Award CeremonyHighly Endowed Research Prize for Francisco Moreno-Fernández and Joacim Rocklöv
Press Release No. 35/2022
11 May 2022
The two academics engage in research as Humboldt Professors at Heidelberg University – award ceremony in Berlin
Germany’s best-endowed international research prize will be presented to Prof. Dr Joacim Rocklöv and Prof. Dr Francisco Moreno-Fernández at an award ceremony in Berlin on 12 May 2022. As internationally leading researchers in their field, they were selected for a Humboldt Professorship in order to be able to carry out their groundbreaking research at a German university on a long-term basis. At Ruperto Carola, the Spanish linguist Francisco Moreno-Fernández (prize-winner in 2020) directs the interdisciplinary Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies. Swedish epidemiologist Joacim Rocklöv (prize-winner in 2022) does research at Heidelberg University as Professor for Artificial Intelligence in the Researching of Climate-Sensitive Infectious Diseases. The prizes will be presented by Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger at a ceremony with all the prize-winners from 2020 to 2022, after a break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The professorship, worth up to five million euros, is awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Sociologist and Hispanist Francisco Moreno-Fernández – Professor of Ibero-American Linguistic, Cultural, and Social Studies at Heidelberg University – is one of the world’s most outstanding experts in analysing relations between language and society. His pioneering role is in an area of linguistics that takes into account societal realities and dynamics. This links up with his competence in implementing innovative research in institutional structures that enable a knowledge transfer inside and outside academia. At Ruperto Carola Prof. Moreno-Fernández has united, at both scholarly and organisational level, the existing and new competences on Ibero-America at the Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies (HCIAS). As HCIAS director he aims to systematically expand, from an interdisciplinary standpoint, this expertise with a view towards the three major areas of academic activity, namely research, teaching, and regional and trans-regional knowledge transfer. Since 1996 Francisco Moreno-Fernández has served as professor at the University of Alcalá in Madrid (Spain) and, before he was invited to accept a professorship at Heidelberg University, was working at Harvard University (USA). There he was director of the Instituto Cervantes and responsible for the Observatory of the Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures in the United States.
The cross-disciplinary research by Prof. Rocklöv is based at the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health of the Medical Faculty Heidelberg and, at the same time, at the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing – a central research institution at Heidelberg University. Previously based at Umeå University (Sweden), epidemiologist, mathematician and statistician Joacim Rocklöv uses his professorship at Ruperto Carola to work on how to use methods of artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning, and of data science in order to gain a new understanding of the spread of infectious diseases. The aim is to develop new strategies for timely and more effective interventions, for example in the context of zoonoses and pandemic preparedness. The research will give special consideration to the study of the impacts of climatic and environmental changes on global health. For field research and causal studies, Prof. Rocklöv collaborates closely with Prof. Dr Dr Till Bärnighausen, director of the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health. As the prize-winner of 2016, Prof. Bärnighausen likewise received a Humboldt Professorship.
Eligible for nomination for the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship are researchers from abroad who have an internationally leading position in their field. With support from the award they are expected to make a sustainable academic contribution through their research works to the international competitiveness of Germany as research location. The prize money is meant for financing the first five years. Besides Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr Hans-Christian Pape, president of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, will also attend the award ceremony for the 21 Humboldt Professors from 2020 to 2022.