Evaluation of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship – International Award for Research in Germany

On the basis of funding provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, since 2008, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has awarded up to ten Alexander von Humboldt Professorships to leading researchers of all disciplines from abroad every year.

With funding of €5 million for academics in experimental disciplines and €3.5 million for researchers in theoretical disciplines over a five-year period, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is the most valuable research award in Germany.

The programme aims to recruit excellent researchers who will remain in Germany long term, reinforcing the country as a research location and helping universities and research institutions to define or refine their strategic development as well as strengthening the connections between researchers in Germany and the international research landscape.

The evaluation of the award programme covers the period 2008-2015 and is based on qualitative and quantitative methods such as case studies, interviews, bibliometric analyses and an online survey of all the award winners and representatives of the universities and research institutions involved.

The results of the study clearly demonstrate that the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship promotes and strengthens internationality and top-level research at research institutions in Germany thanks to the flexibility it allows in the use of funds, its clear focus, efficient processing, and well-proportioned budget and duration.

The programme manages to recruit eminent international research stars whereby the Humboldt Professors often become central actors in building structures (centres) which cross-cut the universities’ traditional organisation into faculties. They promote prioritisation across area boundaries and academic disciplines and network closely with researchers both in Germany and in the international research community.

Apart from these and other findings, the final evaluation report also contains recommendations for the continued development and fine-tuning of the programme. The complete report as well as a summary of the results and recommendations is now available for download.

Further interesting results of the evaluation are available to download: