6 November 2019, updated on 13 December 2019

Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award: For the first time, two top researchers from the humanities and social sciences have been honoured

The economist Ufuk Akcigit from the University of Chicago was selected to receive the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award for his achievements in the field of macroeconomics. Elliot Tucker-Drob, development psychologist and professor at the University of Texas (Austin), has been honoured with the Max Planck-Humboldt Medal.

From left to right: Michael Meister (Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and Research), Ufuk Akcigit, Elliot M. Tucker-Drob, Martin Stratmann (President of the Max Planck Society), Hans-Christian Pape (President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation). Photo: David Ausserhofer; Max Planck Society

“We are very pleased to be honouring for the very first time two researchers from the humanities and social sciences. They will point out important perspectives for our society which is increasingly subject to countervailing forces arising from modern life and complexity on the one hand and from isolated opinion formation and populism on the other”, said Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, at the opening of the award ceremony held during the Berlin Science Week. Excellent science requires the sharing of information and discussions with others, Pape continued. “That is why successful, inspiring science comes about in the course of collaboration - between researchers, between institutions, in discourse with society and in discourse with funders and sponsors. Collaboration like the collaboration made possible in an exemplary way by the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award”, said the Foundation’s president. "Ufuk Akcigit and Elliot Tucker-Drob are two top scientists whose innovative and forward-looking ideas will help shape tomorrow's world”, said Max Planck Society President Martin Stratmann.

Research in macroeconomics and developmental psychology

During his research stay in Germany, which is part of the award, Ufuk Akcigit will investigate the causes of the economic gap between eastern and western Germany. "The prize money of €1.5 million will enable me to intensify cooperation with my colleagues at the Halle Institute for Economic Research – Member of the Leibniz Association. In three joint projects, we will be looking into the causes of the differences in productivity growth rates and living conditions in East and West", the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award winner explained.

Elliot Tucker-Drob from the University of Texas (Austin) will receive the Max Planck-Humboldt Medal for his contributions to the fields of personality and developmental psychology. Tucker-Drob studies how social and biological processes shape human psychological development over the individual’s entire lifetime.

Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award

The Max Planck Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation award the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award to a researcher from outside Germany. The award was restructured in 2018 and is endowed with €1.5 million. The award winner also receives an additional sum of €80,000 as personal prize money. Its focus is on individuals whose work signals outstanding potential for future achievements. The award aims to attract particularly innovative international scientists for a limited stay at a German university or research institution. The award is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and replaces the Max Planck Research Award, which the Humboldt Foundation and the Max Planck Society previously awarded to two researchers each year. Awards will alternate annually between the natural and engineering sciences, life sciences, and the humanities and social sciences. In addition, up to two further persons may be nominated and awarded a Max Planck-Humboldt Medal. Each Max Planck-Humboldt Medal comes with €60,000 for the recipient.

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