Corona pandemic

The Humboldt Foundation wants to help slow down the increase in the number of Corona cases and support the Network by answering your questions. Planned events have been cancelled or postponed. The funding sector continues to operate. On this page we have pooled information on how to deal with the new Coronavirus.


Dear Humboldtians,
Dear Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation,

The Corona pandemic is turning our lives upside down. Schools, universities and research institutions are closing down, public life in Germany is grinding to a halt and people across the world are increasingly being affected.

Our thoughts at this time are with all Humboldtians, who are currently our guests in Germany and are experiencing these exceptional circumstances together with us.


FAQ relating to your sponsorship and planning your research stay


The events that have been cancelled include the colloquium due to take place in Cameroon on 19 March 2020, the Award Winners’ Symposium in Bamberg, the Network Meeting in Cologne in April as well as the award ceremony for the Alexander von Humboldt Professorships, scheduled to be held in Berlin in May.

The funding sector continues

With a few exceptions, the funding sector will continue to operate as usual during this period. Sponsorship applications will continue to be processed and reviewed. Alternatives will be found for meetings usually involving attendance. Selection procedures that require potential fellows to travel from other countries, such as the selection of German Chancellor Fellows, will, where possible, be replaced by decentralised meetings. International guests, who do not want to risk flying at the moment, were recently able to participate in the Philipp Schwartz Forum in Berlin via a video link.

“I am very much looking forward to the time when we in the ‘Humboldt Family’ will all be able to get together again.”
Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General of the Foundation

The Humboldt Foundation is sadly unable to accept any new applications for certain alumni sponsorship measures until further notice. We cannot predict when the existing travel restrictions and diverse constraints at universities and research institutions as well as in everyday life will be relaxed or lifted.

We are currently working on the assumption that, in 2020, it will not be possible to implement the following sponsorship measures:

  • Europe research stays
  • renewed research stays,
  • participation in specialist conferences,
  • short visits to other research institutes and
  • Humboldt Kollegs.

Thank you for your understanding for these temporary limitations. They are, above all, in the interests of your safety.

Humboldt Foundation will respond to the situation flexibly

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will respond to the situation flexibly and comply with the guidelines issued by the responsible authorities.

Sponsorship-recipients in Germany and future fellows should consult their contact person at the host institution or at the Foundation if they have any questions.

Dealing with the crisis is an opportunity for changing our way of thinking

The Foundation’s President, neurophysiologist Hans-Christian Pape sees the current situation − despite all the difficulties it presents − as an opportunity for science and its relationship with society and the political sector.

“In the case of global climate change, it took a long time until the warnings from the science community were taken seriously. And too little has been undertaken to date to effectively and sufficiently slow global warming – also due to national interests. The extremely rapid and drastic course that the current corona pandemic is taking clearly shows that different and more decisive action is necessary”, Pape said.

“The corona crisis is a wake-up call: it is international cooperation − not national egotism − that brings solutions − in science and in politics.”
Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Foundation

“The corona crisis is a wake-up call: it is international cooperation − not national egotism − that brings solutions - in science and in politics”, Pape stressed, noting that the current crisis also offers the opportunity to change the way we think. “The willingness to change one’s own behaviour and to show solidarity is growing. The political sector and science community are holding intensive consultations and the general public is informing itself about what virologists and doctors are recommending. Considerations regarding, for instance, individual countries making exclusive use of vaccines are being emphatically rejected, at least in Germany. What we learn here must be put to use for how we deal with crises in the future”, underscored Pape.

The Humboldt Foundation’s international and interdisciplinary research network wants to help meet the medical, social and economic challenges arising from the corona crisis, he said. The Humboldt Foundation will do everything it can to support its network in this connection.

Restricting encounters for the good of all

“The Humboldt Network is all about mutual support and the well-being of everyone. The best way of ensuring this well-being at present is to reduce travel and face-to-face contact. But I am very much looking forward to the time when we in the ‘Humboldt Family’ will all be able to get together again,” says Enno Aufderheide, the Foundation’s Secretary General. 

Information on current developments

For the latest developments regarding Corona cases in Germany and Europe, sponsorship-recipients can consult the following platforms:

  • Latest information (in German) and general information (in English), including legal issues, from the Federal Ministry of Health.
  • General information and a current risk assessment by the Robert Koch Institute can be found here.
  • For answers to FAQs on symptoms and hygiene measures from the Federal Centre for Health Education visit this page. For information in English, scroll down to the last third of the page.