Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award

For whom
outstanding researchers (up to 15 years after completing their doctorate)
From where
all countries (excluding Germany)
For what
€80,000 award money in addition to €1.5 million for research collaboration in Germany
Pattern of green spots with lettering Max Planck Humboldt Research Award

Research Award for outstanding researchers from abroad

The joint research award from the Max Planck Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation recognises excellent researchers from abroad for their outstanding academic achievements.

The Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and presented alternatingly in the natural and engineering sciences, the life sciences, and the humanities and social sciences.

Designed to incentivise especially innovative international researchers to conduct research stays at academic institutions in Germany, the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award allows award winners significant flexibility in organising their research stay in Germany. For more information please see the programme information for the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award.

Our sponsorship

Award winners are given access to funding of 1.5 million euros over a period of five years. This funding may be used e.g. to establish and lead a working group in Germany – preferably at a higher education institution. To foster long-term cooperation with colleagues in Germany, we moreover fund creative and promising research formats that align with the award winners’ research interests and methods.
In addition, award winners receive a personal award of 80,000 euros, and the host institution in Germany is provided with a lump sum totalling 20% of the funding amount to cover administrative costs.

The Humboldt Foundation strives to provide its guest researchers with individualised support, including e.g. invitations to numerous events or participation in language courses.

We stay in contact even after your research stay has ended: Our alumni sponsorship measures flexibly support every Humboldtian’s individual journey through life, in both their career and their future collaborations.

Who may submit a nomination?

Nominations are made exclusively by the Max Planck Society.

Who can be nominated?

Eligible for nomination are outstanding researchers who offer substantial prospects of further scientific breakthroughs due to their extraordinarily successful, unconventional, innovative and audacious research to date. Nominees should moreover meet the following criteria:

  • The nominated individual must have gained her/his doctorate no more than 15 years ago.
  • The nominee may not previously have received an award from the Humboldt Foundation in recognition of her/his academic achievements.
  • The nominee must have lived and worked outside Germany for over five years at the time of nomination.
  • The nominee may not have entered into or arranged to enter into permanent employment in Germany at the time of selection
  • The nominated individual must abide by the rules of good scientific practice (PDF) and the principles of scientific ethics at all times.The foundation provides information on dealing with generative AI in the selection area.

Ineligible for nomination are individuals who are in a close personal (marriage, civil partnership) or familial (parents, siblings, children) relationship with the person submitting the nomination.

The selection procedure

The Max Planck Society appoints an international nomination committee to identify three candidates who have significant interest in a research stay at a German institution.

The recipient of the Max Planck Award is determined by an independent Selection Committee comprised of high-level individuals working in academia and science management and chaired by the president of the Humboldt Foundation. The main selection criteria include:

  • outstanding research achievements to date and the potential for further breakthroughs;
  • quality of the research project (level of innovation, prospects for success);
  • the potential for collaboration with the host institute and the extended research field in Germany.

If the Selection Committee considers the other two nominees’ previous bodies of work award-worthy, they will receive the Max Planck-Humboldt Medal, which is endowed with 60,000 euros.


The Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award has been presented since 2018. It is the successor to the Max Planck Research Award, which was granted to one researcher working in Germany and one researcher working abroad each year from 2004 to 2016 (award amount: 750,000 euros).


This programme is financed by

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