2018 Humboldt Alumni Award for Innovative Networking Initiatives

For the tenth time, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is recognising innovative networking ideas submitted by Humboldtians abroad. The successful proposals all involve Humboldt alumni working to reinforce academic and cultural links between Germany and their own countries as well as promoting cooperation in the respective regions.

Each Humboldt Alumni Award comes with up to €25,000 and is funded by the German Foreign Office. The award ceremony was held on 27 June 2018 at the Humboldt Foundation’s Annual Meeting in Berlin.

This year’s successful initiatives were proposed by Humboldtians from Chile, Ethiopia, Indonesia and the United States.


Yalemtsehay Mekonnen
Photo: private

With her Network of female academics and researchers in Ethiopia, Yalemtsehay Mekonnen has specifically set her sights on women researchers at Ethiopian universities. Recently, the country has invested significantly in its higher education sector and in training its students. The focus of activities in the country’s alumni network is capacity building in research and teaching for female junior researchers. The members of the network act as contacts for women academics in the natural sciences, health sciences, agriculture and engineering as well as in the humanities. Experienced Humboldtians support the younger mentees with discussions and advice.

Georg Forster Research Fellow Yalemtsehay Mekonnen is Professor of Cell and Human Physiology at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.


Claudio Llanos Reyes
Photo: private

With his Network for the study of contemporary social and political issues in Europe and Latin America: discussing and comparing our problems and responses (http://redlae.org/en/), Claudio Llanos Reyes is building a specialist network of historians, sociologists and economists focusing on the current social and political challenges facing Europe and Latin America. The members of the network swap perspectives: whilst those from Latin America investigate Europe’s historical experiential landscapes, European participants concentrate on the so-called “Third World”, especially Latin America, since the 1970s. Since that time, profound changes and rifts have emerged in western societies. As part of the networking initiative, two conferences involving numerous junior researchers will take place in Chile as well as smaller meetings and workshops.

Georg Forster Research Fellow Claudio Llanos Reyes is Professor in the Department of History at Pontificia Universidad Católica in Valparaíso, Chile.


Leenawaty Limantara
Photo: private

In her ASEAN Urban Network: Understanding the Urban Society Leenawaty Limantara addresses growing urban societies worldwide. Urban development has engendered a new type of society: the urban society. Along with these come multidimensional social, economic, infrastructure and urban planning challenges. Thanks to Limantara’s initiative, multi-disciplinary specialist collaboration will be strengthened between Humboldtians in the ASEAN states and colleagues from Germany, who will also help to promote future generations of Humboldt research personalities. The network will communicate at online meetings, workshops, summer schools and international conferences. Part of the initiative will also involve developing an online platform as a research database and pool for ideas.

Georg Forster Research Fellow Leenawaty Limantara is the Rector of Universitas Pembangunan Jaya in Tangerang Selatan, Indonesia.


Robert McMeeking
Photo: private

With his Virtual Humboldt Cluster on the Mechanics and Physics of Adhesion and Grip – MePAG, McMeeking is launching specialist collaboration in materials sciences amongst scientists at leading research institutions in the United States, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hungary and France. The cluster is conceived as a low-threshold platform to integrate young researchers at an early stage in their careers and introduce them to the Humboldt Network. The members of the network will be actively involved in workshops and symposia, short-term scientific exchanges and joint publications. Moreover, efforts will be made to scout for opportunities to integrate other interested parties, particularly women researchers, in the network.

Humboldt Research Award Winner Robert McMeeking is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California in Santa Barbara.