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Press Release

08.12.2020 // (08/20) [EN]

New Einstein Foundation Award for Promoting Quality in Research

The Einstein Foundation Berlin has announced an international award to provide publicity for researchers and institutions seeking to improve the quality of research. The €500,000 Einstein Foundation Award for Promoting Quality in Research will honor researchers and institutions whose work helps to advance the quality and robustness of research findings. The award – the first of its kind – is funded by the Damp Stiftung, with Nature Research supporting the call for entries and helping to establish the award. The first awardees will be announced in November 2021 in Berlin.


Evidence-based research, reliable standards to ensure quality of research, and open access to new findings are more important than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic has once again shown. Which hypotheses, methods, and data are selected, how they are used, and whether a study can lead to subsequent research – these are factors that need to be made transparent and corroborated by evidence, not only in order to enhance scientific rigor, but also because the public is developing a growing interest in understanding how research is conducted. Against this background, the Einstein Foundation Award will honor measures and projects across all scientific disciplines that work to build research quality. “The award seeks to raise awareness of how crucial it is to build trust in science by pushing for transparent scientific standards,” said Günter Stock, Chair of the Einstein Foundation’s Executive Board. “Especially in a knowledge society in which research is increasingly fast-paced.”


The award will be presented in three categories to individual researchers, institutions, and early career researchers. A total of €500,000 is awarded annually, generously funded by the Damp Stiftung for a period of ten years. “Only by recognizing and honoring the perpetual efforts to improve the quality of research, not only within the research community, but also in public, can we hope to see research that lives up to its expectations,” emphasized Jürgen Zöllner, outlining the Damp Foundation’s commitment. “The award is not only aimed at researchers and institutions, but also at funders and politicians,” added Dieter Imboden, president of the award’s interdisciplinary jury. Further members of the international jury include Alvin Roth, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, and Julie Maxton, Executive Director of the Royal Society. “In recent years, Berlin has grown to become a renowned science and research hub recognized for its innovative research and fresh approaches to international cooperation, not least thanks to the work of the Einstein Foundation,” said Berlin’s Governing Mayor and Higher Education and Research Senator, Michael Müller. “Supported by an international jury of renowned experts from across various disciplines, the Einstein Foundation’s new award is a milestone that will help strengthen research throughout the world,” he continued. “I thank the Damp Foundation for its generous support and am very happy that we will be able to launch this major prize in Berlin.”


Nature Research will be supporting the Einstein Foundation in publicizing the call for applications to encourage best practices and ethical conduct in the sciences. The award will honor researchers and institutions that have, for instance, made research data more accessible (open science), or developed or implemented recommendations, measures, or guidelines to advance the quality of their research. Individuals or teams that have contributed groundbreaking approaches that help to validate and make accessible research findings, or that help to identify good scientific practice, or possible weaknesses in research, are also eligible to apply or be nominated. Magdalena Skipper, Editor-in-Chief of Nature said: “Reproducibility is paramount in research, so thatresults can be trusted and built upon. This fundamental principle lies at the very heart of the research process. At Nature, we have taken substantive steps to improve the transparency and robustness in what we publish, and to promote awareness within the scientific community. We are proud to partner with the Einstein Foundation to raise awareness of the importance of research quality and to reward those who champion it.”


The award office is headed by Ulrich Dirnagl, Founding Director of the QUEST Center at the Berlin Institute of Health, which seeks to enhance the value and impact of biomedical research. The first award ceremony will take place in November 2021 in Berlin. Nominations and applications can be submitted until March 31, 2021, via the award’s website at www.einsteinfoundation.de/award.


The Einstein Foundation Berlin is an independent, not-for-profit, science-led organization established as a foundation under civil law in 2009. Since then, its task has been to promote international cutting-edge science and research across disciplines and institutions in and for Berlin. To date, it has funded 172 researchers, including three Nobel laureates, 71 projects, and six Einstein Centers.


The Damp Stiftung was established by Dr. Walter Wübben, the former majority owner of the Klinikgruppe Damp, to fund medical research and teaching as well as social projects. Besides supporting the Einstein Foundation Award for Promoting Quality in Research, the Damp Stiftung also provides funding for the Einstein Foundation’s Einstein Strategic Professorships program, which recruits top researchers from abroad who are crucial in building Berlin’s reputation as a leading science and research hub. 


Further information: www.einsteinfoundation.de/award