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Archive: Copernicus Award


2018: Stefan Anker and Piotr Ponikowski

Prof. Dr. Stefan Anker from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Prof. Dr. Piotr Ponikowski from Wrocław Medical University have been chosen to receive the 2018 Copernicus Award from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Fundacja na rzecz Nauki Polskiej (FNP, Foundation for Polish Science) for their services to German-Polish research collaboration. The jury appointed jointly by the DFG and the FNP selected the two researchers for their long-standing and distinguished collaboration in heart failure research. Their contributions are considered to have led to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of heart failure as well as new treatment strategies for the disease. The €200,000 Copernicus Award will be presented on 25 October 2018 in Berlin by the presidents of the DFG and the FNP, Prof. Dr. Peter Strohschneider and Prof. Dr. Maciej Żylicz.

Anker and Ponikowski have been collaborating for over 20 years since they first became acquainted during a research visit at Imperial College London. Their partnership has resulted in many highly regarded joint publications and their results have provided the basis for numerous other German-Polish research projects. 

Stefan Anker

Since 2017, Stefan Anker has been Professor of Tissue Homeostasis in Cardiology and Metabolism at the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, an institute of the Charité. He studied medicine in the Faculty of Medicine (Charité) at the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he also earned his doctorate. He then worked as a Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial College London. Back in Germany, he held professorships at the Charité Berlin and Göttingen University Hospital. Anker is member of the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) and Vice-President of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). His core research areas include the mechanisms of tissue metabolism in chronic heart disease and cardio-oncological questions in patients with advanced cancers.

Piotr Ponikowski

Piotr Ponikowski is Professor of Cardiology at Wrocław Medical University, where since 2016 he has also served as Vice-Rector for Research. He is also the President of the Polish Cardiac Society. He studied medicine and earned his doctorate in Wrocław and has researched at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden and Imperial College and Royal Brompton Hospital in London. His research interests include heart failure, coronary heart disease and cardiac arrhythmia.

2016: Agnieszka Chacińska and Peter Rehling

For their services to German-Polish research cooperation, Professor Dr. Agnieszka Chacińska, International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw, and Professor Dr. Peter Rehling, University of Göttingen, have been chosen to receive the Copernicus Award 2016, presented by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP). The jury representing the DFG and FNP selected the two researchers for their "pioneering work" in the field of molecular cell biology. Their research, said the joint jury, has generated new basic knowledge of the targeted transport of proteins inside cells. Their work on the mechanism that allows proteins to be transported into the mitochondria, a type of organelle, has had a profound impact on our understanding of the biogenesis of mitochondria. The Copernicus Award of 200,000 euros will be presented on 7 June 2016 in Warsaw by the presidents of the DFG and the FNP, Professor Dr. Peter Strohschneider and Professor Dr. Maciej Żylicz.

Professors Rehling and Chacińska have been working together for many years and have produced numerous joint publications. Their collaboration began 15 years ago at the University of Freiburg and has continued to this day.

Agnieszka Chacińska

Agnieszka Chacińska has led the Laboratory of Mitochondrial Biogenesis at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw since 2009. It was also in the Polish capital that she obtained her biology degree and doctorate. She then worked in Germany between 2001 and 2009, first as a postdoctoral researcher and then as a group leader at the University of Freiburg. For three years she led a project within the Freiburg-based Collaborative Research Centre "Functional Specificity by Coupling and Modification of Proteins". Between 2008 and 2009 she was also an associate member of the cluster of excellence "BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies". She completed her habilitation in 2008 at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics in Warsaw and in 2014 was appointed full professor by the President of Poland. She has won numerous accolades for her scientific work, most recently an award from the Polish Academy of Sciences in 2015. The aim of her research is to understand the dynamic processes involved in the formation of organelles and the biogenesis of mitochondria.

Peter Rehling

Peter Rehling has been a professor and director in the Department of Cellular Biochemistry at the University of Göttingen since 2007. His research interest is the molecular processes that allow proteins to pass through the membranes of mitochondria. He studies the ways in which multiprotein complexes on and in the membrane control these processes and how proteins transported into the cell transform themselves into multiprotein complexes. After obtaining his biology degree and then his doctorate in Bochum as part of a DFG-funded Research Training Group, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California in San Diego, USA, before returning to Germany to complete his habilitation in Freiburg. Here he worked as the group leader of the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centre, "Cellular Functions of Dynamic Protein Interactions". Since 2010 Rehling has been the deputy spokesperson for the Collaborative Research Centre "Integrative Structural Biology of Dynamic Macromolecular Assemblies" and this year he was appointed spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centre "Compartmental Gates and Contact Sites in Cells". In 2013 he also received an ERC Advanced Grant.

2014: Harald Weinfurter and Marek Żukowski

Physicists Professor Harald Weinfurter from the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich and Professor Marek Żukowski from the University of Gdansk have been chosen to receive the 2014 Copernicus Award from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP, Fundacja na Rzecz Nauki Polskiej) for their services to German-Polish research cooperation. The jury, which was made up of representatives from the DFG and the FNP, said that the physicists had been selected both as "outstanding individual researchers" and as “collaborating researchers" whose "joint research projects have yielded clear and important results". The Copernicus Award, with 100,000 euros in prize money, will be presented on 10 September 2014 in Berlin by the Presidents of the DFG and the FNP, Professor Peter Strohschneider and Professor Maciej Żylicz.

Harald Weinfurter

Since 1999 Professor Harald Weinfurter has held a professorship for experimental quantum optics at the LMU, where he was also vice-dean of the Physics Faculty from 2008 to 2012. Having studied physics and completed his doctorate in Vienna, he habilitated in Innsbruck. Subsequently he worked in Vienna and at the Hahn-Meitner Institute in Berlin and then returned to Innsbruck. Weinfurter's research concerns the fundamental aspects of quantum physics. His areas of interest include experimental quantum interferometry with correlated photons, quantum correlations and entangled states and quantum communication and information and their application in quantum cryptography and quantum metrology. Weinfurter has received numerous awards for his work, including the Philip Morris Prize for Research in 2003 and the Descartes Prize from the European Union in 2004. He has been a Max Planck Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching since 2010 and is associated with Nobel Laureate Professor Theodor W. Hänsch's Department of Laser Spectroscopy.

Marek Żukowski

Professor Marek Żukowski has been professor of physics since 1998 at the University of Gdansk. Initially appointed as associate professor, he has held a chair since 2006. He was head of the Department for Quantum Optics at the Institute for Physics at the University of Gdansk from 1996 to 2005 and is now head of the Institute. He habilitated in Torun in Poland, at the Nikolaus Kopernikus University, after achieving a "Proficiency Certificate in English grade A" in Cambridge in the UK. His doctorate in Gdansk followed a course of study in both physics and mathematics.

Żukowski is a founding member of the National Quantum Information Centre of Gdansk, which was established in 2007, and since 2010 a member of the board of the National Centre for Science, a research funding organisation. He has received the Prize for Science from the Polish Ministry for Education four times and has been awarded prizes by the Rector of Gdansk University three times. Periods as a visiting professor in Beijing, China and the award in 2006 of a Wenner Gren Fellowship from Sweden, like his many years of collaboration with Professor Weinfurter, underline his position in a widely international network.

2012:  Jacek Błażewicz and Erwin Pesch

Experts in business information systems Professor Erwin Pesch from Siegen and Professor Jacek Błażewicz from Poznan have been awarded the Copernicus Award by the DFG and the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) for their achievements in German-Polish collaboration in science. The Copernicus Prize includes prize money of 100,000 euros and will be presented on 17 September 2012 in Warsaw by the Presidents of the DFG and FNP, Professor Matthias Kleiner and Professor Maciej Żylicz.

Jacek Błażewicz

Professor Jacek Błażewicz completed his studies in control engineering at the Poznan University of Technology. After gaining his degree in 1974, he earned his doctorate there in technical sciences at the Faculty for Electrotechnology. In 1980 he pursued his habilitation and, in 1987, he was promoted to the position of ordinary professor, as well as to that of acting Director of the Institute of Computer Science. He has headed this Institute’s Lab for Algorithm Design and Programming Systems since 1995. At the same time, Błażewicz served as Professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computers Science at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan from 1994 to 1999 and has served as Professor at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry at the Polish Academy of Sciences since 1999. His scientific works comprise around 300 scientific publications and 15 monographs. In 1991, Błażewicz received the EURO Gold Medal from the European Association of Operational Research Societies, and in 2005 he became Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The University of Siegen gave him an honorary doctorate in 2006.

Erwin Pesch

Professor Erwin Pesch studied mathematics and computer science at the Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt, where he gained his doctorate in mathematics and carried out his habilitation in business administration. From 1989 to 1994, his career as an assistant professor took him to the School of Business and Economics at Maastricht University. From 1994 to 2001, he served as Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Bonn. He is currently researching and teaching at the University of Siegen. His scientific work is strongly interdisciplinary in nature. His research focuses are business informatics, decision support systems and project management. Pesch also successfully advises numerous companies. Staff planning ground handling at airports, for example, use a software programme based on his algorithm. His scientific productivity and versatility are evidenced by four books, almost 120 publications, many of them in international specialist journals, and numerous DFG-funded projects.

2010: Alfred Forchel and Jan Misiewicz

For their achievements in promoting German-Polish cooperation in science, Professor Dr. Alfred Forchel from Würzburg and Professor Dr. Jan Misiewicz from Wrocław, both physicists, will receive the Copernicus Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP). Through their many years of joint collaboration, the two researchers have strengthened research cooperation between the two countries in a sustainable way, work that has, according to the justification for the award given by the jury of the DFG and FNP, been of particular benefit to young researchers. The Copernicus Award is worth €100,000 and will be presented on 10 May 2010 in Berlin by the presidents of the DFG and FNP, Professor Dr. Matthias Kleiner and Professor Dr. Maciej Zylicz.

Alfred Forchel

Professor Dr. Alfred Forchel has directed the University of Würzburg as president since 1 October 2009 and is the director of the Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Research Center for Complex Material Systems. Forchel is originally from Stuttgart, where he completed his physics studies with a doctorate (1983) and earned his advance postdoctoral qualification (1988). Also in Stuttgart, he directed the university's microstructure laboratory from 1984 to 1990. He was appointed by the University of Würzburg to the chair of technical physics in 1990. Here, too, he became head of the microstructure laboratory, which was started in 1994. In addition, he co-founded the degree programme for nanostructure technology.

Jan Misiewicz

Professor Dr. Jan Misiewicz is director of the Institute for Physics at the University of Wrocław and head of the Laboratory of Semiconductor Physics, Devices and Nanotechnology. Misiewicz completed his academic training—a degree in solid-state physics with subsequent PhD and advanced postdoctoral qualifications in semiconductor physics—in Wrocław, where he was appointed professor in 1999. He has held numerous academic offices and established the Laboratory for Optical Spectroscopy.