Humboldt Alumni Award for Innovative Networking Initiatives 2012

For the fourth time now, the Foundation was honouring projects designed to promote academic and cultural relations between Germany and the Humboldt alumni’s own countries, or consolidate cooperation in their respective countries or regions. The three awards are worth 25,000 EUR each and were presented on 20 June 2012 during the Annual Meeting in Berlin.
The projects selected for the 2012 Humboldt Alumni Award for innovative networking initiatives are:

Gender and agricultural sciences in Nigeria

The aim of Olanike Deji’s networking initiative “Gendered Agriculture in Humboldt (GAH) Network for Sustainable Food Security and Development in Nigeria” is to help utilise the potential of Nigerian women academics and their gender perspective on issues such as food security and the alleviation of poverty to better effect.

The initiative therefore seeks to promote the academic careers of female agricultural scientists in Nigeria and improve their international networking. The award funding will, for example, be used to finance a specialist journal in which junior researchers can publish their research results. In order to ensure that more Nigerian women academics can benefit from the Humboldt Foundation’s funding and networking programmes, seminars will be offered on writing fellowship applications in addition to online guidance on research proposals and online German language courses.

Olanike Deji
Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
D. Ausserhofer

Dr. Olanike Deji
gained her doctorate in the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, Nigeria, in 2002. From 2009 to 2011, she received a Georg Forster Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and conducted research at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. Dr. Deji has taught at Obafemi Awolowo University since 1995, and is currently an associate professor.

Mathematics network in Cameroon

Mathematics are the foundation of large parts of our lives – this is the conviction that underlies Mama Foupouagnigni’s plan to establish an “African-German Network in Mathematical Sciences and Applications”. The network is to be publicised to a wider audience at an international mathematics symposium that will take place in Cameroon in 2013. To promote networking, a seminar room will be set up at the University of Yaoundé I for teaching, research and as a workplace for guests. The initiative is to have its own website, and an online database containing mathematics teaching materials and examination questions is to be compiled for use by students and teaching staff at the universities. Alongside African Humboldtians, German academics will also be involved in the initiative.

Mama Foupouagnigni
Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
P. Himsel

Prof. Dr. Mama Foupouagnigni
has been an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics at the Higher Teachers' Training College of the University of Yaoundé I in Yaoundé, Cameroon, since 2006. He completed his Habilitation in 2006 at the University of Kassel in Germany, where he had previously conducted research as an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellow from 2001 to 2002. Prof. Foupouagnigni has been working in an honorary capacity as an Ambassador Scientist for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and as the President of the Humboldt Club Cameroon since 2008.

Transatlantic promotion of junior researchers in the field of electronic materials

Matthew Allen Grayson aims to set up a transatlantic "Electronic Materials Gateway Network" in the field of engineering sciences. The purpose of his initiative is to spark the interest of young talents and junior researchers in the USA and Germany in research careers in these subjects. The award amount will facilitate reciprocal visits between faculty researchers from the USA and Germany; with their lectures broadcast live to graduate and undergraduate audiences at all participating research institutions. In addition, a total of three students studying for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the USA and Germany are to be given the opportunity to spend eight weeks conducting research for their final papers in the respective other country.

Matthew Grayson
Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
P. Himsel

Dr. Matthew Grayson
gained his doctorate in electrical engineering at Princeton University, USA, in 1998 and has been teaching electrical engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University in Illinois, USA, since 2007. From 2000 to 2002, he conducted research at TU München, supported by a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.