6 October 2016, No. 24/2016

Winning institutions in the Research Alumni Strategy competition announced

Ten institutions to receive up to €100,000 each

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has singled out four universities and six non-university research institutions for their Research Alumni Strategies. The universities of Düsseldorf, Münster, Siegen and Tübingen, the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Pfinztal near Karlsruhe, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research , the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung in Frankfurt am Main and the Berlin Social Science Centre will each receive up to €100,000 to fund their work. The awards are financed with funding provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The winning institutions want to develop professional structures for their Research Alumni work with the help of a wide array of instruments: the ideas range from conferences on cross-disciplinary and specialist topics to the networking alumni in social media all the way to mentoring and training programmes and travel grants. In addition, collaborative research activities are to be expanded and cooperation with regional partners in the industrial sector is to be intensified.

A total of 35 universities and non-university research institutions submitted concepts for how they can maintain, cultivate and use their contacts to their international alumni who conducted research in Germany in the past and are now continuing their research work abroad.

This year marks the fifth time the competition is being conducted. In this round previous winners could also compete to receive funding to organise a Research Alumni meeting abroad. Winners in this category are: RWTH Aachen, Freie Universität Berlin, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association , Berlin, the University of Bonn, University of Hanover, University of Constance and Technische Universität München. Each will receive €40,000.

“Research alumni play an important role for German universities and research institutions abroad”, says Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. “These successful researchers with their experience conducting research in Germany are living proof that research in the ‘land of poets and philosophers’ is really worth it for one’s career. Universities that recognise this, that maintain ties to their research alumni and put them to targeted use will benefit when recruiting the best postdocs and when initiating collaborative research activities and strategic partnerships”, noted Aufderheide, adding, “We thank the Federal Ministry of Education and Research that it enables this strategically important project in connection with international research marketing”.

Since 2011, a total of 36 universities and research institutions have made winning submissions to the Alumni Strategy competition held by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Research Alumni Strategies competition was also open to universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) for the first time during the last round.

The Research Alumni Strategies competition is part of the International Research Marketing project that is being jointly conducted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the German Research Foundation and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is part of the Research in Germany initiative. Further information is available at www.research-in-germany.org and www.forscher-alumni.de.

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 54 Nobel Prize winners.


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Georg Scholl
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