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Freie Universität Berlin Most Popular Institution in Germany for Leading Researchers and Outstanding Young Scholars from Abroad

University Again First in Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Ranking

Oct 04, 2017

Alexander von Humboldt Fellow Wu Jianshuang from China at a reception for new academics at Freie Universität. He worked at the Institute of Biology.

Alexander von Humboldt Fellow Wu Jianshuang from China at a reception for new academics at Freie Universität. He worked at the Institute of Biology.
Image Credit: Bernd Wannenmacher

According to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), Freie Universität Berlin is the most popular destination in Germany for leading researchers and young scholars from abroad. As the foundation announced in Bonn on Friday, Freie Universität reached first place by a wide margin in a comparison of the number of research stays. According to the AvH calculations, Freie Universität had 124.77 visiting researchers. The second and third places are held by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (92.69), and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich, 70.88). Technische Universität Berlin reached 7th place (55.04).

The AvH also examined the numbers of visiting researchers at non-university research facilities. In this category the first two places are held by the Fritz Haber Institute and the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam; Freie Universität cooperates closely with both of them. The AvH Ranking lists the number of scholars and scientists who did research in Germany during the past five years with a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation along with the institutions they most frequently chose for their research stays. In the words of the president of AvH, Prof. Dr. Helmut Schwarz, it is a "seal of quality for internationality."

The president of Freie Universität, Professor Dr. Peter-André Alt, says these numbers are an indication of the university's continued success in pursuing its international orientation in the past years. He noted that the ranking is a commendation for all of the researchers at Freie Universität who cooperate with colleagues abroad in a variety of ways.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is the most prestigious, and generally most important, source of information for international researchers from abroad. Every year it enables 2,000 researchers from around the world to conduct research in Germany. According to the AvH Foundation, each decision made in favor of a research stay in Germany, is an indication of which subject areas are particularly good in Germany and where the international competition for the best scholars and scientists is successful. It also shows which researchers in Germany have particularly intensive international contacts because the Humboldtians, as they are called by the foundation, select their host based on his or her academic qualifications and international visibility. A high position in the Humboldt Ranking is therefore an important indicator of international contacts and reputation. The foundation maintains a worldwide network of more than 28,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide, including 54 Nobel Prize winners.

Freie Universität also placed first in the DAAD funding ranking

According to statistics from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Freie Universität is also by far the most popular destination for students from abroad. A study published this summer, "Wissenschaft weltoffen 2017," indicates that Freie Universität is the most important host university for participants in the Erasmus Program. In 2015 the university accepted 855 Erasmus exchange students, more than any other German university. The university also performed extremely well according to funding statistics of the DAAD published in August. With more than 9.5 million euros recruited in funding from the DAAD, Freie Universität Berlin also placed first in the DAAD funding ranking.

This text originally appeared in German as a press release published by Freie Universität.