Press release

New Alexander von Humboldt Professors selected

Eight researchers from abroad have been selected to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award in 2021 and make the move to Aachen, Bonn, Cologne, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Göttingen, Marburg, Munich and Münster.

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updated on 8 December 2020


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The recipients in this selection round come from the fields: History of Science; Metabolic Physiology; Technical Chemistry; Psychology; Mathematics; Medical Engineering; Robotics; and AI and Robot Ethics. Each Alexander von Humboldt Professorship comes with up to €5 million in funding. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is granted to eminent researchers of all disciplines who have been working in other countries up to this time. The recipients will be expected to conduct cutting-edge research at German universities on a long-term basis. The new award winners are currently conducting research in Canada, France, the Netherlands, the USA and the United Kingdom. The funding that comes with the award 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 Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The new award winners were chosen from a total of 19 nominated researchers from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the USA and the United Kingdom. Three of the winning nominations are women: Science historian Andrea Bréard will receive a 2021 Humboldt Professorship. Angela Schoellig, a robotics expert, and Aimee van Wynsberghe, an expert for AI and robot ethics, were selected to be Humboldt Professors for Artificial Intelligence. 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 2021. The University of Marburg won the selection process for a Humboldt Professorship for the first time.

Here, the selected professors:

  • The science historian Andrea Bréard was proposed by the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. She is currently conducting research at the Université Paris-Saclay in France.
  • The metabolic physiologist Christian Frezza from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, was nominated by the University of Cologne.
  • The chemist Ive Hermans, currently at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, was nominated by RWTH Aachen University.
  • The psychologist Stefan G. Hofmann was nominated by the University of Marburg. He is currently conducting research at Boston University, USA.
  • The mathematician Gustav Holzegel from Imperial College London, United Kingdom, was nominated by the University of Münster.
  • The medical engineer Jan Huisken was proposed by the University of Göttingen. At the present time, he is conducting research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
  • The robotics expert Angela Schoellig from the University of Toronto, Canada, was nominated by TUM. (Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for Artificial Intelligence)
  • The AI and robot ethicist Aimee van Wynsberghe is presently conducting research at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. She was nominated by the University of Bonn. (Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for Artificial Intelligence)

The Humboldt Professorship enables German universities to offer top international researchers competitive conditions for research and helps them 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 their research in Germany. Additional Humboldt Professorships will be available in the field of artificial intelligence until the year 2024. To date, a total of 84 researchers, including 15 women, have been appointed to a Humboldt Professorship, inducing them to move to Germany.

Further information, photos and video portraits of current and upcoming Humboldt Professors are available here.

(Press release 24/2020)

Jährlich ermöglicht die Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung über 2.000 Forscher*innen aus aller Welt einen wissenschaftlichen Aufenthalt in Deutschland. In weltweit über 140 Ländern pflegt die Stiftung ein fächerübergreifendes Netzwerk von mehr als 30.000 Humboldtianer*innen – unter ihnen 61 mit Nobelpreis.

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