications are available in sole authorship or as a corresponding author;
  • the applicants’ topics are too narrowly focused;
  • no clear continued academic development is apparent;
  • the research project is not clearly aligned with the research interests of the applicant;
  • after several postdoctoral positions, another "traditional" postdoctoral position is applied for without the applicant becoming independently established academically in the meantime.

For experienced academics whose doctorate was completed more than eight years ago, rejection often results if a position as an independent academic (assistant professor, lecturer, junior research group leader, etc.) has still not been obtained, or if the prospect of a professorial appointment upon completion of the proposed stay is not apparent from the documentation submitted, especially the publication profile.

This programme is financed by

Collaborative programmes

On this research fellowship programme, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation cooperates with various private partners. Together, we aim to recruit highly qualified researchers for a research stay in Germany. The application, selection and sponsorship processes in programmes that involve private collaborative partners are conducted in accordance with the established procedure and guidelines of the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme. In many cases, the privately co-financed fellowships include additional offers, such as visits to the collaborative partners, invitations to events or facilitating contacts. 

If you are interested in such fellowships, please sign the corresponding declaration of consent in the application form. You will be informed as to whether the Humboldt Foundation has been able to admit you to one of the collaborative programmes in the award letter.

Collaborative partners:

  • BASF
  • Bayer Science & Education Foundation
  • Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation
  • Charité Foundation (no additional new awards)
All awards and grants