28 May 2015, No. 11/2015

New Alexander von Humboldt Professors selected

Four researchers ‒ three women and one man ‒ from abroad to receive Germany’s top international research award in 2016 and conduct research in Saarbrücken, Halle, Münster and Bonn in future.

A Computer scientist and an Ecologist from the USA, a Jewish Studies scholar from Israel and an Islamic scholar from Great Britain have been selected for an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, Germany’s most valuable international research prize which comes with up to five million euros in funding for each recipient. It is awarded to internationally leading researchers from all disciplines who have worked abroad to date. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship aims to put them in a position to conduct cutting-edge research at German universities for a longer period: The award money is earmarked for their first five years of research in Germany. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The newly selected award winners were chosen from a total of 11 nominees ‒ six women and five men ‒ from the USA, Great Britain, France, Canada, Israel and Switzerland.
The winners will now enter into appointment negotiations with the universities that nominated them for the award. Winners who accept the Humboldt Professorship will receive the award in May 2016:

  • The Computer scientist Sariel Har-Peled (43), currently at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, was nominated by Saarland University.
  • Tiffany Knight (40), Ecologist and environmental researcher at Washington University, St. Louis, USA, was jointly nominated by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ in Leipzig.
  • Katrin Kogman-Appel (56) is professor of Jewish Studies at the University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel, and is to conduct research at the University of Münster in future.
  • The Islamic scholar Judith Pfeiffer (50) currently conducts research at the University of Oxford in Great Britain and was nominated by the University of Bonn.

The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship gives German universities the chance to offer top international researchers competitive conditions and long-term prospects for working in Germany; it also enables the universities themselves to sharpen their profiles in the international arena.
The award requires the universities to offer the new Humboldt Professors long-term prospects for conducting research in Germany. To date a total of 46 researchers, including seven women, have accepted a Humboldt Professorship and have, as a result of the award, made the move to Germany.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 26,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 51 Nobel Prize winners.

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