New 2020 Alexander von Humboldt Professors chosen

No. 11/2019

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Three researchers from abroad have been selected to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award in 2020 and will take up work in Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia. 

A neuroscientist, a mathematician and a linguist have been selected to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is endowed with funding of up to €5 million and is granted to eminent researchers of all disciplines who have been working abroad up to now. They are expected to conduct cutting-edge research at German universities on a long-term basis. The newly-selected award winners currently work in Austria, the USA and the United Kingdom. The award amount is earmarked for the first five years of their research in Germany. The Humboldt Professorship is granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The new award winners were chosen from a pool of nine nominated researchers from Australia, Austria, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the USA. They will now embark on appointment negotiations with the German universities that nominated them. If the researchers accept the Humboldt Professorship, the award will be conferred in May 2020.

  • The neuroscientist Peter Dayan was nominated by the University of Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. At the time of his nomination, he was conducting research at University College London in the United Kingdom.
  • The mathematician Philipp Grohs from the University of Vienna was nominated by RWTH Aachen University.
  • The linguist Francisco Moreno-Fernández is currently at Harvard University, USA, and was nominated by the University of Heidelberg.

The immunologist Galit Alter has declined the Humboldt Professorship she was selected for.

The Humboldt Professorship enables German universities to offer top international researchers competitive general conditions for research and to raise their own international profiles in the global research market at the same time. The award is granted on the precondition that the new Humboldt Professors are given long-term prospects for conducting research in Germany. To date, a total of 77 researchers, including 15 women, have been appointed to a Humboldt Professorship, facilitating their move to Germany.

Visit for additional information, photographs and video portraits of the current and future award winners..

Sponsored by:

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 conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 29,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 55 Nobel Laureates.

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