A physicist, a structural biologist, a neuroscientist and a mathematician have been selected to receive Germany's most valuable international research award. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is endowed with funding of up to Euro 5 million and is granted to eminent researchers of all disciplines who have been working abroad up to now. They are expected to conduct cutting-edge research at German universities on a long-term basis. The newly-selected award winners currently work in Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The award amount is earmarked for the first five years of their research in Germany. The Humboldt Professorship is granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The new award winners were chosen from a pool of seven nominated researchers from Belgium, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States:
- The physicist, Malte Gather from the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom, was nominated by the University of Cologne.
- Jens Meiler, structural biologist from Vanderbilt University, USA, was nominated by Leipzig University.
- The neuroscientist, Dietmar Schmucker from the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain and Disease Research, Belgium, was nominated by the University of Bonn.
- The mathematician, Enrique Zuazua from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and DeustoTech, Bilbao, Spain, was nominated by FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg.
A first selection round was held in April. These outcomes mean that a total of nine award winners will now embark on appointment negotiations with the German universities that nominated them. If the researchers accept the Humboldt Professorship, the award will be conferred in May 2019.
The Humboldt Professorship enables German universities to offer top international researchers competitive general conditions for research and to sharpen their own international profiles in the global research market at the same time. The award is granted on the precondition that the new Humboldt Professors are given long-term prospects for their research in Germany. To date, a total of 71 researchers, including 14 women, have been appointed to a Humboldt Professorship, facilitating their move to Germany.