Körber European Science Prize
Photo: Friedrun Reinhold
Awarded annually, the Körber European Science Prize honours a distinguished scientist actively conducting research in the fields of either Life Sciences or Physical Sciences in Europe. With prize money totalling €1,000,000, we strive to support outstanding scientists in their endeavours and promote innovative research with future promise.
Körber-Prize winner Svante Pääbo receives the Nobel Prize in Medicine
We congratulate to Svante Pääbo on his Nobel Prize in Medicine. His work has revolutionised our understanding of the evolutionary history of modern humans; it has been significantly conducive to the realisation that Neanderthals and other extinct human groups have contributed to the ancestry of present-day humans. One of his most important scientific breakthroughs was the decoding of the Neanderthal genome. The Swedish scientist is thus considered the founder of paleogenetics.
In 2018, Svante Paäbo was awarded the Körber Prize for European Science, endowed with one million euros, and is now the 8th laureate to also later receive the Nobel Prize. This underscores how well the members of the Körber Prize Board of Trustees and the Search Committee know top-level research in Europe.
Svante Pääbo studied Egyptology and Medicine at Uppsala University. As a postgraduate, writing his PhD in immunology, he also demonstrated that DNA can survive in ancient Egyptian mummies and thus gained professional fame as a pioneer in the new field of palaeogenetics. After completing his doctorate, Pääbo worked in the team of evolutionary biologist Allan Wilson at the University of California in Berkeley. From 1990 he headed his own laboratory at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. In 1997 Pääbo became one of five directors at the newly founded Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, where he is still active.
European Science. Worldwide Knowledge.
“Neanderthals are the closest relations of humans. Comparisons of their genome with that of humans today or with those of other extinct hominins and chimpanzees provide precise molecular biological answers to fundamental questions concerning our evolutionary origin.”
Svante Pääbos Forschung im Porträt
Svante Pääbo erhält den Körber-Preis für die Europäische Wissenschaft
About the Körber Prize
In 1984, our founder Kurt A. Körber established the Körber European Science Prize to honor scientific excellence in Europe. Kurt Körber’s initial idea was to support scientists in the realisation of forward-looking ideas. Only projects that promised "a significant contribution to the improvement of living conditions on our planet" were to be honored. For almost forty years now, the Search Committees and the Trustee Committee have sought to live up to this claim when selecting Körber Prize winners.
„Over recent years, the Körber European Science Prize has developed into a high-ranking European science prize. In the last ten years alone, the Körber Prize winners included seven scientists who were later awarded the Nobel Prize.“
Prof. Dr. Martin Stratmann
President of the Max-Planck-Society and Chairman of the Trustee Committee for the Körber Prize.
With the Körber Prize, Kurt A. Körber also pursued a political objective. When the prize was established in the 1980s, one of its aims was to use science to make the then still existing Iron Curtain between Eastern and Western Europe more permeable. In the first few years, the prize was awarded to research groups, but since 2005 it has been awarded to outstanding individuals conducting research at a European institution.
We are convinced that investing in fundamental research in Europe is more important than ever to keep up with the global competition for the best minds and ideas.
"It was important to the founder to emphasise three ideas: Germany, Europe and the future. The prize was intended to promote research in Europe."
First Chairman of the Körber Prize Trustee Committee between 1984 - 1996