Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers
Submit an application if you are a researcher from abroad with above average qualifications, completed your doctorate less than twelve years ago, already have your own research profile and are working at least at the level of Assistant Professor or Junior Research Group Leader or have a record of several years of independent academic work. A Humboldt Research Fellowship for experienced researchers allows you to carry out long-term research (6-18 months) in Germany. Applicants choose their own topic of research and their academic host. The fellowship is flexible and can be divided up into as many as three stays within three years.
Scientists and scholars of all nationalities and disciplines may apply to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation online at any time. The Humboldt Foundation grants approximately 500 Humboldt Research Fellowships for postdoctoral researchers and experienced researchers annually. Short-term study visits, participation in congresses and training courses cannot be financed.
Academics from developing and emerging countries may be eligible to apply for a Georg Forster Fellowship.
- Doctorate or comparable academic degree (Ph.D., C.Sc. or equivalent), completed less than twelve years prior to the date of application. If it is not possible or customary to take a doctorate in the candidate's subject or country, applications may be submitted up to twelve years after commencing publication activity;
- The candidate's own research profile documented by a comprehensive list of academic publications reviewed according to international standards and printed in journals and/or by publishing houses;
- Confirmation that research facilities are available and mentoring agreement and a detailed expert's report by an academic host at a research institution in Germany; details of the research outline including information on the intended duration of the fellowship must be agreed with the intended host before applying;
- Two expert reviews from important collaborative partners and/or academics from the candidate's own institute and, if possible, from abroad;
- Language skills: scholars in the humanities or social sciences and physicians must have a good knowledge of German if it is necessary to carry out the research successfully; otherwise a good knowledge of English; scientists and engineers must have a good knowledge of German or English;
- Applications to continue a research stay already underway can only be considered in exceptional cases. The applicant may not have spent an extended period in Germany prior to application. Potential applicants who have been in Germany for more than six months at the time of application are not eligible to apply;
- The Humboldt Foundation assumes that candidates will abide by the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and the ethical rules of the 7th EU Framework Programme during the application and sponsorship periods.
Applications may be submitted to the Humboldt Foundation online at any time. They should be sent at least four to seven months ahead of the prospective selection date.
The Humboldt Foundation will confirm receipt of the online application by email. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that he or she has submitted all the necessary documents.
After providing all the documents and receipt of the host’s statement and expert reviews, applicants will be notified about the proposed selection date. If there is any delay in submitting the host’s statement and the expert reviews, the entire application will take longer to process. The application documents will then usually be forwarded to two independent reviewers for written review. On the basis of these independent peer reviews a selection committee composed of about 50 academics from all disciplines reaches a decision on approving research fellowships. The selection committee meets three times a year, in March, July and November. If an application has been approved a fellow arriving from abroad may start the fellowship two months after the selection meeting at the earliest. Fellows must start their fellowships within twelve months of the selection meeting; otherwise the fellowship will be forfeited.
If your application is not approved, you may send an informal email requesting feedback to be sent to you and your host on the reasons for the rejection. This will usually follow approximately four to six weeks after the selection committee meeting.
It is not possible to appeal. However, applicants who have been rejected may submit a revised application provided that fundamental aspects of the original application have been manifestly improved.
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 monthly research fellowship: from invitations to events, via language courses to family allowances.
Once a Humboldtian, always a Humboldtian: Even after your 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:
I have worked in an English-speaking country for several years. Do I need an English language certificate?
It is either not customary or not possible to take a doctorate in my country of origin. Can I apply?
What determines the date of a doctorate?
Which date is valid if I have several doctorates?
I obtained my doctorate more than twelve years ago. Can I still apply?
My doctorate was completed less than four years ago. Can I apply for a fellowship for experienced researchers?
Will you take into consideration the time I devoted to bringing up my children?
I am from a developing/transition country. Should I apply for a Humboldt or Georg Forster Fellowship?
Do I need to know German in order to apply?
- Natural scientists and engineers: good knowledge of German or English is sufficient.
- Scholars in the humanities and social sciences: should have knowledge of German if it is necessary to carry out their research successfully. In this case, a German language certificate confirming proficiency must be submitted. Otherwise, a good knowledge of English is sufficient.
- Physicians: If the research involves work with patients, the candidate must have a good knowledge of German (language certificate required). Otherwise, a good knowledge of English is sufficient.
English or German is my native language. Do I have to submit a language certificate proving my proficiency?
I'm a physician (MD / Dr. med.). Are there any special admission requirements?
In addition, please read our Admission Questionnaire for Physicians (MD / Dr. med.) for detailed information.
If you have several research doctorates, the above mentioned FAQ on the subject of "several doctorates" applies.
I already am or recently have been in Germany. Are there any formal grounds militating against my application?
- you have been in Germany for less than six months at the time the Humboldt Foundation receives your application or
- you have returned from a stay in Germany of more than six months and have subsequently stayed abroad for more than twelve months at the time the Humboldt Foundation receives your application.
Candidates who have completed their school education and a university degree or a university degree and doctorate in Germany are subject to the regulations governing German citizens (see following FAQ).
In all other cases we regret that we cannot consider your application.
From December 1, 2011 onwards it is not possible anymore to apply during or immediately after a doctorate in Germany.
I'm German / educational resident. Can I apply if I'm working abroad?
- for more than 10 years or
- for more than 5 years, and your strong connections to your current country of residence can be deduced indubitably from one of the following criteria:
- You have a tenured position in your current country of residence abroad.
- You are in possession of a permanent residence permit issued by your current country of residence. Please note that a permanent residence permit which is based solely on your citizenship (e.g. EU-States) is no sufficient proof.
- You and/or your marital partner are a national of your current country of residence.
If in doubt, send us a seamless CV and list of your publications so that we can then advise you. Please state which of the criteria applies to you (info(at)avh.de).
* Educational residents are candidates who have completed their school education and a university degree or a university degree and doctorate in Germany.
Who can be my academic host?
How can I find an academic host?
We would like to draw your attention to the following search engines for hosts and research institutes:
We would also like to draw your attention to the open access part of the Network Online. This database features a large proportion of the Foundation's more than 25,000 academics sponsored worldwide. Here you can search for names, disciplines and keywords.
Can I conduct my research with two academic hosts?
Will my host institute receive any additional funds for the costs it incurs in connection with my research stay?
Please see the respective FAQ of the Department Sponsorship and Network.
Are there deadlines for submitting applications?
Selection committee meetings take place three times a year, in March, July and November. Applications should be submitted at least four to seven months ahead of the prospective selection meeting. If there is any delay in submitting the host’s statement and the expert reviews, the entire application will take longer to process.
A graphic display of the complete application process can be found under timeline of selection procedure.
Can I apply to several Humboldt Foundation fellowship programmes at the same time, or can I apply for a Humboldt Fellowship and the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award at the same time if I fulfil the formal requirements?
Can I apply for a fellowship from another institution at the same time I submit my application to the Humboldt Foundation?
Can I do part of my research work abroad?
Research stays in the fellow's country of origin or in a non-European country will, however, normally result in a temporary suspension of the fellowship.
Can I apply for a research fellowship for a period of less than six months?
Do I have to divide up my research stays strictly according to the model specified by the programme?
When do I have to start the fellowship period at the latest?
What is the value of the fellowship?
Will you pay the fellowship retroactively if I am already at the host institute at the time of being selected?
Is the intensive German language course part of my research fellowship?
When can I attend a language course?
Do I have to take a language course?
Who bears the travel expenses to and from Germany?
Can I bring my family?
How soon can I begin the fellowship period?
If you are coming from abroad, the earliest you may begin the fellowship period is usually two months (three months if you need a visa) after your application has been approved by the Selection Committee. If you are already in Germany, you can start at the beginning of the following month at the earliest.
Should my expert reviews be sent directly to the Humboldt Foundation or enclosed with the application?
What happens if expert reviews are submitted before the application is received?
Who should provide expert reviews for my application and how many expert reviews are required?
Which publications should I enclose with my application?
If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for printing, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.
May I include works that have not yet been submitted for publication in the list of key publications and the complete list of publications?
Exception: Your dissertation may be cited as a key publication even if you have not yet submitted it to a publisher. If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for printing, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.
What are key publications?
Please note that you cannot amend your selection of key publications once the selection process has begun.
How many key publications should I cite?
If you are applying for a fellowship for experienced researchers you must choose at least three key publications. You may cite a maximum of five. Surplus key publications will be removed from the list without notifying the applicant.
How should I explain why I have chosen a key publication?
Should my key publications also be cited in the complete list of publications?
Please note that it is not possible to amend the list of publications submitted to the Humboldt Foundation once the selection process has begun.