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 six Alexander von Humboldt Professorships.

Video portrait of James Conant by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Philosopher  James Conant was awarded the 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. He worked at Leipzig University from 2017-2022 and then returned to the University of Chicago.

Gregory Ralph Crane

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.

enlarge the image: 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. 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. Oskar Hallatschek was a Humboldt Professor at the Leipzig University until 2023. He is now at the University of Berkeley and remains an Honorary Professor at the Peter Debey Institute for Soft Matter Physics.


Tina Malti was awarded a Humboldt Professorship in the field of developmental psychology in 2022. She conducts research at the Faculty of Education and as director of the Leipzig Research Center for Early Child Development (LFE). In addition to basic research into children’s socio-emotional development, Tina Malti also hopes to transfer her research findings to clinical practice fields.

enlarge the image: Porträt von Professorin Tina Malti
Tina Malti, Alexander von Humboldt Professor at the Faculty of Education. Photo: Antje Gildemeister, Leipzig University
Filmportrait der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung über den Bioinformatiker Jens Meiler

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”.

enlarge the image: 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, seven 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

enlarge the image: 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.

The psychologist Dr. Sebastian Grüneisen has been researching and teaching at the Institute of Educational Sciences of the Faculty of Education at the University of Leipzig since the beginning of November 2022 as part of a tenure-track professorship. His research is focusing on the development of social behavior in early childhood.

Prof. Dr. Lukasz Grabowski conducts research in theoretical mathematics at the Institute of Mathematics. In 2019, he received an ERC grant on the topic "Limits of Structures in Algebra and Combinatorics".

Prof. Dr. Alexey Bufetov is Professor of Probability Theory at the Institute of Mathematics. He deals with large random systems and combines the methods of statistical mechanics with other areas of mathematics such as algebra, analysis or combinatorics.

ERC Consolidator Grants

enlarge the image: Porträtaufnahme von Professor Stefan Hallermann
Professor Stefan Hallermann. Photo: Swen Reichhold

Professor of Neuroscience Stefan Hallermann has been researching molecular and biophysical mechanisms in the brain in order to better understand the process of learning and memory since 2019. His Heisenberg professorship at the Faculty of Medicine culminated in his taking over the Chair of Physiology in 2018.

ERC Advanced Grants

enlarge the image:
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.

Prof. Dr. Axel Körner has been Professor of Recent Cultural History and History of Ideas at the Faculty of History, Arts and Regional Sciences since October 2021. He received the ERC Advanced Grant for his research on the role of opera in the Habsburg Monarchy. In the coming years, Prof. Dr. Axel Körner will focus his research on his ERC project and, in the longer term, on the field of European cultural history and the history of ideas in their transnational and global interconnections.

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.

enlarge the image: 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

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

enlarge the image: 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.

  • The biologist Nico Eisenhauer was awarded the prize in 2014. He teaches and researches at the Institute of Biology and at the iDiv research centre.
  • The chemist Jonas Warneke was awarded the prize in 2022. Jonas Warneke researches with his Freigeist research group at the Insitute for Physical Chemistry. 
  • Climate researcher Sebastian Sippel will receive the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize in 2024. Sebastian Sippel is a junior professor of climate attribution at the Institute of Meteorology.

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Leibniz Professorship

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