Media Information of the University of Potsdam

Nr.: 261/10 – Oct. 13, 2010

Alexander von Humboldt Professorship – Award Winner at the University of Potsdam for the first time

Psycholinguist Clahsen receives science award endowed with five million Euros

For the first time ever the University of Potsdam was able to take in an Alexander von Humboldt-Professor. With this professorship the Psycholinguist Harald Clahsen, who until recently researched at the University of Essex, Colchester, Great Britain, receives Germany’s highest valued research award. The prize money in the amount of five million Euros is intended for the financing of his work in the first five years at the University of Potsdam. Harald Clahsen will take over the professorship “Psycholinguistics of Multilingualism” at the Human Sciences Faculty as of May 1st, 2011.

“We are extremely glad about the decision of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and are sure that we will contribute to internationally leading research with the appointment of Professor Clahsen. This gain in scientific expertise from abroad allows us the realization of future-oriented research”, underlines the president of the University of Potsdam, Prof. Ph.D. Ph.D. Sabine Kunst.
Harald Clahsen (55) is one of the internationally most renowned German linguists. He is a leading researcher in the fields of language acquisition, language processing and language disorders. His work links linguistic theory with experimental psycholinguistics and techniques of neuroscience. Clahsen is to become professor for the Psycholinguistics of Multilingualism at the University of Potsdam and will be the founding director of the new Potsdam Research Institute of Multilingualism (PRIM), to reinforce the Area of Excellence in Cognitive Sciences of the Human Sciences Faculty.
“It is a great elation and I can hardly believe that we were awarded one of the highly sought after Humboldt-professorships” said Prof. Ph.D. Ria de Bleser, dean of the Human Sciences Faculty. “If nothing else this is a huge scientific enrichment for the Area of Excellence in Cognitive Science.”
Clahsen earned his doctorate in Wuppertal, Germany, in 1981. From 1983 to 1993 he was a lecturer at the University of Düsseldorf, where he was granted the university's Habilitation Award. He then became a full professor at the University of Essex, Colchester. Harald Clahsen received numerous distinctions, including the Gerhard-Hess-Price of the German Research Foundation and Fellow of the British Academy.
In their last selection meeting the Humboldt Foundation’s selection committee had to consider eight applications, from which three were chosen. With that the total of the ten 2010 award winners are determined. The award ceremony will be held on May 12th, 2011, in Berlin.

Deutsche Version

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Contact: Prof. Ph.D. Ria de Bleser, dean of the Human Sciences Faculty, Phone: 0049-(0)331-977-2933, Email:

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