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In High International Demand – University of Potsdam among Top 10 in Humboldt Ranking for the First Time

Environmental scientist Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wagener | Photo: Seila Fernandez Arconada
Photo : Seila Fernandez Arconada
Environmental scientist Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wagener
The University of Potsdam is held in high regard by researchers from abroad. This is the result of the current Humboldt Ranking, in which it was ranked 9th out of a total of 82 institutions of higher education, thereby reaching a position in the top 10 of the most popular German universities for the first time. It is up two places compared to the last ranking in 2017. The ranking shows how many academics have come to Germany in the past five years thanks to funding from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and highlights the institutions where the greatest numbers of these researchers spent their research stays. During this period, 68 researchers worked at the University of Potsdam with a fellowship or award from the foundation.

“Once again, our excellent position in the Humboldt Ranking reflects that the University of Potsdam is very well connected internationally and that it is highly attractive for international researchers in all fields,” said Prof. Dr. Florian J. Schweigert, Vice President for International Affairs, Fundraising and Alumni. With the Welcome Center, the university had succeeded in establishing a well-organized service center for foreign guests and in raising the working conditions for international cooperation to a first-rate level, Schweigert continued.

With the support of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the University of Potsdam attracts renowned researchers from abroad who provide decisive impulses in research and teaching: For example, the environmental scientist Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wagener from the University of Bristol has been appointed to the Institute of Environmental Science and Geography with an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship effective January 1, 2021. The expert for water and environmental engineering wants to further expand the hydrology focus at the University of Potsdam. Among other things, there are plans for a new Research Center for Water, Environment and Society, which is to become a hub for globally interconnected research, innovation and teaching in order to safeguard water supply under changing (climate) conditions.

Prof. Dr. Robert Gerwarth of Dublin’s University College will be coming to Potsdam as a visiting scholar. The historian received this year's Reimar Lüst Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, worth 60,000 EUR. At the Chair of Military History/Cultural History of Violence held by Prof. Dr. Sönke Neitzel, he will work on a major study of civil wars in the first half of the 20th century. “Robert Gerwarth's stay offers us the opportunity to include one of the most distinguished historians in this field in our research on military cultures of violence,” Neitzel said. “He will also be involved in teaching and thus further strengthen the connection between our two institutions.”

Since August 2020, Humboldt fellow Dr. Gautier Nicoli has been conducting research at Potsdam's Institute of Geosciences under Prof. Dr. Patrick O'Brien in order to gain a deeper understanding of crustal processes and melt inclusions. “A Humboldt Fellowship is a great opportunity to conduct top-level research and grow as an independent scholar. It provides me with the perfect research environment to further our understanding of the geological processes that have shaped and continue to shape the face of the Earth,” said Nicoli, who most recently worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge and received his Ph.D. from Stellenbosch University in South Africa in 2015.
The Humboldt Ranking is an indicator of a university’s quality and visibility since scientists and scholars choose their own host institutions. The University of Potsdam has become an international community with many different faces. In addition to students from all over the globe who have enrolled for a semester abroad or a complete Bachelor's, Master's or doctoral program, numerous researchers from abroad shape the international flair. The university has made it its goal to continue this development and to keep investing in its international competitiveness, “for example, by further developing digital infrastructure, which can help researchers work together smoothly and sustainably,” Vice President Schweigert emphasized.  

Further information:

Contact: Dr. Silke Brodersen, International Office
Phone: 0331 977-124436
E-Mail: silke.brodersenuni-potsdamde

Media information 22-10-2020 / No. 096