Georg Forster Research Fellows in portrait

“Forget your self-doubts and apply, you young researchers from developing countries! Your chances are much better than you think!”

Hyacinthe Ondoa

Photo:
picture alliance/dpa

Hyacinthe Ondoa is a Germanist and cultural historian at the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon. His field of research is contemporary German literature and his special field is the literature of the German Democratic Republic. Ondoa is interested in the question of how a society’s literary canon develops – why, for example, certain literary texts land in textbooks while others don’t. In order to answer these questions, he chose the Global and European Studies Institute of Leipzig University for his stay in Germany, where he worked together with his host Matthias Middell. His findings help him better understand how cultural values and notions of what makes life meaningful develop in a globalised world.

Hyacinthe Ondoa was a research fellow at Leipzig University from 2011 to 2013.
 

“This fellowship offers a wonderful opportunity to conduct research in Germany, make advances in one’s own work and get to know the greats in your field.”

 Haja El-Khozondar
Photo: private

Hala El-Khozondar is a physicist at the Palestinian Islamic University of Gaza. Her speciality field is electrooptics. Her research covers a broad spectrum and is aimed at developing technical solutions for the world of tomorrow. For example, Hala El-Khozondar and her team are working on innovative optical fibres for faster data transmission and on optical sensors for more precise diagnosis of diseases. She has had to overcome a lot of resistance: Not only in her male-dominated field but also in her own family. Despite this, she followed her own path which led her to Technische Universität München (TUM) at the invitation of Alexander W. Koch. Even today, Hala El-Khozondar enthuses about the hospitality she met with there, the enriching discussions, the first-class infrastructure – and the reliable electricity supply. “I was accustomed from home to having power outages”, the researcher reports. “Even today we still have to work in the dark quite often.”

Hala El-Khozondar was a research fellow at Technische Universität München from 2008 to 2009.
 

“Once your fellowship is over, you are a Humboldt Alumnus and can apply for further funding. This helps research in poorer countries.”

 Tsegare Gedif Ayele
Photo: private

Tsegaye Gedif Ayele is Assistent Professor of Mathematics at Addis Ababa University in the capital of Ethiopia. His research interest revolves around partial differential equations (PDEs). PDEs are used in the mathematical modelling of physical processes such as the thermal conductivity of substances. This could benefit many areas in the natural and engineering sciences. While at TU Kaiserslautern, Tsegaye conducted not only basic research. Working together with his host René Pinnau in the Technomathematics Group he also gained knowledge in industrial mathematics. In collaboration with Pinnau he plans to develop a graduate programme in this field for Addis Ababa University. Today Tsegaye encourages his young researchers to apply for a fellowship: “Research conditions are ideal in Germany.”

Tsegare Gedif Ayele was a research fellow at TU Kaiserslautern from 2012 to 2013.
 

“At my host institute I had access to the latest specialised literature and to recognised experts in my field – this enriched my research work enormously.”

Maria Böhm
Photo: private

María Laura Böhm comes from Argentina and is a jurist and sociologist. Her special fields are criminology, international criminal law and human rights. At the Institute of Criminal Law and Justice at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen she investigates, together with her host Kai Ambos, the part business enterprises have in international crime and human rights violations in Latin America. With this study, Maria Laura Böhm aims to establish a basis for legislative amendments that will provide better protection, particularly for the poor in Latin America. She was awarded a return fellowship by the Humboldt Foundation in February 2014 and is now conducting research at the Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires.

María Laura Böhm was a research fellow at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen from 2011 to 2013.
 

“Outstanding working conditions and a trusting, supportive atmosphere make my research in Berlin a pleasure.”

 Hamid Taheri Shahraiyni
Photo: Nikolaus Brade

Hamid Taheri Shahraiyni is an environmental scientist from Shahrood University of Technology in Iran. He developed a computer programme that can be used to generate a coherent overall picture from patchy data. Together with Sahar Sodoudi, who heads the Urban Climate working group at the Institute of Meteorology at Freie Universität Berlin, the Iranian researcher wants to refine and further develop his method. His aim is to be able to generate small-scale forecasts of the spread of pollutants. Urban planners as well as people with health problems could benefit from this. Hamid Taheri Shahraiyni sees the greatest need for such a programme in the polluted megacities in the world’s transition countries.

Since January 2014, Hamid Taheri Shahraiyni has been a research fellow at Freie Universität Berlin.
 

“I had the chance to strengthen my career prospects and widen the scope of my scientific thinking.”

 Amina Saied
Photo: Kristina Güroff

Amina Sirag Saied is an agricultural scientist at the Department of Horticulture at the University of Khartoum in Sudan. As a researcher she is interested in how plants respond to stress. She wants to find plants that will grow and survive in the dry, saline soils of her native country. Working together with colleagues from the Institute for Organic Plant Production and Agroecosystems Research in the Tropics and Subtropics at the University of Kassel, she has been able to show that certain perennial wild fruit trees are particularly well-suited for this. During her fellowship, Amina Saied attended an international deans’ course aimed at providing deans from Africa training in university management. This was fortunate for her, she says today, because immediately after she returned to Sudan she was appointed head of her institute.

Amina Saied was a research fellow at the University of Kassel from 2007 to 2008.
 

Texts: Lilo Berg