The selection committee of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has chosen Johannes Kästner as a scout in its current selection round. He is one of 18 new scouts and the first scout at the University of Stuttgart.
As such, he may now nominate up to three excellent junior researchers from all over the world for a Humboldt Fellowship. These will be awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship directly after the formal requirements have been checked. Following the sponsorship, an ex-post evaluation takes place.
"The possibility of awarding Humboldt fellowships directly and quickly will make it easier for me to attract outstanding talents to my group. This will give us the opportunity to investigate new machine learning methods that we can use, for example, to develop sustainable catalysts. This is an absolute gain for SimTech and the future of the Cluster of Excellence," emphasizes Johannes Kästner, who, in addition to his work as a professor at the Institute of Theoretical Chemistry, is also head of the GS SimTech graduate school of the Stuttgart Cluster of Excellence SimTech and a member of the board of directors. Kästner is an expert in the fields of reaction kinetics, free energy and machine learning methods in chemistry.
He has now already awarded the first fellowship. The fellow is expected to start in Johannes Kästner's group in October 2022, where he will work in the field of astrochemistry on the formation of molecules in interstellar space.
With the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme, the Humboldt Foundation has opened up a new approach to the renowned Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme. The aim is to recruit researchers for cooperation with a research institution in Germany and the Humboldt Network who, for various reasons, do not apply for a fellowship from the Foundation themselves. In this way, new specialist and regional target groups in particular are to be reached and, at the same time, the proportion of women sponsored in the research fellowship program is to be increased. The scouts' first proposal will be for a female scientist. The Henriette Herz Scouting Program is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Already in 2020, the University of Stuttgart successfully acquired the Henriette Herz Award as one of 8 universities nationwide with the Global Talent Initiative "Research with US". The goal of the prize, which is endowed with 125,000 EUR, is the strategically oriented recruitment and retention of highly qualified international young scientists. With this in mind, the goal of "Research with US" is to promote the active scouting and recruiting of top researchers from around the world, to strengthen global networks, and to increase diversity and interculturality within the professoriate.
*Henriette Julie Herz was a writer and owner of a literary salon in Berlin, where she and her husband hosted events on scientific and literary topics. She was also a longtime friend of Alexander von Humboldt. Contrary to the customs of her time, she enjoyed a high education.