25 April 2016, No. 06/2016

Invitation to the Alexander von Humboldt Professorships award ceremony in Berlin on 3 May

Six award winners from abroad will each receive up to €5 million and soon conduct research in Bielefeld, Bonn, Halle/Leipzig, Karlsruhe, Munich and Münster.

Germany’s most valuable research award, the 2016 Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, will be awarded in Berlin on 3 May. With this award, the Humboldt Foundation singles out researchers from all disciplines who have worked abroad to date and are leaders in their fields. The three women and three men receiving this year’s Alexander von Humboldt Professorships were nominated by German universities and research institutes. They are expected to develop at their host institutions teams and structures that can compete at international level.

The awards will be presented by State Secretary Cornelia Quennet-Thielen from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Helmut Schwarz.

Award ceremony
Tuesday, 3 May 2016, 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:00 p.m.)
Venue: Hauptstadtrepräsentanz Deutsche Telekom AG,
Französische Str. 33 a-c, 10117 Berlin

The introductory programme prior to the ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a walkabout to the Humboldt Professors and the information stands of their respective host institution, with Helmut Schwarz und State Secretary Quennet-Thielen from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

It is permitted to film, photograph and make audio recordings. 
Advance video material and photographs are available at: www.humboldt-professur.de/en/mediathek.

Interviews with the award winners can be arranged for Monday, 2 May, or the day of the award ceremony, 3 May. 

The award winners at a glance:

  • William Crawley-Boevey, Pure Mathematics: A penchant for particularly tricky questions: representations of so-called quivers - directed graphs - are Crawley-Boevey’s area of expertise in the field of algebra. While at the University of Bielefeld he will strengthen mathematics research in this field and all areas of the representation theory of algebras. Crawley-Boevey previously conducted research at the University of Leeds.
  • Tiffany Knight, Ecology: Bee mortality and the endangerment of plant diversity: the interplay between plants and their pollinators, and the reason for the decline in biodiversity are topics that drive Knight. She has moved from Washington University in St. Louis, USA, to Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ in Leipzig, and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig.
  • Katrin Kogman-Appel, Jewish Studies: Images and books in the Middle Ages: how does beauty become part of text culture? And what do pictures tell us about relations between Jewish and other cultures?  Austrian-born Kogman-Appel will strengthen scientific and academic exchange between the world cultures at the new Institute for Jewish Studies at the University of Münster. She has left her adopted country Israel to take up this task in Germany.
  • Judith Pfeiffer, Islamic Studies: Understanding Islam: Islam is not only a religion but also a culture. Using annotated editions of key works of the Middle Ages, Pfeiffer aims to make the intellectual history of the pre-modern Mongol empires more accessible and additionally put the spotlight on current debates. She is currently located at the University of Oxford; the Humboldt Professorship will take her to the University of Bonn.
  • Wolfgang Wernsdorfer, Experimental Solid State Physics: Tiny, magnetic ‒ and useful for controlling electronic circuits: nanomagnets are the focus of Wernsdorfer’s research. Using molecular magnets he plans to take the next step at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in the direction of quantum computers. He previously worked at the Institut NEEL, CNRS, in Grenoble, France.
  • Andreas S. Schulz, Applied Mathematics: From waiting rooms to warehouses: mathematic algorithms can make many processes found in industry and commerce more efficient. Schulz conducts research on how mathematical principles and theories can be put to optimal use in industry/commerce. He previously worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA, before switching to TU Munich where he took up his Humboldt Professorship in 2015.

Alexander von Humboldt Professorships are financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The award comes with €5 million in funding for individuals conducting experimental research and €3.5 million for researchers working in theoretical fields. The award money is to be used to fund the first five years of their research work in Germany.

Please send applications for accreditation, together with a copy of your valid press card, by e-mail to presse(at)avh.de or by fax using the application form by 12 noon on 29 April 2016.

Contact on location:
Georg Scholl, Tel.: 0160-97245344 and Lena Schnabel, Tel.: 0160-97287564 

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 27,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 52 Nobel Laureates.


Kristina Güroff
Lena Schnabel
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-455/-144
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Georg Scholl
Head of
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441