© Jan Zappner


Photo of Dr. Ricarda  Opitz
Dr. Ricarda Opitz
Head of Division | Deputy Secretary General
Resarch Infrastructures
Leibniz Association
Chausseestraße 111
10115 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 / 20 60 49 - 57

Hans-Olaf Henkel Award for Science Policy

From 2007-2013, the Leibniz Association granted an award for outstanding achievements in advancing science in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Award for Science Policy, which was bestowed every other year, honoured individuals’ outstanding dedication to the sciences and the positive effects of their work on the public recognition of science.

The award was named in commemoration of Hans-Olaf Henkel's term of office as President of the Leibniz Association from 2001 to 2005, and in appreciation of his involvement in other scientific organisations. Hans-Olaf Henkel was a Senator of the Max Planck Society (1990 to 2005), the Helmholtz Association (2001 to 2005) and the Leibniz Association (1998 to 2001) as well as executive board member of the Stifterverband (Donors' Association, from 1987 to 2000).


Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schipanski

Dagmar Schipanski, former chair of the German Council of Science and Humanities (1996 to 1998) and Minister of Science, Research and the Arts of the Land Thüringen (1999 to 2004), received the award in particular for her work in integrating former GDR non-university research institutes into the reunified German science system.

The jury hailed Schipanski as a key player in the process of restructuring East German science and unifying the German science system. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German Council of Science and Humanities evaluated the institutes of the former Academy of Sciences of the GDR. Those institutions that were deemed effective and worthy of support were incorporated into what was then called the 'Blue List', today’s Leibniz Association. From the mid-1990s, Schipanski was the linchpin in the phase of consolidating and establishing a reunited research landscape.

In addition, the jury pointed out that Schipanski – unlike most other scientists and even fewer women scientists – also played a highly visible and effective political role beyond academia. She ran for the office of Federal President in 1999 and was President of the Parliament of the Land Thüringen from 2004 to 2009.


Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Wolfgang Frühwald

Wolfgang Frühwald was a member of the German Council of Science and Humanities from 1982 to 1987, President of the German Research Foundation (DFG) from 1992 to 1997, and President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation from 1999 to 2007.

The independent jury praised Frühwald's integrating role as President of the DFG after German reunification and the extraordinary dedication with which he enhanced the reputation of German science worldwide. Frühwald secured international recognition for Germany as a research location, increasing its appeal for top international researchers at all career stages. At the same time, he helped shape Germany's cosmopolitan image.


Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Benno Parthier

Benno Parthier was honoured especially for his outstanding contributions to the creation of a nationwide German research area and the successful unification of diverging science systems. This included integrating research institutes belonging to the GDR Academy of Sciences into the German science system after reunification as well as reforming the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. It is mainly due to his efforts that integration was achieved and peace maintained during the unification of the systems.

Benno Parthier became a Professor of Molecular Biology at the Academy of Sciences of the GDR in 1975. In 1990, he was appointed Director of the Institute for the Biochemistry of Plants, today's Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry in Halle, and President of the Leopoldina. As a member of the German-German Commission of the Council of Science and Humanities, he was faced with the difficult role of mediator between scientists in the new and the old Länder, between politics and science. The Leibniz Association, in the process of being established after reunification, gained in national standing by incorporating the 34 most effective institutions in the Academy of Sciences of the GDR. As a quiet, but excellent President of the Leopoldina – an academy that, after all, spawned 160 Nobel laureates – Benno Parthier worked with the politicians to construct a viable framework that would secure the Academy and its rich tradition for the long term. In all the offices he has held, and which he has managed with humility and determination, Benno Parthier has rendered outstanding services to science and to Germany.