Press release

The Humboldt Foundation and Bayer Foundation jointly fostering research in Africa

Three million euros for additional research fellowships and a research hub

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The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Bayer Foundation are working together to promote and fund research in Africa. The Bayer Foundation will provide approximately three million euros for this endeavour until 2027. These funds are to be used to grant up to 18 additional research fellowships to researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa from the biology, medicine, agricultural and forestry sciences fields as well as process engineering and computer science (with relevance to public health and agriculture).

At the same time, financing will be provided for a Humboldt-Bayer Science Foundation Research Hub, which will join the five Humboldt Research Hubs in Africa that the Humboldt Foundation has been planning. The programme will enable Humboldt Foundation alumni who are at the forefront of their research fields to conduct long-term research that is of particular relevance for handling pandemics. For this purpose, the selected alumni designate collaborative partners in Germany and can additionally bring on board other collaborative partners in Africa. The research hubs will receive up to €750,000 in funding over a period of five years. Through its collaboration with the Bayer Foundation, the Humboldt Foundation can now realise plans to create a further hub in addition to the hubs that are planned and have been funded by the German Foreign Office to date.

Another element in the collaboration between the two foundations is the research cost allowance for doctoral candidates provided in connection with an AGNES-Bayer Science Foundation Research Grant for Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainable Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 30 grants are to be awarded to young scientists who conduct research in the area of biodiversity protection and sustainable agriculture. The recipients will be selected by the African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES).

The collaboration between the two foundations has the aim of helping find solutions to urgent challenges facing the African continent, said Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. “In the process, we are placing the rudder in African hands, particularly with the research hubs which the Humboldt Foundation recently launched. Excellent researchers in Africa will decide what research their country needs - and offer German partners opportunities to collaborate with them on these projects. This is entirely new - and the interest on the African side is enormous. The fact that the Bayer Foundation is providing us additional funding so that we can finance an additional hub here, pleases me greatly”, said Aufderheide.

“We view science as a decisive player in paving the way for social progress - in keeping with our vision of ‘catalysing science and social innovation for a world with health for all and hunger for none’,” explained Monika Lessl, Chairperson of the Bayer Foundation.

With these new funding measures, the Bayer Foundation and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation are continuing their long-standing collaboration - with a new priority. The two foundations have been working together since 2013, to date in connection with the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme. Thanks to the new Humboldt-Bayer Research Fellowships they can now grant 40 additional fellowships to outstanding researchers from countries outside Germany.

(Press release 5/2021)

updated on 6 July 2021


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 an interdisciplinary network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries around the world – including 61 Nobel Prize winners.

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