Fraunhofer-Bessel Research Award
Scientists and scholars from all non-European countries, who completed their doctorates less than 18 years ago, who are internationally recognised for their achievements in the field of applied research, and who in future are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements which will have a seminal influence on their discipline beyond their immediate field of work, are eligible to be nominated for a Fraunhofer-Bessel Research Award.
Award winners are invited to spend a period of up to one year cooperating on a long-term research project with specialist colleagues at one of the Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany. The stay may be divided up into blocks.
The Humboldt Foundation and the Fraunhofer Society for the Advancement of Applied Research jointly grant up to three Fraunhofer-Bessel Research Awards annually.
Nominations may be submitted online by the heads of institutes or senior academics at institutes belonging to the Fraunhofer Society. Nominations may also be initiated by award winners of the Humboldt Foundation working abroad, provided that the nomination is made jointly with a colleague working at a Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. Direct applications are not accepted. The award is valued at €45,000.
- The nominee must be recognised internationally as an outstanding researcher in his/her field of applied research (e.g. awards, positive responses to publications, etc.).
- Expectation that the nominee will continue to produce cutting-edge achievements which will have a seminal influence on the discipline.
- Doctorate or comparable academic degree, completed less than 18 years prior to the date of nomination.
- Main place of residence/work outside Europe.
- Nomination by the director or senior academics at an institute belonging to the Fraunhofer Society.
- Detailed expert opinion by the nominators.
- The Humboldt Foundation assumes that candidates will abide by the Rules of Good Scientific Practice during the application and sponsorship periods.
Nominations may be submitted online to the Humboldt Foundation at any time.
The Humboldt Foundation will confirm receipt of the online nomination by email. It is the nominator’s responsibility to ensure that he or she has submitted all the necessary documents.
Subsequently, the nomination documents will usually be forwarded to independent peer reviewers for written review. On the basis of these independent peer reviews a selection committee composed of approximately 22 academics from all disciplines will decide on the submitted nominations.
The competition between nominations is independent of discipline. There are no quotas for countries, research areas or the gender of the nominated individuals. The Committee makes its decision based exclusively on the nominated researchers' academic qualifications.
Selection criteria include:
- Previous outstanding academic achievements,
- Individual recognition as especially qualified applied experts in their field who have already shaped their discipline,
- A well-founded expectation of future outstanding achievements that will have an impact beyond the nominee's immediate research area.
The Selection Meetings take place twice a year – currently at the beginning of spring and in the early autumn of each year.
Nominees will be notified about the Selection Committee's decision immediately after the meeting.
In the event that a nomination is rejected, our colleagues in the Selection Department will provide information on the competitive situation and the selection criteria on request.
One of our hallmarks is the degree of support we try to provide for every single guest researcher. This is why we offer you extra benefits in addition to the award amount: from invitations to events to language courses.
Once a Humboldtian, always a Humboldtian: Even after your initial research stay has come to an end, we shall still maintain close contact with you. Our alumni sponsorship is flexible and designed to support every Humboldtian’s particular path in life and development as well as collaborations between individuals.
This programme is financed by the:
For how many years after his or her doctorate can a candidate be nominated?
What determines the date of a doctorate?
Which date is valid if the nominee has several doctorates?
Will you take into consideration the time devoted to bringing up children?
Who is entitled to nominate a candidate?
Is there an age limit for nominees?
Can academics from any academic discipline be nominated for a research award?
Is an academic eligible to be nominated for a research award if he or she has already received an award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation?
Academics who have already received a (research) award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation are not eligible for another nomination.
All Alexander von Humboldt Foundation alumni are eligible for alumni sponsorship measures. If you are unsure whether alumni sponsorship or a nomination would be more appropriate, please contact us at: info(at)avh.de
May I nominate a candidate who has already stayed or is currently staying in Germany?
Can a German national be nominated?
Can I nominate an academic who does not hold a doctorate?
Are roughly the same number of awards granted to men and women? Is priority given to either a male or female nominee if both candidates are considered to be equally qualified and suitable?
What is the sum of the award?
How is the award amount paid? Does the nominee need a German bank account for this purpose?
For the payment of further instalments, award winners are asked to open an account at a bank of their choice as soon as possible after arriving in Germany, and to provide the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with their account number, bank address and bank code.
The research award is granted in recognition of the academic achievements and the personality of the award winner and may only be claimed by the award winner personally. Similarly, payment of the award amount may also only be made to the award winner personally and exclusively. Claims to the award may not be transferred.
Is the award amount subject to taxation?
However, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation would like to point out that according to German tax law, awards are not usually subject to income tax in Germany if they are primarily granted in recognition of the award winner's lifetime achievement or entire academic work, personality, convictions, or function as a role-model. This is precisely the intention of the Humboldt Foundation in granting the research awards which honour the entire life's work of award winners in their capacity as internationally outstanding researchers.
Tax law in the award winners’ home countries or countries of residence may contain special regulations on the taxation of awards. If in doubt, a tax accountant in the award winner's own country should be consulted.
Will you confirm receipt of my nomination?
Is there a required format for the list of publications?
What will happen to the nomination documents after the selection procedure has been completed? Will they be destroyed or archived, and will they be treated confidentially?
Are there deadlines for submitting nominations?
When does the Selection Committee meet?
Will you sponsor participation in German language courses?
Who will review my nomination?
Who will decide on my nomination?
Who is on the Selection Committee?
The Selection Committee consists of academics and researchers of all disciplines and a smaller number of members who are not associated with any specific discipline (e.g. representatives of the funding institutions). The Selection Committee decides jointly on all submitted nominations. An award is granted if two thirds of the Committee members vote in favour of application nomination and sufficient financial resources are available. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has no vote on the Selection Committee.
The experts in each discipline are expected to be internationally established, have a broad understanding of their discipline and experience of serving on committees. For each new or additional appointment, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation creates suggestion lists in consultation with the respective predecessors on the Committee and other experts in the same or related disciplines, and integrating recommendations from the German Research Foundation (DFG). The order in which the suggested academics are listed is determined by the President of the Humboldt Foundation. Appointments are confirmed by the Foundation's Board of Trustees. The term of office is initially three years; it can be extended twice by reappointment.
The total number and distribution of experts across disciplines in the committees depends on the average number of received nominations and their distribution across disciplines. New appointments replacing departing experts or to add disciplines not previously represented are based on the following factors:
- Academic qualification,
- A balanced age structure,
- A balanced gender ratio,
- Balanced regional distribution of experts, including academics from abroad
Please refer to the following link for a list of Selection Committee members for the allocation of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation research awards: https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/selection-committee-awards.html
Will the nominee be notified about his or her nomination?
What are the most important selection criteria?
Will the nominee be notified of the outcome of the selection procedure?
Can I re-nominate a researcher whose nomination was not successful?
Acceptance of the Award / Use and Provision of Award Funds
How soon after the selection decision can the research stay begin?
Does the nominee have to complete his or her stay in one go, or can it be divided up?
May the award winner teach at the host university during his or her stay, or is it strictly a research stay?
Will travel costs be covered?
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation can only cover the costs of one return journey, regardless of the number of trips to and from Germany.
A lump sum towards the travel costs of marital partners and children under the age of 18 accompanying the award winner may be granted if they stay with the award winner in Germany for at least six months. Fifty per cent of the lump sum will be paid for children between the ages of two and eleven, ten per cent for children under the age of two. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will not cover any additional expenses for the transportation of luggage.
Do I have to file a report after completion of the research stay?
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation also asks academic hosts in Germany to report on their experiences in their cooperation with award winners. These reports are very important and revealing for the foundation, because foreign guests often observe with a keener eye and are able to make more balanced judgements due to their greater critical distance. The reports are analysed carefully and confidentially. In addition, they can help the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to continue improving its programmes and make them as effective as possible.