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Humboldt in Europe: Researcher Mobility on an Enhanced Scale

Final Report Summary - HERMES (Humboldt in Europe: Researcher Mobility on an Enhanced Scale)

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is a well-established national funding organization with longstanding expertise in managing fellowship programs for highly qualified researchers based on individual-driven trans-national mobility. The Foundation's client-friendliness and post-scheme network support have set benchmarks in the past. High standards of excellence and open competition are combined with professional management. Having already successfully participated in the COFUND scheme in 2009, the Foundation continues to strive to make its fellowships even more attractive to excellent scientists and researchers while seeking to exploit synergies between national and European funding programs to enhance training, mobility options and life-long career development of researchers in Europe.
Along with the implementation of the European Charter for Researchers as well as the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, and in accordance with the Foundation's Implementation Protocol, Community cofunding has boosted the Foundation’s existing, highly successful Georg Forster Research Fellowship Programme for excellent scientists and researchers from developing countries and emerging economies. By increasing the number of incoming fellows from 47 in 2013 to 98 in 2014 and 86 in 2015 (in 2016 and 2017 no further fellowships were awarded under HERMES), and by providing for social security coverage and additional social benefits, European funding has helped the Foundation to offer even more attractive fellowships, allowing the incoming fellows to enjoy the highest possible degree of freedom regarding the chosen field of research, host institution, and duration of the research stay, while at the same time being covered by a maximum of social security.
The Georg Forster Research Fellowship Programme funds research stays in Germany for researchers with above average qualifications from developing and emerging countries. It is a requirement that the research includes aspects that are important for the continued development of the fellows‘ home countries or regions of origin. Fellows must contribute to the exchange of knowledge and methods between Germany and their country of origin.
The Georg Forster Research Fellowship Programme addresses fundamental problems concerning the development of economically poorer countries. Universities and research institutes in several of those countries suffer from an acute shortage of scientific capacities. This shortage limits those countries’ abilities to reach and maintain the scientific potential that is indispensable for successful economic and social development.
The Georg Forster Programme has had multiple positive effects. More than 90% of the fellows return to their home countries, and a majority of them work in academic positions comparable to associate or full professorships. 96% of them use methods in their research and teaching which they learned during their research stays in Germany. 75% act as multipliers and disseminate research results with development aspects across politics, the media and civil society.


Number of Fellowships in the Georg Forster Research Fellowship Programme:
Before Community co-funding:
2012: 41
2013: 47

After HERMES Community co-funding:
2014: 98
2015: 86
(no further fellowships were awarded under HERMES in 2016 and 2017 in order to make sure that all fellowships are completed before the end of the project in 06/2018)
Additional benefits for HERMES fellows selected between February 2014 and October 2015:
• Subsidy towards pension plans:
Since the start of the HERMES project, Georg Forster HERMES research fellows have been able to for a subsidy of up to 200 EUR to secure their personal pension plan in Germany or abroad provided that they contribute an equal amount.

• Bridging grant:
Additionally, under the COFUND action fellows being sponsored for more than 12 months (without interruption) have been eligible to apply for a bridging grant of up to 6 months (12 months after 24 months sponsorship) to cover a gap until their next regular income in case they stay in Germany after their fellowship. This subsidy replaces unemployment benefits provided in regular German working contracts.

• Child bonus:
Under the COFUND action, an additional child bonus of 400 EUR for the first child and 100 EUR for each additional child is paid according to the new German Parental Benefit Act (“Bundeselterngeldgesetz”).

• Subsidy towards the cost of professional childcare or extension due to childcare:
In case of childbirth, the Humboldt Foundation is able to continue paying the fellowship amount during the sponsorship period in line with German maternity regulations. A fellow may apply to interrupt the research fellowship for up to 18 months due to maternity, parental leave or childcare for children under 12 during the sponsorship period. In order to combine career and family duties, under COFUND fellows coming to Germany with their children can also apply for either an extension due to childcare of up to 12 months to take care of their children under 12 during the sponsorship period or a subsidy towards the costs of professional childcare by a third party.

List of host institutions:
cf. attached pdf file

Project website: