Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

No donor specified

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is a charitable foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany for the promotion of international cooperation in research. It allows foreign scientists research stays in Germany and supports the ensuing academic and cultural links.

Foundation office of the Humboldt Foundation in Bonn -Bad Godesberg, where the Foundation also maintains a 1965/66 designed by Erich Schneider -Wessling guest house.


The first, named after Alexander von Humboldt Foundation was established soon after the death of the naturalist, 1860 in Berlin. The initiative came from Gustav Magnus, who also ensured the financing. They first supported research expeditions German scientists abroad, but lost in inflation after 1923 their entire capital.

1925, the Foundation at the instigation of the Foreign Office was newly established and supported henceforth foreign scientists and graduate students during their studies in Germany. With the collapse of the German Empire they had to cease their activities in 1945 once again.

On April 1, 1953, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn was again revived. Since then, the Foundation more than 24,000 scientists from around 130 countries has promoted, including 44 Nobel Prize winners. She is responsible for foreign, mostly young visiting scientists from all disciplines during their research stays in Germany by the Federal Foreign Office. Particular attention is given to the promotion of contacts between alumni and the German scientists. Through the work of the Foundation created an active network of scientists around the world.

The Foundation is a member of the Alliance of German Science Organisations, an informal association of German research organizations. The Berlin office is located in the Science Forum Berlin.

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The Foundation awards the Humboldt Research Award to deserving foreign scientists. Since 2002, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awards every two years the Sofia Kovalevskaya Prize. The Foundation awards since 2008 continues the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, containing 3.5 and 5 million euros the most highly endowed research award in Germany. The Humboldt Foundation also manages the Wolfgang -Paul Foundation, from the Wolfgang Paul lectures are funded.

President since 1953

  • Werner Heisenberg (1953-1975)
  • Feodor Lynen (1975-1979)
  • Wolfgang Paul (1979-1989)
  • Reimar Lüst (1989-1999)
  • Wolfgang Frühwald (1999-2007)
  • Helmut Schwarz (since 2008)

Secretaries-General of the Foundation

  • Manfred Osten 1995-2004
  • Georg Schütte 2004-2010
  • Enno Aufderheide since 2010

Major award winners and fellows of the Foundation

  • Rudi van Eldik, chemists
  • Laszlo Solyom, Hungarian President 2005-2010
  • Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy of the United States, Nobel Prize in Physics 1997
  • Subra Suresh, Director of the National Science Foundation
  • Alice P. Guest, president of Lehigh University and Science Envoy of the U.S. government
  • Chi -Huey Wong, President of the Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • Álvaro Rojas Marín, former Chilean ambassador in Germany
  • Lado Chanturia, former Minister of Justice of Georgia and former President of the Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Claudio Magris, Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2009
  • Giulio Angioni, writer and ethnologist
  • Ahmed Zewail, Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1999, Science Envoy of the U.S. government
  • Wolfgang Ketterle, Nobel Prize in Physics 2001
  • Theodor Hänsch, Nobel Prize in Physics 2005
  • Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize for Economics in 2009
  • Kazimira Danute PRUNSKIENE (* 1943), Lithuanian politician, former Prime Minister of Lithuania
  • Oliver Williamson, Nobel Prize for Economics in 2009
  • Ei-ichi Negishi, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2010
  • Theresia Degener, an activist of the German disability movement and 1981 instrumental in the implementation of the cripple tribunal.