The excellence of our scientists is reflected by the numerous national and international awards they have received. Here we present a number of our award winners.

Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the International Research Fund for Germany, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is the country’s most valuable international research award.

Leipzig University has secured five Alexander von Humboldt Professorships.

Video portrait of James Conant by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Video portrait of James Conant by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The philosopher James Conant secured the prestigious Humboldt Professorship in 2017. Conant is interested in the philosophy of language and epistemology and is working on a synthesis of the idealistic German and the analytical American philosophical schools. As co-director of the Research Forschungskolleg Analytic German Idealism, he brings new ideas and thought-provoking insights to Leipzig and strengthens the German-American cooperation between the universities of Leipzig, Potsdam, Chicago and Pittsburgh in the field of philosophy.

Gregory Ralph Crane
Video portrait of Gregory Crane by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Video portrait of Gregory Crane by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Gregory Crane was awarded the Humboldt Professorship in 2012 and was Humboldt Professor at Leipzig University until 2018. Crane is a classical philologist and applies computer science methods to systematise human cultural development. As a pioneer of the digital humanities, he has supported Leipzig’s Institute of Computer Science in its development into a centre for the digital humanities.

Portraitaufnahme in schwarzweiß von Prof. Dr. Oskar Hallatschek
Photo: Professor Oskar Hallatschek

Oskar Hallatschek was awarded a Humboldt Professorship in the field of biological soft matter physics in 2021. He will take up his Humboldt Professorship in the summer of 2022 and establish a new integrative research centre for eco-evolutionary dynamics. His research straddles the fields of biophysics, mathematics and medicine, providing groundbreaking insights into evolutionary dynamics through mathematical and theoretical models as well as experiments.

Filmportrait der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung über den Bioinformatiker Jens Meiler
Video portrait of Jens Meiler by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundatio

Video portrait of Jens Meiler by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundatio

Jens Meiler was awarded a Humboldt Professorship in 2019. A pharmaceutical chemist and bioinformatics researcher, he conducts research where biology, physics, chemistry and computer science meet. At the new Institute for Innovation in Rational Drug Design, Meiler carefully combines computer-aided processes with experimental methods in order to develop new pharmaceuticals. With the further development of the ROSETTA programme, he will also establish a “European Centre for ROSETTA Therapeutic Design”.

Portraitaufnahme von Prof. Dr. Sayan Mukherjee
Prof. Dr. Sayan Mukherjee, Foto: Bradley Keith

Sayan Mukherjee will receive the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for Artificial Intelligence in 2022. The mathematician, statistician and computer scientist will take up his professorship at the Center for Scalable Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (ScaDS.AI) Dresden/Leipzig in May 2022. He will also establish a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences. His expertise in topological data analysis is expected to pave new ways in the analysis of biological and medical data, opening up an innovative branch of research in precision medicine.

ERC Grants

Currently, six scientists from Leipzig University are being supported by ERC grants, which are awarded by the European Research Council. They are among the highest distinctions for individual research work in Europe. While ERC Starting Grants reward excellent junior researchers in the early phase of their scientific careers, ERC Consolidator Grants support promising researchers seven to twelve years after completing their doctorate. ERC Advanced Grants are awarded to excellent scientists who are already established in their field of research.

ERC Starting Grants

Professor Nico Einsenhauer at work
Professor Nico Eisenhauer at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). Photo: Christian Hüller

Nico Eisenhauer, of the Experimental Interaction Ecology Working Group, has received funding since 2016. At the iDiv research centre, he investigates the effect of European earthworms as an invasive species on the North American ecosystem.

Portrait of neuropathologist Dr Ruth Stassart
Neuropathologist Dr Ruth Stassart. Photo: Christian Hüller

Ruth Stassart, senior consultant in the Department of Neuropathology at Leipzig University Hospital, researches therapeutic approaches for nerve diseases. The support provided by the ERC Starting Grant from 2021 until 2026 will boost the Faculty of Medicine’s Brain and Psychological Disorders research profile area.

ERC Consolidator Grants

Professor Ralf Seidel
Professor Ralf Seidel. Photo: Swen Reichhold

Ralf Seidel, Professor of Molecular Biophysics, received an ERC Grant in 2017 for his research into CRISPR-Cas enzymes. Seidel was already awarded a Starting Grant in 2011.

Prof. Dr. László Székelyhidi vom Mathematischen Institut
Professor László Székelyhidi. Photo: Foto-Zentrum Leipzig

László Székelyhidi, Professor of Applied Mathematics, has researched representation of the fundamental equations of fluid mechanics as so-called inclusion problems since 2017. He was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2011.

ERC Advanced Grants

Professor Martin Haspelmath. Photo: Swen Reichhold
Professor Martin Haspelmath. Photo: Swen Reichhold

Linguist Martin Haspelmath received an ERC Grant in 2015 for his research into grammatical constants in various languages.

Professor Josef Alfons Käs. Photo: Swen Reichhold

Biophysicist Alfons Käs received an ERC Grant in 2017 for his research into the physical properties of cancer cells.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is awarded by the German Research Foundation. The most important research prize in Germany, it is awarded to outstanding scientists to improve their working conditions and research opportunities and give them more flexibility.

Professor Nico Eisenhauer steht im Labot und betrachtet ein Reagenzglas, in dem eine blaue Flüssigkeit ist.
Professor Nico Eisenhauer im Labor, Foto: Christian Hüller

Nico Eisenhauer is honoured in 2021 for his excellent work on the impact of of global change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

Video portrait of László Székelyhidi by the German Research Foundation
Video portrait of László Székelyhidi by the German Research Foundation

Video portrait of László Székelyhidi by the German Research Foundation

László Székelyhidi was honoured in 2018 for his excellent research on the theory of partial differential equations.

Sofja Kovalevskaja Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Aufnahme von Dr. Torben Schiffner bei der Arbeit im Labor.
Dr Torben Schiffner conducts research at the Institute for Drug Development at the Faculty of Medicine. Photo: Swen Reichhold

Torben Schiffner was awarded the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award in 2020. Endowed with 1.65 million euros, the award will enable the virologist to set up a new working group and a laboratory for vaccine development at Leipzig University over the next five years.

Anneliese Maier Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The Anneliese Maier Research Award is presented annually to humanities scholars and social scientists from abroad.

  • Robert Brandom was presented with the Anneliese Maier Research Award in 2015. He is one of the most renowned philosophers of our time and is helping to advance the close relationships between contemporary German and American philosophy.
  • The philosopher James Conant was awarded the Anneliese Maier Research Award in 2011.

Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize

Awarded by the German Research Foundation, the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize is a distinction for young researchers and provides an incentive for further excellent achievements in their scientific work. It is intended to encourage recipients to pursue their scientific careers.

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Doctoral prizes

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Leibniz Professorship

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