Research PrizesThe Lautenschläger Research Prize

Prize Winner 2018: Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Meier

Experimental physicist Prof. Dr Karlheinz Meier, founder of neuromorphic computing at Heidelberg University, is being honoured posthumously with the 2018 Lautenschläger Research Prize. The 250,000-euro prize will go to his research group at the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics. “His enthusiasm for experimental physics, his curiosity for the fundamental questions of physics, and his courage to forge new technological pathways were the driving forces behind his extraordinary life in science,” states the award sponsor and Honorary Senator at Ruperto Carola Dr h.c. Manfred Lautenschläger.

Press Release

Three essentials for a research prize: a renowned university, a generously endowed award and a donor

The Lautenschläger Research Prize of Heidelberg University dates from 2001 and is awarded to outstanding scientists or scholars actively engaged in research. It is endowed with 250,000 euros. The award is designed to support recipients in the realisation of incipient or ongoing research projects and more especially to encourage international cooperation in the relevant field and the involvement of upcoming generations of scholars and scientists in those projects.

Recipients of the Prize will be either internationally respected members of Heidelberg University  itself or researchers from elsewhere with a distinctive and intensive record of academic collaboration with the University.

Scientists and scholars from all disciplines are eligible for the Prize, whether they are active in the sciences and medicine, the arts and humanities or the social sciences. In terms of eligibility, no distinction is made between application-oriented and basic research.

The Lautenschläger Research Prize for Junior Researchers

The Lautenschläger Research Prize for Junior Reseachers is endowed with 25,000 euros and is intended to promote excellent young researchers in the long term. The prize is awarded to habilitants, junior research group leaders and junior professors who can demonstrate outstanding scientific achievements and particularly innovative research approaches. The prize money is intended to support young researchers in their personal scientific development and their research activities.

Prize Winner 2018: Dr Claudia Backes

Claudia Backes has been with Heidelberg University since 2015. At the Institute for Physical Chemistry, she leads a junior research group funded by the German Research Foundation as part of the Emmy Noether Programme. Her chosen line of research in the field of nanomaterials is extremely current. Using special processes, Dr Backes exfoliates layered crystals of various chemical compositions to individual sheets, thus generating new ultra-thin nanomaterials.

Press Release


Opening Remarks

"Cutting-edge international research at Heidelberg University or in cooperation with researchers at Ruperto Carola is recognised through the renowned Lautenschläger Research Prize, which is endowed with 250,000 euros. An interdisciplinary board of internationally networked researchers ensures that the selected endeavours are of the highest quality. The prize is open to researchers from all disciplines, and hence well suited to Heidelberg University’s profile as a comprehensive university of excellence. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the sponsor of this award, our Honorary Senator Dr. h. c. Manfred Lautenschläger."
Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Bernhard Eitel


The Donor

"Top-quality research is costly, scientists and scholars invest time and know-how, the community profits from it. I want to support this process of give and take to the tune of a quarter of a million euros. We can draw a parallel to the way things work in private enterprise. Someone has a good idea and the courage to branch out on his own. Give him financial support and he’ll know exactly what to do with it. I imagine things are much the same for a scholar or scientist. He may be, say, a quarter of the way to completing a research project. If he gets the Prize, it will be a very welcome influx of funds. Or someone may hit on some exciting findings during his routine research work and need extra money to follow the matter up."
Dr h.c. Manfred Lautenschläger


About Manfred Lautenschläger
Manfred Lautenschläger, born in Karlsruhe in 1938, is chairman of the supervisory board of MLP-AG, Heidelberg. His special affinities with this city and its University date back to his student days, part of which he spent in Heidelberg. In 1998 he was made an Honorary Senator of Heidelberg University. His aim in donating this award is to encourage research and help provide the financial resources it requires.

Portrait Dr. h. c. Manfred Lautenschläger