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Accomplishments by Members of the University

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.

Prize Winners

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.

Award Winners

  • 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)

Current figures

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

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.