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Humboldt Professorship: Erlangen professor wins prize

Humboldt Professorship: Erlangen professor wins prize

For her, as a humanities scholar, this coveted award is something special. Michaela Malberg postpones her appointments specifically for her interview with BR24. She is now more in demand than ever: between workshops in Italy and visits to her new home in Great Britain, there is still time to be happy. Mahlberg will be awarded on Monday evening Germany's most valuable international science award: the Humboldt Professorship. Among the natural scientists and artificial intelligence experts, the world of humanities stands out among the twelve award winners. She says she thinks it's great that the Humboldt Foundation sees how important the humanities are to the development of the world.

Funding worth 3.5 million euros for the next five years

The 49-year-old has been teaching and researching at the University of Birmingham since 2015. But she returned to her German homeland to take up the Humboldt Professorship. At Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), she has been Director of the Department of Digital Humanities and Social Studies (DHSS) since April 2024. She says the Humboldt Professorship is the best reason for her return to Germany.

Language as the key to the world

Michaela Malberg wants to use the €3.5 million prize money to study the relationship between our language and the way we discuss social problems. The basis of its study are computer-aided methods through which the so-called linguist analyzes large amounts of text and can thus determine the frequency and context of certain key terms. “Language is our way of understanding the world,” she says. “To understand how society works. If we can’t find the right words to negotiate problems, we won’t be able to solve them.”

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Your current topic of interest: the water crisis

Michaela Malberg talks about her research with great enthusiasm. She's serious, and she makes it clear. “The global situation is so critical that nothing can be done,” she says. The big problems are climate change, attacks on our democracy, and the global water crisis – most recently for Michaela Malberg. In collaboration with the UNESCO Chair in Water Sciences, she is investigating how the water crisis is discussed in society. It is important to her that her research does not remain only at the university. She says she wants to contribute to finding concrete solutions and communication strategies.

However, Michaela Mahlberg is not the only one who managed to win the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for FAU this year. In the future, two leading international scientists, French biophysicist Benoit Ladoux, will conduct further research at the Innovation University.

In addition, human rights activist Prof. Dr. said: Eva Pilz announced that she will also accept an appointment at FAU as part of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. According to a statement, FAU has now gained eleven professors from Humboldt University. According to the university, these are currently the most in Germany.