Humboldt Professorships at Universität Heidelberg

The Alexander von Humboldt professorship, worth up to five million euros, is the most highly endowed international research prize in Germany. It is awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and financed by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. The professorship enables worldwide leading academics from all disciplines working abroad to carry out cutting-edge research at German universities on a long-term basis.

With support through the professorship, the prize-winners are expected to make a sustainable contribution through their academic work to the international competitiveness of Germany as a research location. The prize money is intended to finance the first five years. Up to ten professorships are awarded annually, and from 2020 to 2024 another six are available in the field of artificial intelligence. After successful negotiations with the respective universities about the appointments, the awards are generally made in the following year.

Researchers Working at Heidelberg University at Time of Award

2022 • Joacim Rocklöv • Epidemiology and Public Health  

Heidelberg Institute of Global Health
Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing

As Professor for Artificial Intelligence, Swedish epidemiologist Joacim Rocklöv has been researching climate-sensitive infectious diseases at Heidelberg University since 2022. His Humboldt Professorship is a bridge professorship between the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health at the Medical Faculty and the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing. His professorship enables him to work on using methods of artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning and data science, in order to gain a new understanding of the spread of infectious diseases.

Before he was offered a professorship at Heidelberg University, Joacim Rocklöv was a senior lecturer, an associate professor and, from 2018, professor at the Department for Public Health and Clinical Medicine of Umeå University (Sweden). After earning his doctorate in 2010 he received the Young Researcher Award of Umeå University in 2012. For his research on environment-related arbovirus epidemics Joacim Rocklöv was awarded the Prince Albert II of Monaco – Institut Pasteur Prize in 2019. He collaborates in international research projects and advises international bodies and organisations as an expert in the field of epidemiology and climate change.

Porträt: Prof. Dr. Joacim Rocklöv

2020 • Francisco Moreno-Fernández • Linguistics

Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies

Hispanist and sociologist Francisco Moreno-Fernández – director of the Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies (HCIAS) and since 2019 Professor for Ibero-American Linguistic, Cultural and Social Studies at Heidelberg University – numbers among the most prominent international experts analysing relations between language and society. His pioneering role lies in a research area of linguistics that is receptive to social conditions and dynamics. During his Humboldt professorship at Heidelberg University he has united existing and new competences on Ibero-America at the academic and organisational level in HCIAS.

From 1996 the holder of a professorship at the University of Alcalá in Madrid (Spain), and before being invited to accept a professorship at Heidelberg, Francisco Moreno-Fernández was working at Harvard University (USA). There he directed the Instituto Cervantes and was responsible for the Observatory of the Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures in the United States. Visiting professorships took him, inter alia, to Brazil, Chile and Colombia. Besides receiving numerous other academic honours, he was appointed to the national academies for the Spanish language in Chile, Cuba, Mexico and Spain, as well as in North America. Since 2022 he has been a member of the Academia Europaea.

Porträt: Francisco Moreno-Fernández

2016 • Till Bärnighausen • Epidemiology

Heidelberg Institute of Global Health

Till Bärnighausen, whose interdisciplinary studies as an epidemiologist also embrace the fields of economics, statistics and demography, is the director of the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health and has held a professorship at Heidelberg University since 2016. As Humboldt professor, he expanded the former Heidelberg Institute for Public Health into a research-intensive Institute for Global Health – the first of its kind in Germany. Till Bärnighausen primarily works on the evaluation of health intervention and treatment programmes. Accordingly, he explores the impacts of large-scale medical interventions on population health, as well as on social and economic factors.

After studying medicine at Heidelberg University, Till Bärnighausen also gained his doctorate at Ruperto Carola. Postdoctoral research followed, for example at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, where he earned a doctorate in Population and International Health. In 2004 he transferred to the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa as an associate professor; since then he has collaborated with the Wellcome Trust Africa Health Research Institute. From 2009 he spent seven years in teaching and research as a professor at Harvard University in the United States.

Porträt: Till Bärnighausen