Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Advertiser retains sole responsibility for the content of this article

AI researchers wanted in Germany

The DFG on the one side strengthens the next generation of AI researchers with the establishment of 30 independent junior research groups by 2022, the Humboldt Foundation on the other side supports top AI scientists with the setup of 30 Alexander von Humboldt professorships by 2025.Credit: Humboldt Foundation

Peter Dayan describes his new domain as “a vibrant research environment”, after taking up a joint position at the University of Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, in early 2020.

Dayan, a former director of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, and professor at University College London, left the UK in favour of the ‘Cyber Valley of Swabia’ in southern Germany. Here Dayan is going to work at the interface of both the brain’s and AI’s systems capacities to make good and bad decisions. His work is supported by an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship which comes with €5 million in funding. Dayan is the first recipient of this programme, but is not alone. By 2025 there will be as many as 30 Alexander von Humboldt Professors.

To attract AI-expertise, whether junior researcher or professor-level, Germany plans to invest up to €5 billion in the years to come. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will make a total of €90 million available. “In the coming years, we will finance projects from all areas of AI research in various funding programmes,” explains Kerstin Schill, Director of the Institute for ‘Cognitive Neuroinformatics’ at the University of Bremen, and Vice President of the DFG.

30 independent junior research groups until 2022

The DFG’s initiative particularly strengthens the next generation of AI researchers, says Schill. “The funding of independent junior research groups in the DFG’s Emmy Noether Programme is a key element,” she says. “We expect these groups to draw in highly qualified early career researchers from all over the world who focus on AI methods. Within the Emmy Noether Programme, they will have a high level of autonomy at an early stage.” The DFG plans to establish up to 30 independent junior research groups by 2022.

The second focus is to help connect AI methods with areas of research that either use AI technology to gain scientific insights or investigate overarching issues related to the use of AI. The DFG’s initiative will achieve this by funding up to eight research units. These are open specifically to Alexander von Humboldt Professorships to create synergies between the two funding institutions.

AI experts at all career stages, considering a challenging and well-funded working field in Germany, should visit or


Quick links