New Alexander von Humboldt Professorships for Artificial Intelligence

Up to 30 professorships are to be awarded as a contribution to the Federal Government’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy, supplementing the Humboldt Professorships awarded to date. The first two AI Professors have already been selected.

Sofja Kovalevskaja-Preisverleihung 2019

Up to 30 additional Alexander von Humboldt Professorships are to be filled in the field of artificial intelligence until the year 2024. In doing so, the Humboldt Foundation aims to contribute to the Federal Government’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy. Alexander von Humboldt Professorships are awarded to eminent researchers of all disciplines who have been working abroad to date. The recipients are expected to conduct cutting-edge research at German universities on a long-term basis.

The neuroscientist Peter Dayan and the computer scientist Daniel Rückert have been selected to be the first Humboldt Professors for Artificial Intelligence. Peter Dayan, a leading international theoretical neuroscientist, conducts research along the interface between the intelligence of living beings and machines. He will be working at the University of Tübingen. Daniel Rückert studies how artificial intelligence can improve imaging processes used in the medical field. He will be moving to Technische Universität München. The two - along with the award winners selected in other fields of research - will be awarded the Humboldt Professorship in May 2020. Information regarding all the award winners and their research is available at

Germany’s most valuable research award

Alexander von Humboldt Professorships are financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The award comes with €5 million in funding for individuals conducting experimental research and €3.5 million for researchers working in theoretical fields. The award enables German universities to offer top international researchers competitive conditions for conducting research and to raise their international profiles in the global research market at the same time. To date, up to ten Humboldt Professorships have been awarded every year. Now, six additional professors can be recruited every year for the field of artificial intelligence. Only German universities are entitled to submit nominations for a Humboldt Professorship. Universities may however submit joint nominations with non-university research institutions.

Incorporate the societal, legal and ethical dimension of AI

“The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Professorship will support efforts being made to extensively explore and harness the opportunities AI offers for our future”, said Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Humboldt Foundation, adding that “this professorship will help strengthen Germany as an internationally attractive and influential location in this important field”.
Nominees for an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for Artificial Intelligence must not necessarily come from a technical field; researchers who investigate socio-economic, ethical or legal aspects of artificial intelligence may also be nominated.

We welcome the synergies that the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for Artificial Intelligence will generate in connection with DFG projects being funded through the Federal Government’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy.

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 29,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 55 Nobel Prize winners.


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