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Climate Protection Fellowship for Young Climate Experts @ Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation, Germany [20 Fellowships, Rs. 1.80 L]: Apply by March 01: Expired

About the Fellowship

With the International Climate Protection Fellowships, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables prospective leaders in academia and industry to implement a research-based proposal in the field of climate protection or climate-related resource conservation during a one-year stay in Germany.

Up to 20 International Climate Protection Fellowships are granted annually, funded under the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety’s (BMU) International Climate Initiative.

The fellowships target prospective leaders from non-European transition and developing countries (see a list of countries). Candidates draw up their own research-based proposal which they then implement in collaboration with a host in Germany.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation runs the programme in cooperation with the Federation of German Industry (BDI), the Centre for International Postgraduate Studies in Environmental Management (CIPSEM) at TU Dresden, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Renewables Academy AG (RENAC).

Programme objectives

The global challenge posed by climate change can only be met by cross-border international collaborations. By enabling future decision-makers and multipliers to share knowledge, methods, and techniques with specialist colleagues in Germany the programme promotes this objective, particularly by taking account of issues relating to practical applicability in the fellows’ own countries.

In the spirit of Agenda 2030 and the related Sustainable Developments Goals, the programme seeks to contribute to the achievement of these goals by fostering prospective leaders with their undertakings and projects to combat climate change, to develop and implement adaptation strategies, to preserve ecosystems and biodiversity and to foster the sustainable use of the oceans and seas.

Furthermore, it addresses sustainability topics relating to natural resources, resource-efficient consumption, and urban development. The programme promotes the development of long-term contracts and collaboration with colleagues in Germany.

Target group

Those applying for this programme must be working in the field of climate protection or climate-related resource conservation; they should have proven leadership skills, which must be convincingly demonstrated in the application and supported by appropriate references.

In addition to applicants with a background in the natural and engineering sciences, candidates who have been engaged in legal, economic, health-related and societal issues relating to climate change are encouraged to apply for this programme.

Application requirements
  • First university degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent), completed less than 12 years previously, counting back from the end of the application period (1 March 2019)
  • Leadership skills demonstrated by initial experience in leadership positions and/or appropriate references;
  • Extensive work experience (at least 48 months at the time of application) or a successfully completed doctorate in the field of climate protection or climate-related resource conservation;
  • Scientific publications (for post-doctoral applicants) in peer-reviewed journals according to international standards;
  • A detailed statement by a host in Germany, including a mentoring agreement; details of the proposal must be discussed with the prospective host prior to application;
  • Citizenship of a non-European transition or developing country (see list of countries) which is also the applicant’s habitual residence and place of work;
  • Very good knowledge of English and/or German, documented by appropriate language certificates;
  • Two expert references by individuals qualified to comment on the candidate’s professional, personal and, if applicable, academic eligibility as well as his/her leadership potential.
Selection criteria
  • Academic and professional career to date (mobility, determination, expertise, academic success);
  • Leadership skills (initial experience in leadership positions and/or appropriate references);
  • Quality, originality, and relevance of the research-based proposal (convincing selection of methods, clear focus, and feasibility, relevance to climate protection or climate-related resource conservation, the viability of both the host institution chosen and the concomitant communication strategy;
  • Future potential (further development in academia and industry, career prospects).

In the case of post-doctoral researchers, it is not only leadership skills that are crucial but also the assessment of the candidate’s academic qualifications (quality of the key publications cited) as well as the academic potential of the proposal to drive innovation in the specialist field.

Graduates who are interested in completing postgraduate studies, a doctoral dissertation or a training period in Germany should apply to the programmes offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) or other funding organizations.

Fellowship specifications

The monthly fellowship amount – depending on career stage –is €2,150 or €2,450 for fellows without a doctorate and €2,650 for postdoctoral researchers. This includes a mobility lump sum and a contribution towards health and liability insurance.

Common programme activities allow fellows to gain an overview of specialist topics and important players in the fields of climate protection and climate-related resource conservation. The following mandatory timetable is designed to facilitate networking amongst the fellows

January, February 2020:intensive German language course (optional)
March 2020:introductory seminar at several locations in Germany
April 2020 – February 2021:work on research-based projects
June 2020:Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Annual Meeting, including a reception held by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany in Berlin
Autumn 2020:two-week study tour
January/February 2021:final week, including a reception held by the leadership of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building, and Nuclear Safety

 Fellowships may be extended by up to three months.

Additional benefits
  • Allowance for research costs amounting to €800 per month for research-based proposals in the natural and engineering sciences and €500 for proposals in the humanities and social sciences;
  • Language fellowship for a one- to two-month intensive German language course in Germany immediately prior to the fellowship. When a fellowship has been granted, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation may provide financial support for improving fellows’ existing German language skills while they are still in their own countries. Fellows with little or no knowledge of German are strongly advised to take a two-month intensive language course in Germany;
  • Lump sum for travel expenses if the costs are not borne by a third party;
  • Europe allowance for a maximum of one to two months spent researching at an institution in another European country during the fellowship provided that this is necessary to carry out the research-based project in question;
  • Family allowances for visits by family members staying at least three months (up to €326 per month for the marital partner and up to €240 EUR per month for each child);
  • Allowances for single parents accompanied by children under the age of 18 who are staying at least three months (€400 per month for the first child, €100 per month for every additional child);
  • Extension of the fellowship by up to three months if children under the age of 12 accompany the fellow to Germany;
  • Extensive alumni funding after successfully completing the initial stay in Germany, especially support for networking with collaborative partners in Germany during the fellow’s entire career.

Prospective applicants who have been in Germany for more than six months at the time of the application deadline are not eligible. Applicants who have been in a country that is not on the relevant list of countries for more than 12 months are requested to contact the Humboldt Foundation (info@avh.de) before submitting an application as they may be ineligible on formal grounds.

Applicants who have already received sponsorship from the Humboldt Foundation in the form of a fellowship or award are not entitled to apply to this programme but should turn to the appropriate alumni sponsorship programmes. Those sponsored in the context of the International Climate Protection Fellowships are excluded from applying for other fellowships offered by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Application procedure

Applications must be completed online. The completed application form including all the necessary additional documents must be submitted by the closing date for applications (1 March 2019). Additional information on online applications, all the documentation required and access to the online application procedure can be found on the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s website (click here). Immediately after submitting the documents, the applicant will receive a confirmation.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all the necessary documents have been submitted. Incomplete applications may be excluded from the selection procedure.

The proposed host in Germany should send his/her confidential statement directly to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation by the closing date at the latest.

After reviewing the applications, an independent selection committee will decide, probably by the beginning of July 2019, which candidates will be invited to participate in a selection meeting in Germany lasting several days. The committee is composed of academics and practitioners working in the relevant fields.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation usually also obtains independent peer reviews for post-doctoral applicants. The selection meeting will take place from 10 to 13 September 2019 and applicants will be given the opportunity to outline their proposal to the selection committee and the other applicants as well as to attend individual interviews held by the selection committee.

The selection results will be announced at the end of the meeting. Further information on the selection procedure can be found in the FAQs on the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s website.


Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Selection Department
Jean-Paul-Str. 12
53173 Bonn, Germany
Fax: 0228-833 212

For official notification, visit here.

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