23 September 2008, No. 22/2008

Fast lane for creative junior researchers: 2008 Sofja Kovalevskaja Award granted

Eight international research talents will each receive up to 1.65 million EUR

For the fourth time, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is granting the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award, valued at up to 1.65 Million EUR, to young, cutting-edge researchers, providing them with risk capital to pursue innovative projects at a very early stage in their careers. They are being rewarded for outstanding talent, above-average initiative and a creative approach to research.

The award winners are all aged between 28 and 35. They will build up their own research groups at the host institute of their choice in Germany and spend five years working on a research project. The award ceremony will take place in Berlin on 25 November.

“With this award we are creating a fast lane for research talents, enabling them to overtake the hierarchy and career jams, and we are showing that if you give young researchers freedom and responsibility you are opening up opportunities for innovation,” Georg Schütte, Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, commented.

An overview of award winners and their host institutes:

  • Cinzia Casiraghi, Italy, Experimental Solid State Physics, Free University Berlin 
  • Karl Sebastian Lang, Austria, Hepatology, Düsseldorf University, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectiology Clinic
  • Esther Lutgens, Netherlands, Pathophysiology, Aachen University of Technology (RWTH), Institute for Molecular Cardiovascular Research IMCAR
  • Nathan MacDonald, United Kingdom, Biblical Theology, Göttingen University, Faculty of Theology
  • Daniele Oriti, Italy, Theoretical Physics, MPI for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Golm
  • Jan-Erik Siemens, Germany, Neurophysiology, Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Berlin
  • Miroslava Uhlirova, Czech Republic, Molecular Genetics, Cologne University, Institute for Genetics
  • Aleksi Vuorinen, Finland, Heavy Ion Physics, Bielefeld University, Department of Theoretical Physics

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation annually enables more than 1800 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of some 23,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in 130 countries worldwide - including 40 Nobel Prize winners.


Kristina Güroff
Barbara Wieners-Horst
Kerstin De Giorgio
Press and Communications
Tel.: +49 228 833-144/257
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Georg Scholl
Head of
Press and Communications
Tel.: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441

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