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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 (BMUB) International Climate Initiative. The fellowships target prospective leaders from non-European transition and developing 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. The programme thus drives the development of long-term contacts and collaborations 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 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, 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 organisations.

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 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 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
  • Language fellowship
  • Lump sum for travel expenses
  • Europe allowance
  • Family allowances for visits by family members
  • Allowances for single parents accompanied by children
  • Extension of the fellowship
  • Extensive alumni funding

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).

To begin your application, visit the application page at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s website

For more information, visit the official website of The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation International Climate Protection Fellowship for young climate experts from developing countries