Press release

Invitation to the conferment of the Humboldt Professorships by Federal Minister Anja Karliczek on 8 May in Berlin

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  • No. 13/2018
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Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-144
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Ten award winners from abroad will each receive up to five million euros an soon conduct research in Aachen, Berlin, Dresden, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Hamburg, Hanover, Leipzig, Mainz and Munich

Coming to change: Ten years ago, the Humboldt Foundation launched the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, Germany’s most highly-endowed research award. The latest awards will be presented by Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, at a ceremony on 8 May 2018 in Berlin. The Humboldt Foundation will also celebrate the programme’s tenth anniversary.

With the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, the Humboldt Foundation honours leading academics from all disciplines who have been working abroad up to now. The award winners have been nominated by German universities and research institutions, and are now expected to establish globally competitive teams and structures at these locations.
The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Funding of 5 million euros is available for academics conducting experimental research and 3.5 million euros for those undertaking theoretical research. The money is intended to finance the first five years of research in Germany.

Coming to change: Ceremony marking 10 years of Alexander von Humboldt Professorships and presentation of awards
Date/time: Tuesday 8 May 2018, 7.00 p.m. (admission from 6.00 p.m.)
Venue: Representative Office of Deutsche Telekom AG, Französische Str. 33 a-c, 10117 Berlin

Photography, video and audio recordings are permitted. Interviews with the award winners can be arranged by individual agreement.

From 6.00 p.m.: Admission and tour of information stands belonging to the host universities from Aachen, Berlin, Dresden, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Hamburg, Hanover, Leipzig, Mainz and Munich. Anja Karliczek, Hans-Christian Pape and the award winners will participate in the tour.

Please send your accreditation including a copy of your valid press ID to presse[at] or faxed to +49 228 833 441 by 12.00 p.m. on 4 May 2018.

On-site press contacts:
Kristina Güroff, Phone: 0151 / 140 157 96
Georg Scholl, Phone: 0160 / 97 245 344

Profiles of the award winners:

  • Hamburg: Anne van Aaken (Law/Economics)
    Those who understand people can make better legislation
    Anne van Aaken works at the intersection of law and economics, with a particular emphasis on public international law and behavioural economics. She focuses on evidence-based legal research. For example, what is the psychology behind agreements made under international law?
    Coming from the University of St Gallen in Switzerland, Anne van Aaken has recently begun her Professorship at the University of Hamburg, where she intends to establish a new field of research that takes into account psychological and social science approaches.
  • Aachen: Wil van der Aalst (Informatics/Computer Science)
    Smart data processing helps to make complex processes manageable
    Wil van der Aalst is regarded as the founder of process mining, a technique that combines process management with data analysis. It enables the study of even very complex procedures involving many human actors to be studied, such as airport luggage handling, bank lending or insurance claims processing. As a Humboldt Professor, he intends to develop, among other activities, a new programme relating to the responsible use of data science.
    Upon taking up the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, Wil van der Aalst has transferred from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands to RWTH Aachen.
  • Mainz: Peter Baumann (Cell Biology)
    Strategies against the premature ageing of cells
    Peter Baumann is a leading specialist in the field of chromosome biology. He conducts research into how genetic information is inherited, how cell ageing takes place and how cancer develops.
    Peter Baumann has already transferred from the University of Kansas Medical Center, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the USA to the Johannes Gutenberg University and the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz.
  • Munich: Marco Caccamo (Computer Engineering/Real-Time Systems)
    Reliable control of safety-critical systems in real time
    Marco Caccamo is a leading expert in safety-critical real-time systems. Examples include control systems in power stations, in planes and in autonomous cars. These are systems that instantly evaluate sensor data, make a decision and provide control input – and therefore need to function absolutely safely and reliably.
    Marco Caccamo is now transferring from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, to the Technical University of Munich (TUM).
  • Leipzig: James Conant (Philosophy)
    Crystallisation point for German-American cooperation
    American and German philosophers belong to different schools. James Conant is an intermediary between countries, disciplines and schools of thought, and promotes understanding and cooperation in an international philosophical network.
    He has transferred from the University of Chicago, USA, to the University of Leipzig.
  • Erlangen-Nuremberg: Ewa Dąbrowska (Cognitive Linguistics)
    How humans acquire language
    By conducting empirical studies of children and adults, Ewa Dąbrowska analyses the various ways language is acquired in specific linguistic and cultural contexts and what role social and individual influences play in this process. For a long time, it was the prevailing view that every human being was born with basic grammatical skills. That was until Cognitive Linguistics came along and Dąbrowska refuted this dogma.
    Ewa Dąbrowska is now transferring from the University of Birmingham, UK, to the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg.
  • Berlin: Arno Rauschenbeutel (Quantum Optics/Atomic Physics)
    Making the transmission of information absolutely tap-proof – with quantum physics
    Arno Rauschenbeutel works in the field of experimental quantum optics. He is especially interested in the interface between light and matter and has reached a milestone in research in this field: the capturing of atoms in glass fibres with light, thus enabling them to be controlled and manipulated.
    Arno Rauschenbeutel is now transferring from the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology in Vienna, Austria, to the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.
  • Hanover: Guus F. Rimmelzwaan (Virology/Immunology)
    Making progress towards developing new influenza vaccines
    Guus Rimmelzwaan conducts research into influenza viruses at the intersection of human and veterinary medicine. Influenza viruses can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. This can result in the formation of new strains of influenza and trigger a nationwide epidemic. Rimmelzwaan’s major aim is the development of a universal influenza vaccine.
    He has recently transferred from Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation (TiHo).
  • Dresden: Michael H. Sieweke (Immunology/Stem Cell Research)
    The power of macrophages – how the body defends itself against risks
    Michael H. Sieweke has developed a process to multiply macrophages, a type of immune cell, outside the body. It is hoped that, in the future, it will be possible to multiply human macrophages in clean room laboratories in order to help patients with degenerative diseases.
    Sieweke has transferred from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, France to the Technische Universität Dresden.
  • Aachen: Raul Fidel Tempone (Applied Mathematics)
    Making uncertainties predictable
    Raul Tempone is an expert on what is known as Uncertainty Quantification (UQ), still a relatively new mathematical subject area. He conducts research into how predictions can be made for highly complex systems that appear chaotic at first glance, such as the movement of crowds or the weather. The numerous variables involved here pose the greatest challenge.
    Transferring from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, he is now taking up his position at RWTH Aachen.


The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 28,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 55 Nobel Prize winners.

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