2020 Alexander von Humboldt Professorships: First Humboldt Professors for Artificial Intelligence showcased

Alexander von Humboldt Professorships specifically for Artificial Intelligence conferred for the first time in 2020. We present the award winners in video portraits.

In 2020, four top researchers from abroad are receiving Germany’s most valuable research award – the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship – which comes with up to €5 million in funding. The award winners include the first two Humboldt Professors for Artificial Intelligence, a contribution to the German government’s National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy.


The 2020 award winners:

  • Taking cues from the brain – How Artificial Intelligence systems learn: The neuroscientist Peter Dayan, Humboldt Professor for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Tübingen, will investigate learning to help better understand the theoretical foundations of Artificial Intelligence.
  • How nerve cells grow: Working along the interface between physics and medicine, Kristian Franze will study the mechanics of the nervous system as Humboldt Professor at FAU (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)..
  • Using AI to improve the detection of diseases: As the Humboldt Professor for Artificial Intelligence at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the computer scientist Daniel Rückert will be working to improve medical imaging so that it is possible to diagnose patients more accurately in the future.
  • Language as a reflection of society: Linguist Francisco Moreno-Fernández will be conducting research as a Humboldt Professor at Heidelberg University. His work will focus on the Spanish language and its social dimension.

Alexander von Humboldt Professor 2020: Peter Dayan

Alexander von Humboldt Professor 2020: Kristian Franze

Alexander von Humboldt Professor 2020: Daniel Rückert

Alexander von Humboldt Professor 2020: Francisco Moreno-Fernández

This year’s award ceremony with Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek which was originally scheduled to be held in Berlin in early May had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Humboldt Foundation awards up to ten Alexander von Humboldt Professorships every year to eminent researchers of all disciplines who have been working abroad to date. The recipients are expected to conduct cutting-edge research at German universities on a long-term basis. Moreover, six additional Humboldt Professors specifically for the field of Artificial Intelligence can be recruited every year to come to Germany. Nominations may be submitted at any time. Alexander von Humboldt Professorships each come with €5 million in funding for individuals conducting experimental research and €3.5 million for researchers working in theoretical fields. In addition to the candidates’ outstanding scientific and academic qualifications, the decisive factors in the selection process are the concepts developed by the universities that will offer the researchers and their teams long-term career prospects in Germany. Alexander von Humboldt Professorships are financed by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Further information, photos and video portraits on the award winners are available at www.humboldt-professur.de.


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