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The Stifterverband Science Award – Erwin Schrödinger Prize

An interdisciplinary research award presented by the Hermann von Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Erwin Schrödinger. Bild: akg-images

The Stifterverband Science Award – Erwin Schrödinger Prize (Following allegations of abuse against Erwin Schrödinger that became known at the beginning of 2022, we are currently reviewing the name of the prize.) recognises outstanding scientific achievements and technological innovations at the interface between various disciplines in medicine, the natural sciences and engineering. The work must involve representatives of at least two disciplines.
The Stifterverband initially put the Helmholtz Association in charge of the Stifterverband Science Award – Erwin Schrödinger Prize for a period of five years. The award comes with prize money of up to 50,000 euros, which recipients are free to use as they please. The award is officially presented at the Helmholtz Annual Meeting and the first award ceremony took place on 25 November 1999. After the initial five-year period was over, the Stifterverband decided to continue awarding the prize in the same form, but at a two-year interval. The Helmholtz Members’ Assembly then agreed to provide the prize money in the intermediary years and the award has been awarded on an annual basis together with the Stifterverband ever since.

The Winners of the Erwin Schrödinger Prize:


Major advance in nuclear magnetic resonance and magnetic resonance imaging.

An international team at the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM) receives the award for a technique that amplifies magnetic resonance signals inexpensively and extraordinarily. 

  • Dmitry Budker (Physiker, HIM)
  • James Eills (Chemiker, HIM)
  • John Blanchard (Chemiker, HIM)
  • Danila Barskiy (Physikochemiker, HIM)
  • Kerstin Münnemann (Chemikerin, Universität Kaiserslautern)
  • Francesca Reineri (Chemikerin, Universität Turin)
  • Eleonora Cavallari (Pharmazeutische und Biomolekularwissenschaftlerin, Universität Turin)
  • Silvio Aime (Biowissenschaftler, Universität Turin)
  • Gerd Buntkowsky (Physikochemiker, TU Darmstadt)
  • Stephan Knecht (Physiker, TU Darmstadt)
  • Malcolm H. Levitt (Chemiker, Universität Southampton)
  • Laurynas Dagys (Chemiker, Universität Southampton).

MRT-Kontrastmittel mit Wasserstoffgas: Erfolg von Chemotherapie früher erkennen


New therapeutic approach for parasitic diseases

An interdisciplinary research team from Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ruhr University Bochum and the Medical University of Warsaw was awarded the Erwin Schrödinger Prize 2020.

  • Michael Sattler, Helmholtz Zentrum München
  • Ralf Erdmann, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Grzegorz Popowicz, Helmholtz Zentrum München
  • Vishal Kalel, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Maciej Dawidowski, Medical University of Warsaw (formerly Helmholtz Zentrum München)

Neuer Wirkstoff gegen Parasiten?


Convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently

A team of established and junior researchers and researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - KIT received the Erwin Schrödinger Prize 2019.

  • Alexander Colsmann

  • Michael J. Hoffmann 

  • Susanne Wagner

  • Holger Röhm 

  • Tobias Leonhard 

  • Alexander D. Schultz 

Erwin-Schrödinger-Preis 2019: Geheimnis der Perowskit-Solarzellen gelüftet


Detecting and treating prostate cancer

  • Matthias Eder (Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Deutsches Krebskonsortium, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum DKFZ)
  • Michael Eisenhut (DKFZ, emeritus)
  • Uwe Haberkorn (Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg und DKFZ)
  • Klaus Kopka (DKFZ)

Article: Detecting and treating prostate cancer

Erwin-Schrödinger-Preis 2018: Prostatakrebs gezielt erkennen und behandeln


 Algorithms providing insights into cell development

  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Fabian Theis
  • Dr. Timm Schroeder
  • Dr. Carsten Marr
  • Dr. Laleh Haghverdi

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the ETH Zürich (Department for Biosystems in Basel), the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the EMBL-EBI Hinxton have received the 2017 Erwin Schrödinger Prize. In an interdisciplinary collaboration they have shown how data from individual blood stem cells can be used to determine their fate.

Erwin-Schrödinger-Preis 2017


Specifically Designed Petri Dishes: Three KIT Scientists Receive Erwin Schrödinger Prize

  • Martin Bastmeyer
  • Christopher Barner-Kowollik
  • Martin Wegener

Three-dimensional printing is increasingly applied worldwide, like in toy and automotive industries. In micro- and nanoranges, use of the process for the artificial production of biological tissue (tissue engineering) might result in new findings, as it is the case for specifically designed 3D petri dishes. Three scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed a method to produce flexible, three-dimensional microscaffolds for cultivating cells under suitable conditions and to conduct corresponding research. For this, they are now granted the Erwin Schrödinger Prize by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.

Erwin-Schrödinger-Preis 2016


Quantum communication in flight

  • Dipl.-Ing. Martin Brechtelsbauer
  • Dr. Stefan Frick
  • Christian Fuchs
  • Dr.-Ing. Dirk Giggenbach
  • Dipl.-Ing. Joachim Horwarth
  • Dipl.-Ing. Florian Moll
  • Dr. Sebastian Nauerth
  • Bernd Oeste
  • Dr. Markus Rau
  • Prof. Dr. Harald Weinfurter

A team of scientists and engineers was successful in their attempts to exchange a quantum key between a research aircraft and a ground station – this is a significant step towards development of tap-proof data communication. The research scientists shall receive for their joint project this year’s Stifterverbands scientific award – the Erwin Schrödinger Prize.

German Aerospace Center (DLR) engineer Florian Moll describes the principle: Quantum communication in flight 


Fighting fat with a single molecule

  • Prof. Dr. Matthias Tschöp, Helmholtz Zentrum München
  • Prof. Dr. Richard DiMarchi, Indiana University
  • Dr. Kerstin Stemmer, Helmholtz Zentrum München
  • Dr. Brian Finan, Helmholtz Zentrum München

A single molecule may provide hope for millions of people, as researchers have combined two hormones formed in the digestive tract into one novel molecule. This hormone combination acts on the receptors of insulin-stimulating hormones and is thus able to reduce blood sugar levels in patients suffering from obesity or type 2 diabetes. In the coming years, this new therapeutic approach could help successfully treat both of these diseases, which the United Nations and the World Health Organization count among the greatest medical challenges facing modern society. For their ground-breaking research, a team of chemists, pharmacologists and hormone and cancer researchers led by Matthias Tschöp, director of Helmholtz Zentrum München and professor at Technische Universität München (TUM), has received the 2014 Erwin Schrödinger Prize

Press Release August 1st, 2014 Fighting fat with a single molecule


Climate researchers receive 2013 Erwin Schrödinger Prize

  • Prof. Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Prof. Xunhua Zheng, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
  • Prof. Nicolas Brüggemann, Forschungszentrums Jülich
  • Dr. Michael Dannenmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Benjamin Wolf, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Until now, scientists have assumed that keeping livestock on large steppe grassland contributes to the constantly growing nitrous oxide concentration in the atmosphere and thus to global warming. But now the opposite has been proved: Klaus Butterbach-Bahl's team of five from the Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT) have shown that animals grazing on steppe and prairie areas can actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In recognition of their long-term study, the ecosystem specialists have now received the 2013 Erwin Schrödinger Prize, which is endowed with €50,000.

Press Release July 2nd, 2013 Climate researchers receive 2013 Erwin Schrödinger Prize


Development of a thought-controlled robotic arm

  • Professor Patrick van der Smagt, German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Professor John P. Donoghue, Brown University, US

Professor Patrick van der Smagt from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Professor John P. Donoghue from Brown University in the US have won the 2012 Erwin Schrödinger Prize for developing a new type of prosthetic arm that paraplegics can control using brain signals. The support system that van der Smagt and Donoghue created is unique in the world and allows paraplegics to control a robotic arm using only their thoughts. To build the system, the researchers developed learning-enabled software that translates signals from the patient’s brain into control commands for the arm.

Press release September 20, 2012 Mind-controlled robotic arm awarded prize


Martina Carnott

Initiative and Networking Fund: Administration, scientific awards
Helmholtz Association

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