The students, instructors, and researchers at Freie Universität include a large number of award winners, who hold distinctions including prestigious academic awards, individual honors, and prizes for theses and dissertations.
Nobel Laureates (since 1948)
Five Nobel laureates who teach or have taught at Freie Universität Berlin:
Ernst Ruska (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1986)
Professor Reinhard Selten (Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, 1994)
Professor Gerhard Ertl (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2007)
Professor Ulrich Cubasch (co-author of reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007)
Herta Müller (Nobel Prize in Literature, 2009)
German Research Foundation (DFG) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize
Seventeen scholars and scientists at Freie Universität have been awarded the Leibniz Prize since 1987. It is the highest endowed award in Germany.
- Wolfram Saenger, biochemistry (1987); Volker Erdmann, biochemistry (1987)
- Randolf Menzel, neurobiology (1991)
- Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit, Japanese studies (1992)
- Jürgen Kocka, history (1992)
- Johann Mulzer, organic chemistry (1994)
- Peter Schäfer, Jewish studies (1994)
- Emo Welzl, computer science (1995)
- Onno Oncken, geology (1998)
- Regine Hengge-Aronis, microbiology (1998)
- Joachim Küpper, Romance languages and literatures (2001)
- Günter Matthias Ziegler, mathematics (2001)
- Hélène Esnault, mathematics (2003)
- Rupert Klein, mathematics (2003)
- Gerhard Huisken (2003, honorary professorship at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science / Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics)
- Gabriele Brandstetter, theatre studies (2004)
- Gyburg Uhlmann, née Radke, classical languages and literatures (2006)
- Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gründler, Arabic Studies (2016)
Max Planck Research Award for International Cooperation
Seven scholars and scientists at Freie Universität have been distinguished with the Max Planck Research Award for international cooperation since 1990. The award is granted jointly by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Max Planck Society in honor of outstanding, internationally recognized scientific and academic achievements.
- Professor Klaus Möbius, experimental physics (1992)
- Professor Emo Welzl, computer science (1992)
- Professor Günter Schulz, physiology (1994)
- Professor Helga Haftendorn, political science (1995)
- Professor Ekkehard König, English language and literature (2002)
- Professor Thomas Risse, political science (2003)
- Professor Martin Vingron, adjunct professorship in bio-informatics / Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin (2004)
Grants of the European Research Council (ERC)
Nine scholars and scientists at Freie Universität are currently receiving support under the Advanced Investigator Grant program operated by the European Research Council (ERC). These highly endowed awards make it possible for researchers to realize outstanding and innovative fundamental research projects.
The ERC Consolidator Grant program is aimed at junior researchers seven to 12 years after earning a doctorate. Currently five researchers at Freie Universität are being supported with ERC Consolidator Grants.
With the ERC Starting Grants the European Research Council aims to support up-and-coming postdoctoral research leaders. The grant is expected to support the creation of excellent new research teams and the development of new ideas. Currently eleven researchers at Freie Universität are being supported with ERC Starting Grants.
Members of Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences
Fifteen scholars and scientists at Freie Universität are members of Leopoldina. The National Academy of Sciences is the oldest association of scholars of natural science and medicine in Germany. For scholars and researchers of natural sciences, being elected a member of Leopoldina is considered one of the highest distinctions granted by any institution in Germany.
Members of Leopoldina
- Professor Friedhelm von Blanckenburg, Department of Earth Sciences, Institute of Geological Sciences
- Professor Gabriele Brandstetter, Department of Philosophy and Humanities, Institute for Theatre Studies
- Professor Leo Brunnberg, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Clinic and Polyclinic
- Professor Regine Hengge, Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy, Institute of Biology/Microbiology
- Professor Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit, Department of History and Cultural Studies, Institute of Japanese Studies
- Professor Joachim Küpper, Department of Philosophy and Humanities, Peter Szondi Institute for General and Comparative Literature
- Professor Jörn Manz, Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy, Institute of Chemistry
- Professor Holger Martens, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Veterinary Physiology
- Professor Randolf Menzel, Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy, Institute of Biology
- Professor Angelika Neuwirth, Department of History and Cultural Studies, Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies
- Professor Johanna Plendl, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Veterinary Anatomy
- Professor Brigitta Schütt, Department of Earth Sciences, Institute of Geographical Sciences
- Professor Günter Schultz, Benjamin Franklin University Clinic (UKBF)
- Professor Klement Tockner, Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Institute of Geographical Sciences
- Professor Günter M. Ziegler, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Institute of Mathematics
Alexander von Humboldt Professorship - International Award for Research in Germany
Academics of all disciplines from abroad, who are internationally recognized as leaders in their field and who are expected to contribute to enhancing Germany's sustained international competitiveness as a research location in consequence of the award, are eligible to be nominated for an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship.
Sofja Kovalevskaja Awards from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Through the Sofja Kovalevskaja Awards outstanding junior researchers from abroad are given an opportunity to spend five years building up a working group and working on a high-profile, innovative research project of their own choice at a research institution of their choice in Germany. Since 2001 three award winners have chosen Freie Universität for their research.