Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation


The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation presents approximately 20 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Awards annually to internationally renowned academics from abroad in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments in research. The award is named for German astronomer and mathematician Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784 – 1846) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Eligible for nomination are researchers whose outstanding academic qualification is internationally recognized and can be demonstrated through corresponding successes in research. Nominees must moreover offer a well-founded expectation of future outstanding academic achievements that will have a lasting impact on their discipline beyond their immediate research area. The individual nominated must additionally meet the following criteria:

  • The nominated individual must have gained her/​his doctorate no more than 18 years ago. An exception to this rule may be made where justified (e.g. in the case of career breaks to raise children).
  • The nominee may not previously have received an award from the Humboldt Foundation for her/​his academic work.
  • The nominee must have lived and worked outside Germany for over five years at the time of nomination.
  • The nominee must not yet have entered permanent employment in Germany at the time of selection.

To Apply

Nominations for a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award may be initiated by established researchers at research institutions in Germany. Humboldt Foundation award winners working abroad are also eligible to submit nominations jointly with a researcher working in Germany.

For details of the nomination process please see the web page Information for nominators for the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. As soon as we receive all the necessary documents, we will confirm receipt of the nomination bye-mail and initiate the review process. All information will of course be treated as strictly confidential. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us (info[at] We are happy to help.

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