Curious Minds

Insights into the future-oriented research of the young awardees.


The Curious-Mind-Forscherpreis

German companies are becoming world market leaders through technological innovations. This is how Germany secures its prosperity and social welfare as a business location even today. These innovations do not succeed on their own. Apart from funding, young researchers require impetus, support and official recognition. The Curious-Mind-Forscherpreis recognizes young scientists under the age of 40 whose work not only demonstrates the highest level of academic excellence, but also indicates that it will provide impetus for the future of the German economy. The Curious-Mind-Forscherpreis is awarded in two categories, which change each year.

The four Curious-Mind-Forscherpreis categories are:

  • Life Science
  • Digitization & Robotics
  • Materials & Active Substances
  • Mobility & Energy

Awardees of the Curious-Mind-Forscherpreis

These young scientists were honored in their respective fields and disciplines with the Curious-Mind-Forscherpreis.

Xiaoying Zhuang

Awardee 2019
Continuum Mechanics
Category: Materials & Active Substances

More information
Sascha Fahl

Awardee 2018
IT Security
Category: Digitalization & Robotics

More information
Barbara Grüner

Awardee 2018
Tumor Biology and Therapy Research
Category: Life Science

More information

Who is selected as a Curious Mind?

The candidates for the two categories of the Curious-Mind-Forscherpreis are determined in accordance with a complex procedure. Only those who have already been awarded a renowned scientific honor in relevant disciplines, such as the Heinz-Maier-Leibnitz Prize or the Otto Hahn Medal, who have received highly qualified funding, for example under the Emmy Noether Program of the German Research Foundation, or who head an independent junior research group, for example at the Helmholtz Association, are eligible to apply.

The application documents must clearly show the economic benefit of the applicant’s current research, as well as the objectives for commercial implementation of the findings. Based on this information, the high-ranking jury then selects the respective prizewinner in both categories. In addition to renowned general researchers, the jury includes top managers from innovative companies and high-ranking scientific experts.

The listed jury refers to the currently evaluated categories.

Jury “Life Science”

  • Jochen Maas
    General Manager Sanofi-Aventis Germany GmbH
  • Bernd Müller-Röber
    Professor at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
  • Holger Zinke
    Founder and Member of the Supervisory Board Brain Biotech AG

Jury “Digitalization & Robotics”

  • Sabine Bendiek
    Chairman of the Executive Board Microsoft Germany GmbH
  • Ulrich Dietz
    Founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board GFT Technologies SE
  • Stefan Sigg
    Chief Product Officer and Head of R&D  Software AG

Jury “Interdisciplinary”

  • Rafael Laguna de la Vera
    Founding director of the German Agency for Disruptive Innovation in Leipzig
  • Martin Noé
    Chief Editor manager magazin
  • Stefan Oschmann
    Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
  • Otmar Wiestler
    President of the Helmholtz Society

Klaus Griesar

Head of Science Relations

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