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Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Sofja Kovalevskaja Award 2018 for International Researchers

Deadline: July 31, 2018

The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award 2018 is now open for applications. Did you complete your PhD with outstanding results no more than six years ago and are now interested in pursuing an academic career in Germany? Then apply for the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award allows you to spend five years building up a working group and working on a high-profile, innovative research project of your own choice at a research institution of your own choice in Germany. The Humboldt Foundation plans to grant up to six Sofja Kovalevskaja Awards annually. The award is valued at up to €1.65 million.


The main scholarship benefits are as follows:

  • the price money of up to 1.65 million euros enables winners to set up an independent junior research group at a research institution in Germany
  • winners can concentrate on their innovative and high-level projects, free from any administrative constraints, for a period of five years


Requirements for applicants include the following:

  • international researchers from all countries and disciplines can apply
  • PhD with outstanding results
  • excellent academic track record demonstrated by an extensive list of independent academic publications
  • support from a host research institution in Germany


  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. Should it not be possible or customary to take a Ph.D. in your subject or country of origin, you may apply up to ten years after completing your Master’s or Diploma Degree provided that your publication record is commensurate with a Ph.D. and your current career stage.
  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 particularly 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. Two 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.
  8. Origin: Foreign academics staying in Germany are eligible to apply if they have lived outside Germany for a minimum of 12 months in total in the 18-month period prior to the application submission deadline. Educational residents are subject to the regulations governing Germans. German academics are eligible to apply if they have been working in an academic capacity abroad for a longer time. For more details please check with the FAQ.
  9. The Humboldt Foundation assumes that candidates will abide by the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and the legally-binding principles of scientific ethics during the application and sponsorship periods.


Submit an application if you are a successful top-rank junior researcher from abroad, only completed your doctorate with distinction in the last six years, and have published work in prestigious international journals or publishing houses.

Scientists and scholars from all disciplines may apply online 31 July 2018 to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

For more information, visit Sofja Kovalevskaja Award.