Press release

Sofja Kovalevskaja Awards to be presented in Berlin on 22 November

  • from
  • No. 29/2018
Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild


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Tel.: +49 228 833-144
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Five international researchers to receive awards valued at up to €1.65 million each. The young researchers will conduct research in Berlin, Bochum, Freiburg, Saarbrücken and Würzburg in the coming years.

The Kovalevskaja Award Winners Aydan Bulut-Karslioglu, Kenji Fukushima, Milica Gašić, Hitoshi Omori und Fritz Renner (top left to bottom right) will receive the award on 22 November in Berlin.

This year, a total of five young international researchers from abroad will receive the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Sofja Kovalevskaja Award, each of which comes with up to €1.65 million in funding. Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek and Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Humboldt Foundation, will present the awards at a special ceremony being held in Berlin at 7 pm on 22 November.

With this award money, the five researchers (two women and three men) can conduct research free from administrative constraints at a German university or research institute of their choice for a period of up to five years and develop their own research group for this at their host institute. The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award is one of Germany’s best-endowed research awards. It is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. With this award, the young researchers receive risk capital during an extremely early phase in their careers to conduct innovative projects and, in the process, are given the opportunity to work independently and bear responsibility.

Notice to the press:
During the day of 22 November a working meeting will be held which will also be attended by this year’s award winners and their hosts. Specialist topics will be discussed and experience shared with regard to Germany as a location for research work. Journalists are welcome to attend. We will be happy to arrange interviews.

Time and date: Thursday, 22 November 2018, 10 am - 4:30 pm
Venue: Hotel Eurostars Berlin, Friedrichstr. 99, 10117 Berlin

Award ceremony:
Time and date: 
Thursday, 22 November 2018, 7 pm
Venue: Atrium, Deutsche Bank, Charlottenstraße 37-38, 10117 Berlin)

It will be possible to conduct interviews and to film, photograph and make audio recordings at both events. Please send an e-mail including a copy of your valid press ID by 12 noon, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 to presse[at]

On-site press contacts: Kristina Güroff ( (Phone: 0151-14015796) and Nina Hafeneger (Phone: 0160-97287564)

The newly selected award winners are:

  • Aydan Bulut-Karslioglu, Molecular Biology (epigenetics and metabolomics), from the University of California, San Francisco, USA, will conduct research at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin.
  • Kenji Fukushima, Evolutionary Biology (evolution of carnivorous plants), from the University of Colorado in Denver, USA, will conduct research at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg.
  • Milica Gašić, Artificial Intelligence, Image and Language Processing (interaction between humans and machines), from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, will conduct research at Saarland University.
  • Hitoshi Omori, Theoretical Philosophy (paraconsistent logic), from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology will conduct research at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
  • Fritz Renner, Clinical Psychology (depression research), from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, will conduct research at the University of Freiburg.

The astrophysicist Paola Pinilla is also a 2018 Kovalevskaja Award winner. She will receive her award at a later date.


The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 29,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 55 Nobel Prize winners.

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