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Press Release No. 28 | 5 July 2022
Realignment of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize

DFG adds the most important award for researchers in the start-up phase of their careers to its funding portfolio / Award endowment increased to €200,000

The Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize is to be realigned: regarded as the most important award in Germany for researchers in the start-up phase of their careers, the prize is now to be transferred to the DFG’s funding portfolio and the area of institutional funding. At the same time, the prize money will be increased from €20,000 to €200,000, with the addition of a 22 percent programme allowance. Up to now, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has provided the funding for the prize, while the DFG has taken care of administration and awarded it jointly with the BMBF. Starting in 2023, prizewinners will be free to use the money they receive for research purposes over a period of three years. As before, the prize will go to ten individuals from across all disciplines each year.

“The Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize has supported more than 400 talented researchers to date and encouraged them to pursue their academic career,” said DFG President Professor Dr. Katja Becker. “It has been adapted and developed several times over the years to suit the circumstances as required. The new direction that has now been decided on takes the prize into the future, and it is a great honour for us to be able to award it as a DFG funding prize. At the same time, we are delighted to be able to give the winners even greater freedom to pursue outstanding research with an increased endowment. We would also like to thank the BMBF in particular for its close, trusting cooperation in awarding the prize over many years.”

The Chair of the Selection Committee for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize and Vice President of the DFG, Professor Dr. Peter H. Seeberger, said: “As before, the award will seek to recognise researchers in the start-up phase of their career for their independent research accomplishments to date. In addition to this incentive and recognition, winners will now also receive financial relief during one of the most productive phases of their careers – which is also a key phase on the pathway to securing a tenured professorship.”

The Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize targets those who have achieved academic independence as early as possible: they must have gained visibility within the academic community based on independent research results, published beyond their dissertation and be in a development and probationary phase with a view to remaining in academia or obtaining a permanent professorship. The period for nomination is limited to up to six years after obtaining a doctorate, though this can be extended by periods of absence or biographical peculiarities explained in their curriculum vitae.

The Selection Committee for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize , chaired by DFG Vice President Seeberger, will continue to select the prize winners according to the previous procedure of pre-selection, external review and assessment. The final decision is made by the Joint Committee of the DFG on the recommendation of the Selection Committee.

The prize is named after nuclear physicist and former DFG President Heinz Maier-Leibnitz: it was during his term of office that the prize was first awarded in 1977. Maier-Leibnitz rendered outstanding services to the interests of academics in an early phase of their career.

Further information

Further information about the DFG’s Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize:

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