Equal opportunities for researchers

Tapping academic potential – irrespective of gender

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation wants to recruit the world’s best minds for a research stay in Germany as well as for its international network of outstanding researchers. In all our efforts we emphatically campaign for gender equality and equal opportunities in research.

Despite this, the number of women amongst our applicants, fellows and award winners is significantly lower than the number of men. It is also clear that the problem becomes exacerbated the higher the career stage – a phenomenon that does not only affect us. The consequences are a major waste of qualifications, innovative potential, excellence, perspectives and experience.

Reflection of the global academic reality

The Humboldt Foundation’s sponsorship programmes do not invoke quotas of anykind, be they for certain countries, disciplines or, indeed, gender. Sponsorship is granted solely on the basis of academic performance. Gender inequalities that are prevalent in certain disciplines and at certain career stages all around the world are thus an issue here, too. The Humboldt Foundation reflects, as it were, academic reality worldwide.

In order to better exploit the potential of outstanding talents in science and research we expressly welcome applications from and nominations for highly-qualified female researchers. We should also like to invite women researchers in Germany to internationalise their research teams by becoming hosts for junior researchers from abroad. Our objective is to further integrate women at all levels into our network. That includes female applicants, hosts and nominating researchers, as well as female reviewers and Selection Committee members.

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Further information

Visit our FAQs for women academics and families for additional information on questions relating to applications and sponsorship, allowances granted by the Humboldt Foundation and state benefits for women researchers and families

FAQs for women academics and families

Harmonising family and research

If you are doing research abroad, you should be able to have your family with you. That is why we have designed our sponsorship programmes to be family-friendly and make every effort to remove the obstacles facing young families. Moreover, we already recognise periods of parental leave in our selection process.

If you give birth or care for young children, you can interrupt or extend the sponsorship period covered by your fellowship. You can find more information in the Information Sheet on Maternity Leave (PDF).

If your marital partner is accompanying you on your stay for at least three months (without interruption), we grant a monthly family allowance for marital partners during the sponsorship period. You can find more information in the Family allowance for marital partners information sheet (PDF).

If you are a researcher from Germany who has been granted a Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship to work with a Humboldtian abroad, we offer you special family allowances. In addition to the family allowance for accompanying marital partners, we grant a child allowance if your children accompany you. In such cases you can also apply for parenting support, such as an allowance towards thecosts of childcare. For more details on family allowances visit the Guidelines and Information for Feodor Lynen Research Fellows (PDF) and the fellowship calculator.

As a single-parent research fellow in Germany, you can apply for a flat-rate monthly child allowance if your underage children accompany you to Germany for at least three months (without interruption). You can find more information in the Flat-rate monthly child allowance for single-parent fellows information sheet (PDF).

If your marital partner and your underage children accompany you to Germany for at least three months (without interruption), we grant a subsidy towards medical insurance and liability insurance during the sponsorship period. You can find more information in the Subsidy towards the costs of medical and liability insurance information sheet (PDF).

The Humboldt Foundation enables you as a fellow and your marital partner to attend a language course lasting up to four months immediately prior to the startof your research fellowship in Germany. We cover the course fees as well as the costs for accomodation with breakfast. To cover other meals and diverse costs you receive pocket money.

Award winners and their marital partners may also apply to have the costs of a German language course paid.

Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for state benefits such as child benefit and parental allowance in addition to those granted by the Humboldt Foundation. You can find more information in the Information sheet on child benefit/substitutional payment (PDF) and in the Information sheet on family allowance for marital partners (PDF).