13 May 2020, No. 07/2020, updated on 1 July 2020

Scouting programme to bring sought-after scientists to Germany

With the new Henriette Herz Scouting Programme, the Humboldt Foundation will make it possible to directly recruit individuals for its fellowship programme.

What has long been practised in the business world and sport is also becoming increasingly important in the science field: scouting for individuals who offer a perfect match for the desired profile. With the launch of the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is establishing an alternative, direct route to a prestigious Humboldt Research Fellowship. It is to provide a model for directly recruiting talented scientists to come to Germany to conduct research.

Effective immediately, successful researchers in Germany can apply to be a scout in connection with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s new Henriette Herz Scouting Programme. Humboldt Scouts can bring up to three individuals of their choice from abroad directly to Germany with a Humboldt Fellowship in order to conduct research together.

The intention is to recruit highly sought-after researchers, such as individuals who work in fields that are in particular demand. At the same time, the share of women sponsored through the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme is to be increased. With an eye to this, the first of the three fellowships granted on the basis of a scout’s recommendation is to go to a female researcher.

First selections in December 2020

Scouts will be chosen by a selection committee in the course of a peer review process. The first selections will be made in early December 2020. Applicants should be a professor or hold a comparable executive position in Germany, exhibit excellence in their field, have good international connections, and show experience in supervising junior researchers. Applications may be submitted to the Foundation online at any time. Further information regarding applying online and about the programme can be found on the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s website.

Individuals who are chosen for a fellowship through the scouting process must meet the same quality criteria that apply to applicants to the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme. An ex-post evaluation of the research fellows sponsored through this programme will be conducted 12 months after the respective fellowship has been completed.

In addition to winning over experienced researchers who already have close ties to the Foundation to host Humboldt Fellows, the new programme is also setting its sights on younger researchers who have not been very active or active at all in the Humboldt network to date and hopes to bring them on board as hosts.

Henriette Herz Award

Parallel to the launch of the new programme, Henriette Herz Awards for innovative recruitment concepts will be granted on a one-off basis. Universities which have the right to confer doctorates in Germany and are conducting a pilot project for scouting excellent young international researchers may apply. A total of eight applications will be funded with up to €125,000 each.

The Henriette Herz Scouting Programme and the Henriette Herz Award are financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Who was Henriette Herz?

Henriette Julie Herz, author and organiser of the first literary salon in Berlin, was born in Berlin on 5 September 1764 and died there on 22 October 1847.

Together with her husband, Henriette Herz hosted regular gatherings to discuss scientific and philosophical subjects. The attendees, who included the von Humboldt brothers, came from various social strata. Henriette Herz is the embodiment of emancipation, networking, sharing ideas and information, and fostering talent. She and Alexander von Humboldt were lifelong friends.

Henriette Herz was born as Henriette de Lemos into an upper middle-class family on 5 September 1764. Her father was a doctor and served as the director of the Berlin Jewish Hospital. Going against the conventions of the time, he afforded his inquisitive daughter a broad education. Beginning in 1785, she hosted the first literary salon in Prussia. She inspired many other women to establish salons of their own.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 55 Nobel Prize winners.

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Further information