Humboldt Alumni Award for innovative networking initiatives 2013

For the fifth time this year, the Humboldt Foundation has granted awards to Humboldt alumni for initiatives designed to promote academic and cultural ties between Germany and their own countries, or strengthen cooperation in the respective countries and regions.
Three initiatives from Australia, Brazil and Egypt have been recognised this year as well as three additional ones from Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of the Neville Alexander Memorial Fund. They each receive 25,000 EUR. The funding for the initiatives from Australia, Brazil and Egypt is provided by the Federal Foreign Office; those from Sub-Saharan Africa fall within the German-South African Year of Science 2012/2013 and are financed by the Federal Ministry of Research (Humboldt Alumni Award to promote the African-German Network of Excellence in Science).
The award ceremony was held on 5 June 2013 during the Annual Meeting in Berlin.

Forum for the Study of Popular Culture

Randa Abou-Bakr’s networking initiative “Forum for the Study of Popular Culture” aims to establish a forum for research into popular culture which will provide resources and expertise for academics working in this field. The network seeks to create opportunities for individual researchers, research initiatives and those working in culture and the arts from the Arab region, Germany and other countries to share experiences.
The initiative will also generate opportunities for junior researchers from Egypt and the Arab region to travel to Germany for short periods of research. In the long term, the initiative hopes to develop an independent research centre with its own specialist library entitled to award degrees.

Randa Aboubakr
Photo: private

Prof. Dr. Randa Abou-Bakr
took her doctorate in Comparative Literature at Cairo University in 1998. From 2007 to 2009, she was a Humboldt Research Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin and the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. Since 2009, Randa Abou-Bakr has taught English and Comparative Literature in the Faculty of English and Literature at Cairo University.

Establishing a Humboldt Network in Ghana

The networking initiative “Towards the Establishment of an Effective Humboldt Network in Ghana”, submitted by agricultural scientist Samuel G.K. Adiku, seeks to help researchers to build their careers and apply for fellowships for a research stay in Germany. The initiative is faced by the challenge that application figures for Humboldt Research Fellowships have dropped significantly in Ghana and ever fewer junior researchers are taking doctorates. Thus the networking initiative aims to enhance the long-term quality of research and increase the number of qualified applications for Humboldt Research Fellowships. To achieve this, mentors are tasked with advising young scientists and scholars on their research work and publications. At monthly seminars the members of the network will have the opportunity to share their ideas and improve their networking.

Samuel G.K. Adiku
Photo: private

Prof. Dr. Samuel G.K. Adiku
took his doctorate in Environmental Science at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia in 1996. From 1997 to 1998, he was a Humboldt Research Fellow at Technische Universität Berlin. Since 2005, Samuel G.K. Adiku has taught Soil Science at the University of Ghana’s College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences in Legon, Accra. He is also the Director of the Academic Quality Assurance Unit. He has worked in an honorary capacity as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Ambassador Scientist in Ghana since 2010.

Developing an East African network in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics

Hamadi I. Boga’s initiative "A Network for Capacity Building in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics in Eastern Africa" aims to develop a German-African network in Biology. The network will help to familiarise researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa with the latest research methods and make them internationally competitive. Furthermore, Hamadi I. Boga would like to open up opportunities for junior researchers to cooperate with research institutions in Germany.
To achieve this, the members of the project want to develop collaborations with regional science organisations, expert associations and governmental organisations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia and consolidate their cooperation by intensive contact using social media.

Hamadi Boga
Photo: private

Prof. Dr. Hamadi I. Boga
completed his doctorate at the University of Konstanz in 2000. From 2005 to 2006, he had a Georg Forster Research Fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation and conducted research at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg. Since 2012, he has been the Director of Taita Tayeta University College at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Voi, Kenia. Hamadi I. Boga has worked in an honorary capacity as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Ambassador Scientist in Kenya since 2010.

“Dignitas Humboldt” – human dignity in Germany and Brazil: specialist network in philosophy and law

The aim of the networking initiative “Dignitas Humboldt” is to extend German-Brazilian-Argentinian collaborations in the Humanities. Draiton Gonzaga De Souza is thus founding a network involving philosophers and legal scholars which will focus on “human dignity”. In order to achieve visibility, an international, interdisciplinary specialist conference on human dignity will be organised.
In the context of the project a Dignitas Humboldt website will be created and language and regional studies courses will be offered which relate to Germany. De Souza also plans to set up an advisory centre for potential fellowship applicants, hold lectures on sponsorship opportunities in Germany and establish a seminar/working room for visiting researchers.

Draiton De Souza
Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
David Ausserhofer

Prof. Dr. Draiton G. De Souza
took his doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Kassel in1998. From 2003 to 2005, he was a Humboldt Research Fellow in the Hegel Archives at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB). Since 2005, he has been the Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil. De Souza was the President of the Porto Alegre Humboldt Club from 2005 to 2008 and has worked in an honorary capacity as one of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Ambassador Scientists in Brazil since 2008.

3rd national mentoring programme to promote young Australian researchers

Kay L. Double’s “Research Ambassadors and Mentoring Program (RAMP): A National Mentoring Scheme to Support Young Australian Researchers” aims to continue developing a national mentoring programme for young Australian scientists and scholars of all disciplines designed to help them achieve their career goals, and to disseminate information on Germany as a destination for research.
The mentoring programme was launched in 2010 as a collaboration between the Humboldt Foundation’s Alumni Association in Australia and the branch office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Sydney. It already has a growing database which brings together appropriate mentors and mentees. Kay L. Double is developing the programme into a sustainable, effective tool for junior researchers in Australia and for promoting Germany as a research location.

Kay L. Double
Photo: private

Prof. Dr. Kay L. Double
gained her doctorate at Flinders University, South Australia in 1993. From 1996 to 1997, she was a Humboldt Research Fellow at the University of Würzburg. Since 2012, she has been the Alumna Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Sydney’s Medical School. Kay L. Double has worked in an honorary capacity as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Ambassador Scientist in Australia since 2010.

Cross-border network on biodiversity research in South Africa, Namibia and Germany

South African Zoologist Heather G. Marco’s "Tri-Nations Network to Promote Modern Approaches to the Study of Biological Diversity: South Africa, Namibia, Germany" aims to rejuvenate research collaboration between researchers in South Africa, Namibia and Germany and to extend cross-border academic and cultural exchange between young academics from South Africa and Namibia. To achieve this, modern, interdisciplinary research methods in biodiversity research will be taught and opportunities will be created to exchange experiences at workshops, seminars and visits to each other’s institutes.
Furthermore, Heather G. Marco wants to publicise information on sponsorship opportunities in Germany within the network which those involved can then disseminate in their own personal and professional networks at a later stage. She hopes to generate many synergies in this way.

Heather Marco
Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
David Ausserhofer

Dr. Heather G. Marco
took her doctorate in Zoology at the University of Cape Town in 2000. From 2002 to 2003, she was a Humboldt Research Fellow at the University of Hamburg. Heather G. Marco has taught in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town since 2001 and has supported the Humboldt Foundation in an honorary capacity as an Ambassador Scientist in South Africa since 2011. In 2012, she also became the Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Association of Southern Africa.