Sofja Kovalevskaja Award

For
top-rank junior researchers
From
all countries (except Germany)
What
up to €1.65 million for 5 years to head a research group in Germany
Hint

In the context of our current strategy debate, the call for the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award is under discussion. We are, therefore, unable to accept applications for a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award at present.

Award for top-rank junior researchers

Submit an application if you are a successful top-rank junior researcher from abroad, only completed your doctorate with distinction in the last six years, and have published work in prestigious international journals or publishing houses. The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award, which is endowed with up to 1.65 million euros, allows you to spend five years building up a working group and working on a high-profile, innovative research project of your own choice at a research institution of your own choice in Germany.

 

Application requirements

  1. Doctorate or comparable academic degree (Ph.D., C.Sc. or equivalent), completed with
    distinction less than six years prior to the application submission deadline.
  2. Career level: the award would enable the successful applicant to take on a leadership position (e.g. head of a junior research group) in Germany for the first time. Moreover, the applicant must not have held or accepted an offer of permanent employment in Germany. The relevant date is the date of the selection.
  3. Cutting-edge academic achievements documented by a comprehensive list of independent academic publications reviewed according to international standards and printed in journals and / or by publishing houses.
  4. Support of the German host institution, evidenced by a detailed expert's report from the academic host as well as the host's agreement and the confirmation from the administration at the host institution.
  5. Two supporting expert reviews from academics (at the applicant's own institute or other institutes, where possible including some outside the applicant’s country oforigin).
  6. Language skills: scholars in the humanities or social sciences and physicians must have a good knowledge of German if it is necessary to carry out the project successfully; otherwise a good knowledge of English; scientists and engineers must have a good knowledge of German or English.
  7. No previous Sofja Kovalevskaja Award.
  8. Origin: Foreign academics staying in Germany are eligible to apply if they have lived outside Germany for a minimum of 12 months in total in the 18-month period prior to the application submission deadline. Educational residents are subject to the regulations governing Germans. German academics are eligible to apply if they have been working in an academic capacity abroad for a longer time. For more details please check with the FAQ.
  9. The Humboldt Foundation assumes that candidates will abide by the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and the legally-binding principles of scientific ethics (PDF) during the application and sponsorship periods.

Application procedure and selection

Applications may be submitted to the Humboldt Foundation online provided they have been duly completed and all of the following required documents have been uploaded:

Curriculum vitae (two pages max)

  • Research outline (25 pages max)
  • Financial plan
  • Information on the financial plan (one page max)
  • Complete list of publications
  • List of selected key publications
  • Key publications
  • Doctoral certificate
  • German language certificate, if applicable
  • Host’s statement and hosting agreement as well as confirmation of administration*
  • Two expert reviews*
  • Additionally, where required: publishers' letter(s) of acceptance and/or acknowledgment(s) of receipt as well as summaries or translations of the key publications

*The host and expert reviewer(s) upload the required documents in a secure area themselves. Applications can be submitted only after these documents have been uploaded. The application form contains further instructions and information.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that he or she has submitted all the necessary documents. The Humboldt Foundation will confirm receipt of the online application by email.

After the application has been checked to ensure that it is complete and meets the formal requirements for eligibility, the application documents will usually be forwarded to three independent reviewers for written review. On the basis of these independent peer reviews a selection committee composed of about 25 academics from all disciplines reaches a decision on approving Sofja Kovalevskaja Awards.

If an application has been approved, the award winners must start their research in Germany in the course of the calendar year of the award conferment at the latest.

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.

It is not possible to appeal. However, applicants who have been rejected may submit a revised application response to a future call for applications provided that fundamental aspects of the original application have been manifestly improved and the then applicable submission requirements are met.

Support

Support during research stay

One of our hallmarks is the degree of support we try to provide for every single guest researcher. This is why we offer you extra benefits in addition to the award amount: from invitations to events to language courses.

Alumni programmes

Once a Humboldtian, always a Humboldtian: Even after your initial research stay has come to an end, we shall still maintain close contact with you. Our alumni sponsorship is flexible and designed to support every Humboldtian’s particular path in life and development as well as collaborations between individuals.

Questions & Answers

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 application deadline (31/07).

 

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

 

We cannot consider your application if you obtained your doctorate more than six years ago. If you have missed 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).

 

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. In this case, you can apply up to 10 years after your first degree (B.A., M.A., etc.). Please send us your complete CV (without gaps) and a list of your publications before you apply so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

 

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.

If you have ever interrupted your academic career for child-rearing purposes, either partially or completely, please list all periods of leave on the application form. We will assess whether these periods can be taken into account in calculating your eligibility in relation to your career stage. 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. The extension is limited to 6 years. If you have any further questions please contact info[at]avh.de.

 

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, applications are permitted up to 6 years after completing the doctorate. 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.

 

The aim of the programme is to enable highly qualified academics from abroad to launch their academic career in Germany by establishing an independent junior research group here. Applicants should therefore be living and/or working outside Germany at the time of application.

If you are already in Germany or have recently been to Germany, you may only apply if you have spent a total of over 12 months within the 18 months immediately preceding the application deadline (31/07) outside Germany. 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.

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 18 months immediately preceding the application deadline 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 launch their academic career in Germany by establishing an independent junior research group 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.

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 indicates 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 the application deadline (31/07) 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.

The same rules apply to you as to other applicants, e.g. regarding periods spent in Germany.

 

No, it is not possible to apply the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award programme and the Fellowship Programme of the Humboldt Foundation concurrently.

 

  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 the project 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 project 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.

 

No, a language certificate is not required.

 

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 30,000 academics sponsored worldwide. Here you can search for names, disciplines and keywords.

When selecting an academic host, please remember that you are choosing not only your academic, but also your personal living environment for the next five years.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 30,000 academics sponsored worldwide. Here you can search for names, disciplines and keywords.

When selecting an academic host, please remember that you are choosing not only your academic, but also your personal living environment for the next five years.We would like to draw your attention to the following search engines for hosts and research institutes

The term "host" refers to the person who will act as the award winner’s direct academic contact at the host research institution, e.g., the chair holder or head of department in whose team you would like to establish a working group. .

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. 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 academic independence. In case a return to the academic environment of the supervisor of your doctoral thesis or to the mentor of a longer postdoctoral stay is necessary on scientific reasons, you should elucidate this in your research outline.

 

No. In particular, it is not possible to carry out research at two different research institutions. Provisions for changing the host institution during the sponsorship period are in principle not provided in the programme. The award winner must use the award funds to carry out his or her approved research outline at the host institution in Germany which has been presented in the application.

 

You will find the current application deadline in the latest version of the Programme information.

 

On principle it is possible to apply to another institution for funding at the same time. However, you must state this on the application form and inform us immediately about any parallel applications and decisions, even during the application procedure. Please indicate in the “Information on the financial plan” any third-party funding (e.g. German Research Foundation, European Union, industry) that has been granted for this project or for which you have applied.

 

It is not possible to apply for a period in excess of five years. Applications for a significantly shorter period (less than about four and a half years) have no chance of success.

 

The research stay in Germany commences in the calendar year in which the award is granted. The exact date should be agreed upon with the host institution prior to application.

 

The financial plan you have submitted will be examined in an independent specialist review and by the members of the selection committee to ascertain whether your itemisation is plausible and appropriate. Their assessment will determine the award amount.

 

The Humboldt Foundation is firmly in favour of award winners and their partners learning German during their research stay so that they can take an active part in social and cultural life in Germany as well as conducting research. On application, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is therefore able to cover the costs of a German course.

 

The host institution is allowed to use a percentage of the administrative flat-rate to provide opportunities for partners in dual career relationships.

We would like to draw your attention to the site:  Dual Career Couples on the EURAXESS Germany portal.

 

Your host and expert reviewers 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. 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.

 

No, only two expert reviews should be submitted for an application. Additional ones cannot be taken into consideration.

 

Your application must contain five key publications that demonstrate your previous outstanding achievements. (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. 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.

 

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.

 

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). 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).
Please note that it is not possible to amend the list of publications submitted to the Humboldt Foundation once the selection process has begun.

 

You can find information on drawing up a research outline in the application form.

 

You can find information on drawing up a financial plan in the application form. Use our Sample financial plan to help draw it up.
Your financial plan will be assessed for its appropriateness and plausibility in the specialist review.

 

The award winners will head a junior research group. They will be independent and largely unaffected by administrative constraints. In order to attract top international researchers, it is therefore possible to draw an amount from the award funds for the award winner’s personal income that significantly exceeds the rates usually paid to junior researchers in Germany.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation emphasises that the scope thus given should be utilised: as of 1 April 2019, the award winner may draw a monthly sum from the award funds to cover his/her living expenses in Germany (in the amount of 1/12 of annual earnings) of €7, 652,43 (employee’s gross earnings; maximum monthly income). This is equivalent to an employer’s gross contribution of approx. €114,000.00 p.a. (see Programme information for current amount).

Apart from that, in agreement with the host institution, the award winner is free to define the contractual arrangements referring to personal income drawn from the award amount in the framework of the valid legal and (non-)tariff or public service salary law regulations. For their part, potential host institutions in Germany are bound by rules that they cannot directly influence themselves (Examples for Länder salary law); furthermore, the options differ depending on the respective legal and institutional constitution (university, non-university research institution etc.). Consequently, the models for Sofja Kovalevskaja award winners’ future positions and personal income may vary. They may include non-tariff contracts, for example, as well as fixed-term professorships (W 1 and/or W 2, in some cases ad personam) or tenure-track options. Given that the latter may involve further obligations (tasks in the context of academic self-governance, teaching, examination invigilation), which require additional time commitments, applicants should consider the option that is most appropriate for the next step in their careers.

In order to ensure that the transfer can be effected in accordance with the successful candidate’s wishes, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation recommends discussing the form the position is supposed to take and the conditions regarding personal income with the host institution in Germany whilst the application is still being prepared.

 

In principle, it is possible for Sofja Kovalevskaja Award recipients to apply for a tenure track professorship at the host university, e.g. within the tenure track programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). But the universities themselves are responsible for the decision if they implement those regulations in their guidelines. Please also consider that it may not always be the optimal career decision at this time because additional duties are connected with a professorship quite often. We recommend contacting your host university and your host concerning this matter.

 

No, it is not necessary to state their names on the application. Please ask your host about the titles usually associated with the positions in Germany. It is recommendable to discuss staffing matters with the administration at an early stage before making appointments.

 

Any equipment purchased in the course of your research project will become the property of the host institution when the project has come to an end.

 

As soon as we receive your application, we will notify you by email. If important documents or information should be missing from your application, we will notify you.

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 a two-thirds majority vote. The Humboldt Foundation has no vote on the Selection Committee.

 

The Selection Committee which makes the final decision on Sofja Kovalevskaja award winners is scheduled to meet at the end of March. You will be informed about the outcome of the meeting immediately afterwards.

 

No. The purpose of the award is to enable you to take on your first leadership position in Germany. If you assume a leadership position prior to the selection meeting, unfortunately, your application becomes ineligible.

 

No. The award is meant to be an opportunity for international candidates who do not have any substantial ties with Germany to gain an academic foothold here. If you enter into a permanent employment contract prior to the selection meeting, unfortunately, your application becomes ineligible.

 

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.

 

You can only submit complete applications. 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.

 

We expect to grant up to six awards this year. In the most recent selection rounds the probability of success has been approximately 10%.

 

The applicant's own academic qualifications are the most important facet of the assessment. Detailed information on the selection criteria can be found in the Programme information.

 

This is possible in certain cases provided that the circumstances are explained and documented. Usually, Sofja Kovalevskaja award winners are expected to set up and lead a working group

 

Yes, within the sponsorship period of 5 years. Payments are made in instalments according to the financial plan and are effected – depending on the demand and the availability of budgetary means – as soon as possible. The cash balance as per December 31st of each year must not exceed 20% of the total instalment paid that year; in exceptional cases this amount can be exceeded.

 

As detailed as possible to help the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's budgetary planning.

 

By the end of the sponsorship period. Any remaining funds must be remitted to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

 

According to the regulations governing the host institution (e.g. the respective state law on travel expenses).

 

An official mobile phone may be financed from award funds ("expendable items/miscellaneous").

 

It is possible on principle; it is not forbidden in the regulations. How this "ready cash" is actually provided should however be discussed with the administration of the host institution in each instance.

 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation does not pay subsidies towards moving expenses. If an employment contract has been concluded, the regulations governing travel expenses for public service at the place of employment obtain (including the payment of moving expenses).

 

This question has to be clarified with the host institution. In the agreement between the award winner and the host institution, as well as in the Regulations on the Use of Funds, the host institution in general is cited as the recipient of this lump-sum.

 

The basis for calculating the administrative flat-rate is the original amount of award funds (excluding interest accrued).

 

Yes, based on the regulations and cost unit rates pertaining at the host institution.

 

Yes, award funds may be used to cover travel expenses if the outing arises from the employment situation which, apart from a salary, also includes other social contributions (which may embrace a group outing).

 

To cover expenses incurred in connection with interviewing applicants the relevant regulations obtaining at the host institution should be the determining factor.

 

If attending a language course is the precondition for working on the project successfully and providing it cannot be financed from other funding – yes.

 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has no objections to using award funds to cover the costs of entertaining invited guests. And it is possible to use the administrative flat-rate for this purpose. In chapter III of the Regulations on the Use of Funds general information can be found on the sort of expenses that can be covered by the administrative flat-rate.

 

Yes, preferably from the proportion of award funds earmarked for the administration of the host institution as the administrative flat-rate. Upon purchase, any equipment and utensils immediately become the property of the host institution.

 

Yes. Please note that you are obligated to inform the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of applications for or receipt of (partial) funding from German or foreign sources, and observe the general obligations of award winners. This includes for e.g. that you must fully focus your work on the funded research project in Germany (Chap. IX, 3.). You are also obligated not to make use of any congruent sponsorship from funding deriving from German academic sponsorship. Your contacts within the administration will advise you. It is forbidden to duplicate financing for one and the same research project (double funding). If additional funds are granted for a subproject on a closely related topic (parallel sponsorship), careful attention should be paid to a strict division of budgets - especially when preparing the documentations on the use of funds. In the event of violations of these regulations the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation retains the right to reclaim part or all of the award money.

 

The employment of staff should be based on the relevant legal framework regulations governing the host institution. All designated forms are possible, including employment contracts on the basis of the TVöD-/TV-L-tariff and fee agreements. In addition to this, the Regulations on the Use of Funds draw specific attention to the fact that fellowships may be granted.

 

The award winner can make funds available to his/her home institute with which to award fellowships (for example to doctoral students or postdocs), particularly to scientists and scholars from abroad. For your application, please consider the rates specified in the financial plan. Should deviations be unavoidable, please indicate these in the “Information on the financial plan”. The general underlying basis for determining the value of the fellowship by the host institute should be the monthly instalments paid by the German Academic Exchange Service or the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to graduate and post-doc fellows respectively.

Divergence is possible, should, however, be convincingly and soundly substantiated and should be noted in the files accompanying the documentation of payment. Possible implications with regard to tax liability are to be clarified in advance.

 

Yes, they can be provided on request.

 

Yes, inevitably, as in the interests of the award winner, it is only the host institution which is entitled to grant fellowships. Cf. Regulations on the Use of Funds, ch. IV, "The host institution acts as employer on the award winner's behalf (¿) The award winner is entitled to earmark funds from the award money which the host institution may use to grant fellowships...".

 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation recommends setting up an ad hoc committee for selecting fellows, e.g. comprising of the award winner, the head of department, an additional scientific member of the department and the dean or vice-dean. It is not out of the question that the award winner should "have a free hand" in selecting fellows. The act of granting the fellowship can, however, only be carried out by the host institution. At the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation the following procedure applies: selection of excellence, documented by academic qualification, on the basis of specialist reviews and discussion/decision in the selection committee.

 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's tax number is of no relevance to the tax office because the fellowship is not an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship but a fellowship in the framework of the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award. In the framework of the Sofja Kovalevskaja Programme, it is the host institution which has granted the fellowship (see “Regulations on the Use of Funds”, chapter IV “Human and material resources”). However, these fellowships should be granted according to the regulations governing the granting of Humboldt Fellowships. We are then pleased to confirm that Humboldt Research Fellowships are free of tax in Germany according to § 3 No. 44 of German Income Tax Law. We, therefore, assume, that fellowships in the framework of the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award are also free of tax in Germany providing the concrete case does indeed fulfil the definitive criteria for exemption from taxation. Any further information should be obtained from your host institution.

 

The advertisement should conform to the relevant legal framework conditions at the respective host institution. As with all public presentations, at a suitable point reference should be made to the sponsorship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as donor.

 

Depending on needs and target group advertisements may be placed in publications disseminated world-wide. We would like to draw your attention to the site: EURAXESS Jobs on the EURAXESS – Researchers in Motion portal. EURAXESS Jobs is a Europe-wide job exchange for researchers, where universities, research organisations and industry can post their vacancies.

By taking out a professional indemnity insurance privately.

 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has no objections to the planned increase in the fellowship up to the level of remuneration received by German doctoral students (TVöD EG 13/2 / BAT IIa/2). Information on granting fellowships from the award funds can be found in ch. IV (Personnel) of the "Regulations on the Use of Funds". These details also apply to granting partial fellowships.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's regulations on the use of funds explicitly allow for part of the award money to be used for the award winner's subsistence. Whether the award winner chooses to be employed by the host institution (e.g. as a professor or member of staff) or whether he or she agrees to a different status at the host institution (e.g. self-employed guest academic) is a matter of individual preference. However, due to the implications for health insurance, social security and taxation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation specifically disadvises award winners from drawing the part of the award money earmarked for subsistence in the form of a fellowship from the host institution or a third party.

 

In principle, it is possible for Sofja Kovalevskaja Award recipients to apply for a tenure track professorship at the host university, e.g. within the tenure track programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). But the host universities themselves are responsible for the decision if they implement those regulations in their guidelines. Please also consider that it may not always be the optimal career decision at this time because additional duties are connected with a professorship quite often. We recommend contacting your host university and your host concerning this matter.

 

The award winners will head a junior research group. They will be independent and largely unaffected by administrative constraints. In order to attract top international researchers, it is therefore possible to draw an amount from the award funds for the award winner’s personal income that significantly exceeds the rates usually paid to junior researchers in Germany.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation emphasises that the scope thus given should be utilised: as of 1 April 2019, the award winner may draw a monthly sum from the award funds to cover his/her living expenses in Germany (in the amount of 1/12 of annual earnings) of €7,652.43 (employee’s gross earnings; maximum monthly income). This is equivalent to an employer’s gross contribution of approx. €114,000 p.a. (see Programme information for current amount).

Apart from that, in agreement with the host institution, the award winner is free to define the contractual arrangements referring to personal income drawn from the award amount in the framework of the valid legal and (non-)tariff or public service salary law regulations. For their part, potential host institutions in Germany are bound by rules that they cannot directly influence themselves (Examples for Länder salary law (in German)); furthermore, the options differ depending on the respective legal and institutional constitution (university, non-university research institution etc.). Consequently, the models for Sofja Kovalevskaja award winners’ future positions and personal income may vary. They may include non-tariff contracts, for example, as well as fixed-term professorships (W 1 and/or W 2, in some cases ad personam) or tenure-track options. Given that the latter may involve further obligations (tasks in the context of academic self-governance, teaching, examination invigilation), which require additional time commitments, applicants should consider the option that is most appropriate for the next step in their careers.

In order to ensure that the transfer can be effected in accordance with the successful candidate’s wishes, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation recommends discussing the form the position is supposed to take and the conditions regarding personal income with the host institution in Germany whilst the application is still being prepared.

...Is it, therefore, possible to procure equipment in a less "bureaucratic" fashion or would this kind of procedure conflict with the Regulations on the Use of Funds which state that the award funds must be used economically and prudently?

Die Forderung nach Wirtschaftlichkeit ist auch unter dem Gesichtspunkt der zur Verfügung stehenden Zeit zu sehen. Ohne die erforderlichen Geräte können die Forschungsarbeiten nicht durchgeführt, das intendierte Preisziel – internationale Spitzenforschung – nicht erreicht werden. Zu berücksichtigen ist auch der internationale Konkurrenzdruck auf dem jeweiligen Forschungsgebiet, der zu schnellen Anschaffungen zwingen kann. Diese Rahmenbedingungen und die durch die Verzögerung der Forschungsarbeiten entstehenden Aufwendungen für eine "Stand by-Phase" sollten im Sinne einer Gesamtbetrachtung bei den Überlegungen zur Wirtschaftlichkeit der Beschaffung von Geräten berücksichtigt werden. Bei Berücksichtigung der vorgenannten Aspekte bleibt die mit der Verwaltung des Preisgeldes betraute Institution im Rahmen der üblichen vergaberechtlichen Bestimmungen, wenn sie die Beschaffung ohne Ausschreibung durchführt, weil die Beschaffung eilt [§ 3 Nr. 4 lit f) VOL/A].

Award winners are responsible for all matters pertaining to their taxation. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation assumes that the award will be classified as a grant towards a research project in Germany and, as such, be free of tax. Whether the proportion of the award funds earmarked for covering living expenses is taxable should be examined individually. In this case, any existing double taxation agreements may be relevant. The laws in the award winners’ own countries or countries of residence may include special regulations on taxing awards. If in doubt, the award winners should contact a tax advisor in their own country.

When conferring fellowships funded out of award funds, particular attention needs to be drawn to applicable special tax regulations (cf. FAQ II.11).

 

In publications and all other (especially public) presentations, appropriate reference should be made to the sponsorship provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation as well as to the donor, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. There is no binding standard formulation.

If it is planned to use the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation logo, the following needs to be observed:

  • The use of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation logo in any kind of communication is subject to strict rules. The logo and its constituent parts are a trademarked name and may not be reproduced without obtaining the express written authorisation of the Foundation in advance. The logo comprises three parts: the head of Alexander von Humboldt, the script nameplate and the bilingual addition "Stiftung/Foundation". These elements jointly comprise the inseparable word/image trademark. The logo and its constituent parts may not be copied, altered or truncated or integrated in other logos.
  • Use of the logo is authorised in publications and other, in particular public, presentations (e.g. conference presentations) of research results that were produced in direct connection with sponsorship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. For this purpose, the logo with the label "Unterstützt von/Supported by" may be downloaded from the password-protected section of Network Online in an electronic file format that conforms to the specific requirements for print: www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/service-portal.html
  • Any other use of the logo requires prior written permission from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and must be requested in writing, stating the intended use of the logo.

No such provision for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is foreseen in the Regulations on the Use of Funds. In accordance with the "Agreements between the award winner and the host institution" the provisions of the "German Employees Invention Act", (ArbNErfindungsG) apply. If a patent is registered, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation should be informed. Cf. also "Regulations on the Use of Funds", cf. VII.

 

Providing the registration of the patent is covered by cf. VII of the Regulations on the Use of Funds, costs incurred may be financed from award funds.

 

This programme is financed by

All awards and grants