Call for Applications: Sofja Kovalevskaja Award in Germany

Jun 01, 2017 • Views -

Sofja Kovalevskaja Award

Sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Sofja Kov AwardThe Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Sofja Kovalevskaja Award is granted to young, exceptionally-promising researchers in recognition of outstanding academic achievements. The award is designed to enable them to embark on academic careers in Germany by establishing their own junior research groups at research institutions in Germany. The award amount of up to €1.65 million will allow the winners to finance their own junior research group at the host institution of their choosing in Germany and cover their living expenses for a period of up to 5 years.

Applications are open until July 31, 2017. 

Scientists and scholars from all disciplines and nationalities who have completed their PhD with distinction in the last 6 years are eligible to apply. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation particularly welcomes applications from qualified, female junior researchers.

Award winners will be selected solely on the basis of their academic qualifications. There are no quotas for individual disciplines or countries. The most important assessment criteria are:

  • Academic publications in internationally reviewed journals and/or publishing houses
  • Statements on the candidate’s academic profile and potential in expert reviews, requested by the candidate, from different institutions and, where possible, from different countries
  • The academic quality and feasibility of the research project proposed by the candidate

Applications are assessed by independent peer reviewers appointed by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. An independent Alexander von Humboldt Foundation selection committee, composed of academics from all disciplines, selects up to eight award winners and determines the award amount. The award is conferred by the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation under the patronage of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Application Requirements

  1. Doctorate or comparable academic degree (Ph.D., C.Sc. or equivalent), completed with distinction less than six years prior to the application submission deadline.
  2. Career level: the award would enable the successful applicant to take on a leadership position (e.g. head of a junior research group) in Germany for the first time. Moreover, the applicant must not have held or accepted an offer of permanent employment in Germany. The relevant date is the date of the selection.
  3. Cutting-edge academic achievements documented by a comprehensive list of independent academic publications reviewed according to international standards and printed in journals and/or by publishing houses.
  4. Support of the German host institution, evidenced by a detailed expert’s report from the academic host as well as the host’s agreement and the confirmation from the administration at the host institution.
  5. Three supporting expert reviews from academics (at the applicant’s own institute or other institutes, where possible including some outside the applicant’s country of origin).
  6. Language skills: scholars in the humanities or social sciences and physicians must have a good knowledge of German if it is necessary to carry out the project successfully; otherwise a good knowledge of English; scientists and engineers must have a good knowledge of German or English.
  7. No previous Sofja Kovalevskaja Award.

Potential applicants who have been in Germany for more than six months at the time of the application submission deadline are not eligible to apply. Potential applicants of German nationality are eligible to apply, provided that their habitual place of work and residence has been located abroad on the assumption of permanence for at least five years. Potential applicants who have completed their school education and one university degree or one university degree and their doctorate in Germany are subject to the regulations governing German citizens. Visit the FAQs on the website for additional information.

Application Procedure

Applications must be submitted online and must reach the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Selection Department by July 31 annually.

Apply Now

Please review the application instructions. This submission deadline is not an absolute deadline; however, in the event of a late or incomplete submission it may not be possible to process and assess the application in the time available.

Visit the Programme Information PDF, FAQs, and information for the host on the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s website for more information on the selection procedure.

General Regulations and Obligations

The award recognizes the outstanding academic record to date as well as the personality of leading junior academics. It is thus understood that, both in their previous academic work and during the research stay in Germany, award winners have abided by and will continue to abide by the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and the corresponding laws at the respective research location. Should an award be granted, further details can be found in the Regulations on the Use of Funds here. Review the Rules of Good Practice here.

Sofja Kovalevskaja AwardAbout American Friends and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is the professional partner of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the United States, and is a U.S. 501(c)3 charitable organization. The Alexander von Humboldt FoundationSofja Kovalevskaja Award promotes academic cooperation between excellent researchers and other professionals from abroad and from Germany.

More Information

For more information, please visit the fellowship webpage or email

Not ready to apply this year? Bookmark the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award to your ProFellow account.