The Humboldt Research Fellowship for researchers of all nationalities and research areas: We support you – postdoctoral and experienced researchers – with your research in Germany.
Through the Humboldt Research Fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation sponsors researchers with above-average qualifications from across the globe. As a fellow, you will benefit from individual support from the Humboldt Foundation and our diverse sponsorship portfolio.
What we offer
The Humboldt Research Fellowship enables you to conduct your own research at various stages of your career in collaboration with a host at a German research institution of your choice. Hosts may apply for a subsidy towards research costs.
Benefit from research sponsorship in Germany at the beginning of your academic career. The Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers enables you to conduct research in Germany. The monthly fellowship amount is €2,670. Fellowships may last from 6 to 24 months.
You can still apply for research sponsorship in Germany even if you are already well advanced in your academic career. The Humboldt Research Fellowship for experienced researchers enables you to conduct research in Germany. The fellowship amount is €3,170. Fellowships may last from 6 to 18 months and can be divided into up to three stays within three years.
In addition to the fellowship amount, you will also receive personal support throughout your sponsorship. You are flexible in determining when you would like to start your fellowship. Prior to your research fellowship, you and your marital partner will be able to attend an intensive language course.
Further financial support, including family benefits for children and marital partners, subsidies for private full health insurance and allowances for travel expenses, is also available.
We stay in contact even after your research stay has come to an end. Our alumni sponsorship measures flexibly support every Humboldtian’s individual journey through life, in both their careers and their future research collaborations. A return fellowship or later visits to Germany are also possible.
You must meet the following criteria
The Humboldt Research Fellowship addresses post-doctoral researchers with above-average qualifications from across the globe – regardless of their field.
Did you complete your doctorate – or equivalent academic qualification – during the last four years? Or are you within six months of submitting your doctoral thesis and can already provide a written summary of your findings? Have you been published in academic journals and by publishing houses that are reviewed according to international standards? If so, and if you fulfil the criteria under the “What is required of you” section, apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers.
Did you complete your doctorate – or equivalent academic qualification – during the last twelve years? Is your academic profile substantiated by an extensive list of publications in academic journals and by publishing houses that are reviewed according to international standards? If so, and if you fulfil the criteria under the “What is required of you” section, apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship for experienced researchers.
If a doctorate in your field or country of origin is not possible or uncommon, you can still apply up to 16 years after completing your master’s or other postgraduate degree provided that you have a publication record commensurate with your career level.
What is required of you
You must fulfil the following criteria to successfully apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship.
You are not a German national. If you are a German national, or if you obtained your university entrance qualification and university degree, or your university degree and your doctorate, in Germany, you can apply if you have lived and worked abroad for more than ten years and intend to continue doing so long-term. Have you lived and worked abroad for more than five years? You can still apply if there is a strong connection to your current country of residence (permanent employment, additional citizenship etc. – see FAQs).
For your application to be successful, you may not have lived in Germany for longer than a total of six months within the 18-month period prior to submitting your application.
If you have arrived in Germany recently you should submit your application as soon as possible, as we can only assess your eligibility and formally accept your application after it has been submitted.
A researcher from an academic institution of your choice in Germany will provide you with a mentoring agreement and written confirmation that research facilities are available, and will compile a detailed review for you.
You can provide two expert reviews.
Postdocs: Your doctoral supervisor and one other researcher – outside of your institute, if possible – should provide well-grounded information on your qualifications.
Experienced researchers: The reviews should be provided by important collaborative partners and/or researchers at your own institute as well as other institutes – outside your country of origin, if possible.
Natural sciences and engineering: You must have a good knowledge of German or English.
Humanities, social sciences and medicine: You must have a good knowledge of German if this is necessary for conducting your research successfully. Otherwise, good knowledge of English will suffice.
You must abide by the rules of good scientific practice (PDF) and the principles of scientific ethics.
You may not apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship if you have already received sponsorship from the Humboldt Foundation. In such cases, our alumni programmes are open to you.
How to apply
If you would like to apply for the Humboldt Research Fellowship, please submit the necessary documents to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation online only.
If you have any doubts or questions, please contact us (info[at]avh.de) before submitting your application. We are happy to help.
What we need from you
Please note that you may only submit your application once you have uploaded the following documents in the application form:
- curriculum vitae (two pages max)
- research outline ( five pages max)
- complete list of your publications (cf. sample list, PDF)
- list of selected key publications (cf. sample list, PDF)
- key publications
- doctoral certificate or proof that your doctorate has been completed successfully, or confirmation that this will be the case within the next six months
- German language certificate, if required
- if required: publisher’s acceptance notifications and/or acknowledgement of receipt and summaries/translations of key publications that are not available in German or in English
- In addition: host’s statement and confirmation that research facilities are available, as well as two expert reviews. Please note that these documents can only be uploaded in a protected area by the host(s) and expert reviewers personally. You can only submit your application once these documents have been uploaded. Further information and explanations can be found on the application form.
As soon as we have received your online application, we will send you written confirmation by email. After reviewing your documents, we will notify you of the expected selection date.
The Selection Committee responsible for reviewing applications to this programme meets every March, July and November. Please send your completed application form, including any additional documents required, well in advance of the desired selection date. Applications are usually processed within four to eight months. Incomplete or inaccurate applications take longer to process and often have to be postponed to a later Selection Committee meeting.
The deadline for meeting certain formal conditions – in particular those relating to limitations on career stages and previous stays in Germany – is the date on which we receive your application.
If your application is successful, you may begin your fellowship between two and twelve months after being selected.
If your application is unsuccessful, we may provide you with the reasons for our decision. Please request this information informally by email. You and your host will receive a letter with the outcome of your application approximately five weeks after the decision is made. Decisions cannot be appealed. You can, however, re-apply if you significantly improve crucial aspects of the rejected application. In the case of unanimously rejected applications, you must unfortunately wait a minimum of 18 months before re-applying.
The selection procedure
|Application||Processing 4-6 weeks||Review process approx. 4 months||Selection Feb./Mar., June/July, Oct./Nov.|
The decision to award research fellowships is taken by a selection committee consisting of 60–70 researchers from various fields. The committee’s decision is usually based on two independent peer reviews that evaluate your personal academic credentials. The assessment is based on the following selection criteria, depending on your career level:
- academic career and academic record to date (mobility, determination, thematic scope, academic productivity)
- quality of the key publications named in the application (originality, innovativeness, evaluation of your own contributions to publications involving several authors)
- originality and innovative potential of your proposed research (significance for the further development of the subject area, convincing selection of scientific methods, potential for scientific development, clear focus and feasibility within the requested sponsorship period, viability at the host institute)
- your future potential (academic potential, personal development, career prospects, e.g. professorial appointment)
- your independent research profile (for experienced researchers)
In past years, an average of 25 to 30 percent of applicants received fellowships.
All the best for your application!
Questions & answers
On this research fellowship programme, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation cooperates with various private partners. Together, we aim to recruit highly qualified researchers for a research stay in Germany. The application, selection and sponsorship processes in programmes that involve private collaborative partners are conducted in accordance with the established procedure and guidelines of the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme. In many cases, the privately co-financed fellowships include additional offers, such as visits to the collaborative partners, invitations to events or facilitating contacts.
If you are interested in such fellowships, please sign the corresponding declaration of consent in the application form. You will be informed as to whether the Humboldt Foundation has been able to admit you to one of the collaborative programmes in the award letter.
- Bayer Science & Education Foundation
- Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation
- Charité Foundation (no additional new awards)
- Joachim Herz Foundation