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Freie Universität Berlin Remains Most Popular University in Germany for Scholars from Abroad

Again at Top of Ranking by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation / Also Outstanding Figures in Funding by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

№ 196/2020 from Oct 16, 2020

Freie Universität remains the most popular host institution in Germany for outstanding junior researchers from abroad. As the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH Foundation) announced when it published its 2020 ranking on Friday in Bonn, when comparing the number of visiting scholars at research institutions in Germany, Freie Universität is in first place by a wide margin. This was also the case in the previous rankings in 2017 und 2014. The Humboldt Ranking lists the research institutions in Germany where international scholars most often do research with a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. For this ranking, the AvH Foundation evaluated the number of research stays with grants or awards from the AvH during the past five years. In the weighted numbers presented by the AvH, the number of guest researchers at Freie Universität was 120.72, at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 88.10, and LMU Munich 71.20. Technische Universität Berlin achieved fourth place with 62.50 guest researchers.

A good position in the Humboldt Ranking is an important indicator of the global reputation of research institutions in Germany, as every research stay is based on the decision of a scholar or scientist for a host university or research institution in Germany. Humboldtians – as they are called by the Foundation – choose their host institution themselves. They make their decisions based on the academic quality and international visibility of the host institution.

The Vice President for International Affairs at Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. Verena Blechinger-Talcott, was pleased with the ranking. She said, “The excellent performance of the university is an indication that the academic reputation of Freie Universität Berlin and our strategic approach as an International Network University are recognized worldwide. Global challenges require global cooperation and the exchange of knowledge.” She also pointed out that the ranking shows that Freie Universität is moving in the right direction when it comes to gender equality. Of all the research institutions in Germany, Freie Universität has been able to welcome the most women researchers and further increase the proportion of women in research at the university.

In August 2020 Freie Universität placed at the top of the funding ranking published by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). With almost 10 million euros, Freie Universität acquires the most third-party funding for internationalization from this funding body in a German-wide comparison. In this ranking, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität München, and Technische Universität Berlin followed in second to fourth place.

The systematic recruitment of outstanding scholars from abroad is a declared aim of the internationalization strategy of Freie Universität Berlin.

Further Information


  • Goran Krstin, Press Spokesman for the President of Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-73106, Email: goran.krstin@fu-berlin.de
  • Britta Piel, Deputy Director, Center for International Cooperation, Tel.: +49 30 838-73943, Email: britta.piel@fu-berlin.de

Link to the AvH Ranking