Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung / Foundation

Our Work

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation sponsors top-flight foreign scientists and scholars who come to Germany on research fellowships and research awards to spend longer periods of time working with German colleagues.

Humboldt Research Fellowships and Humboldt Research Awards are highly respected all over the world. It is something special to be a Humboldtian. That is why the Alexander von Foundation supports each and every Humboldtian individually and flexibly – to ensure that the fellows and their families feel at home in Germany and are able to concentrate on their work.

Once a Humboldtian, always a Humboldtian. Even after their time in Germany has come to an end, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation stays in close contact with its alumni, and operates numerous alumni sponsorship programmes for this purpose. The fellowships granted by the Foundation to enable junior German researchers to collaborate as guest scientists and scholars with Humboldtians abroad allow both the host Humboldtians and their German guests to benefit equally from the Foundation’s network.

Our Perspectives

Today more than ever, research is international and subject to fierce competition between research locations. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is therefore constantly improving its offers for globally sought-after researchers in order to attract the very best scientists and scholars and thereby strengthen research in Germany. To this end the Foundation collaborates with various partners in marketing Germany internationally as a location for research, and continues to expand its cooperation with the European Union as well as its research and mobility programmes. On the basis of its traditional strengths as well as new ideas and initiatives the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation contributes to making Germany a leading destination for the international academic elite.

Furthermore, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supports international cultural dialogue as a long-term policy for peace and security by making use of its network of understanding. The Foundation’s responses to specific regional and political requirements include a programme tailored to the needs of researchers from threshold and developing countries, initiatives for Central and Eastern Europe and for European-Islamic cultural dialogue.

Both in its marketing research in Germany and in the political dimension of its work the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation makes use of its greatest capital: the worldwide network of Humboldtians with its many representatives who hold not only important scientific posts but also leading and influential political positions.

Our Roots

Mutual understanding coupled with academic freedom and excellence have remained the organisation’s guiding principles to this day. With Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) as a model, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation maintains an international network of academic cooperation and trust connecting more than 25,000 Humboldtians throughout the world, among them 48 Nobel Laureates.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and a number of national and international partners. The Foundation’s annual budget in recent years has ranged from 90 to 100 million euros.

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and India

Since 1953, the Foundation has granted research fellowships to 1,727 scholars and scientists from India, and 22 research awards.

78.4% of these researchers are natural scientists; a further 16.5% of Indian Humboldtians conduct research in the engineering sciences, while 5.2% are humanities scholars or social scientists. The Indian alumni network is one of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s largest and currently comprises approximately 1,200 Humboldtians who live in India, many of whom are active in self-founded alumni associations. There are today over 100 Humboldt Associations in approximately 70 countries; India alone is home to 16 Humboldt Associations. All of them are actively involved in the development of the Humboldt Alumni network of academic excellence.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation maintains a long-term presence and holds various events in India, among them the “Indo-German Frontiers of Engineering” symposia organised in cooperation with the Department of Science. The aim of these multi-day specialist conferences is to bring together young researchers from both countries at highest academic levels. The conferences are held alternately in Germany and India.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Ambassador Scientists disseminate information about Germany as a research location at universities and research institutions in Germany and abroad, focusing particularly on the Foundation’s sponsorship programmes and international network. In India, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is represented by two Ambassador Scientists, i.e. Professor Dr. Rekha Vaidya Rajan (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi) and Dr. Amol A. Kulkarni (National Chemical Laboratory, Pune).