Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation:

Brief history

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation was established in Berlin in 1860 to memorialize Alexander von Humboldt (1789-1859), an outstanding German nature researcher, explorer, traveler, diplomat and statesman, considered the last European "universal scientist". Until 1923 it provided support for German scientists' research journeys to foreign countries. As a result of the global great inflation, the Foundation lost its capital and went bankrupt; it was re-established in 1925 with the aim of funding the stay of foreign scientists and doctoral students in Germany. In 1945, with the end of the German Reich, the Foundation practically ceased to exist.

On 10 December 1953, at the behest of the former Humboldt fellows, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany established the present Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (so called rechtsfährige Stiftung des privaten Rechts) with the headquarters in Bad Godesberg. Next year the first 75 research awards were granted. The network of fellows and laureates currently comprises over 26,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries worldwide, of whom nearly 1,300 are from Poland.

Aleksandra Krygier-Stojakowska was the first Polish academic who was awarded the HAF research fellowship after the Second World War (in 1959). Polish Humboldt fellows are the largest national group of Europe.

Since the very beginning of its operation, the AvH Foundation has been considered an elite patron of science due to the number and amounts awarded as fellowships and the quality of scientific guardianship. Before 1989, the Polish academics could establish international scientific contacts with the western countries mostly owing to the AvH Foundation. In the ranking of the number of annual research fellowships and awards, Poland held top positions at that time according to the Foundation's records.

The recent expansion of scholarship programmes offered by the European Union Member States, as well as by the USA, Canada and Japan has caused some decline in the number of academics interested in the Humboldt research fellowship and continuing of academic careers in German facilities. This improves the chances of candidates pursuing the Humboldt scholarship of having their applications approved. Another reason for applying for the Humboldt-Forschungsstipendium may be its amount (EUR 2,650 per month for postdoctoral researchers and EUR 3,150 for experienced researchers) in addition to a number of other benefits, either general (language fellowship for an intensive language course, travel expenses or a lump sump to cover return travel expenses) or individual, depending on the fellow's personal circumstances (family allowance etc.).

As each respectable organization, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation also has its website on the Internet, therefore there is no need to repeat the information included in it. Candidates can find here some of the most important information, resources and download form links necessary to register.

We invite you to view the more detailed presentation of the Societas Humboldtiana Polonorum made by professor Andrzej Więckowski.





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