Ursula M. Händel Animal Welfare Prize

The Ursula M. Händel Prize recognises scientists who have made exemplary and sustained efforts to improve the welfare of animals in research. This includes in particular the development of methods that contribute to the reduction, refinement and replacement of animal experiments.

This prize goes back to an initiative by its founder, Ursula M. Händel (1915–2011), who championed many forms of animal welfare over several decades. For example, she founded the Bonn Animal Welfare Legislation Working Group and was involved in the amendment of the German Animal Welfare Act. She was particularly dedicated to animal welfare in science and research, focusing especially on minimising to the extent possible the adverse effects of research procedures on animals and reducing the number of animal experiments. For this purpose, Händel provided the DFG with the financial backing to recognise one or more researchers whose work focuses on improving the welfare of animals. The €80,000 Ursula M. Händel Animal Welfare Prize is currently the largest prize of its kind in Germany. It is awarded every two years.

Type of Prize

Personal prize bestowed annually or biennially.


The prize is awarded to scientists who make committed efforts to promote animal welfare in their research work. In particular, this includes the development of processes contributing, in accordance with the 3R principle, to the reduction, refinement and replacement of animal experimentation.

Number and Value of Awards

The funds for the prize were donated by Ms. Ursula M. Händel. The minimum award value is €25,000. The award amount is currently €80,000. The prize can be awarded to individual recipients or divided among several winners.

Selection of Prizewinners

Recipients are selected by a jury appointed by the president of the DFG based on a review of applications.

Application Deadline

The prize is announced publicly, together with the application deadline.

Documents Required

Documents suitable for review and providing detailed information on previous and, if applicable, planned scientific work according to the 3R principle; curriculum vitae in table format; publication list

Forms and Guidelines

"After all, you have to focus on something in life if you want to achieve something."

Ursula M. Händel (1915 – 2011) put her words into action and devoted her later life to animal welfare. Over decades, the Düsseldorf resident promoted animal rights in Germany.


Dr. Sonja Ihle
E-mail: Sonja.Ihle@dfg.de
Telephone: +49 (228) 885-2362