Georg Forster Research Fellowships: reports by former fellows
The Georg Forster Research Fellowship awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for post-doctoral researchers and experienced scientists from developing countries and emerging economies offers flexible research stays in Germany. Two Georg Forster Fellows explain why such programmes have long-lasting consequences.
Ask Bolivian post-doctoral pharmacist and biochemist Nora Medrano Mercado for a tip for scientists who want to conduct research in Germany, and she'll quite simply say 'Apply for a Georg Forster Fellowship!' Nora Medrano was a Georg Forster Research Fellow herself from 2004 to 2005, working with scientists at the Ruhr University Bochum in her specialist area of medical parasitology during her stay. 'I would encourage researchers from developing countries to apply for a Georg Forster Fellowship in order to develop their scientific projects in a research institution in Germany in coordination with an academic host.'
Flexible research with the Georg Forster Research Fellowship
Nora's recommendation sums up the basic prerequisites for the Georg Forster Research Fellowship, which is awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. It is specifically aimed at post-doctoral researchers and experienced scientists from developing countries and emerging economies. The research project they intend to carry out should be linked to developing their home country as well as contributing to a long-term exchange of scientific findings and methods with German partners. Georg Forster Fellows choose the scientific hosts for their research projects in Germany themselves. They also have flexibility regarding the length of their stay, ranging from six months to two years. Experienced scientists can work at a German research establishment for up to 18 months, with the possibility of up to three stays within a three year period. Applications are open to researchers from all disciplines in the natural sciences, engineering and the arts.
Successfully winning a fellowship
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awards up to 80 Georg Forster Research Fellowships every year, with approximately one third of all applications being successful in recent years. One such successful application was that of post-doctoral biochemist Victor Kuete from Cameroon, who was researching medicinal plants for treating cancer at the University of Dschang. As a Georg Forster Fellow, he has worked at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz during a total of three research stays between 2012 and 2014. His advice for any researchers who might be interested: 'A strong research background, a well-designed research project and good publication output in reputable international journals are the key to success for Georg Forster Fellowship applications.'
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's Georg Forster programme
Are you interested in a Georg Forster research fellowship? If so, you can find the facts and apply directly on the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's website.
International researchers join forces against serious diseases
Nora Medrano is Professor and researcher of the Biology Department at the San Simón University in Cochabamba. For her, the Georg Forster research fellowship is a unique opportunity to collaborate with German scientists in her research into new tools for diagnosing Chagas disease. 'It's the best way of contributing to an exchange of knowledge.'
By exchanging information with the team of scientists at the Department for Zoology and Parasitology at the Ruhr University Bochum, Nora is continuing her battle against Chagas disease. This infectious disease is caused by the single-cell organism Trypanosoma cruzi, and is particularly widespread in Central and South America, including Nora's home country of Bolivia. The research collaboration between Nora and her colleagues in Germany that was initiated by the Georg Forster research fellowship continued in Bolivia and resulted in publications in international scientific journals on the subject of Chagas disease.
The Georg Forster programme for sustainable research collaboration
'The fellowship has helped me to gain additional experience that allowed me to implement my research program at home', says Victor's interim report. Looking to the future, he sees various different opportunities for ongoing collaboration. Georg Forster fellows have the opportunity to establish contact with other researchers, research establishments and funding organisations in Germany that can provide such support. The Georg Forster programme itself also offers former fellows extensive alumni support, for example in the form of return fellowships or further stays in Germany.
Nora too points out some of the benefits for the partners and children of Georg Forster fellowships. They too receive financial and organisational support from the programme. For alumni, the Georg Forster research fellowship is primarily linked with their commitment to developing their home countries. 'I hope to continue working in lively and mutual collaboration with German scientists and contributing to the health of society.'
Questions, answers and matters regarding the Georg Forster Research Fellowship
Anyone wishing to share their views on Georg Forster Research Fellowships, be they previous or current fellows or interested researchers, has come to the right place at the 'Study and Research' community group. They can find tips and advice on how to apply for a Georg Forster Fellowship. We would also be interested in hearing your personal 'research reports' regarding the Georg Forster programme.