The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is the most prestigious award for scientists and scholars at German research institutions. Each year, the prize is awarded to up to ten researchers who have produced outstanding work at an early stage in their academic career and are expected to have an ongoing impact on the German research environment.
The Leibniz Prize was established by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) in 1985. The award money is intended to improve the working conditions of prizewinners by relieving them of administrative tasks and making it easier for them to employ well qualified young researchers.
To date (as of 2021), the prize, which carries an endowment of up to 2.5 million Euros, has been awarded to 23 members of the Technical University of Munich (TUM).
Full Professor of Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry (Department of Medicine)
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Ruland received the Leibniz Prize 2021 for his outstanding scientific work in the field of immunology, which has led to a fundamentally new understanding of signal transduction pathways in immune and cancer cells. Prof. Ruland focuses on signaling processes in the immune system, both normal and disturbed in disease. With his research group, he investigates how immune cells recognize pathogens, initiate immune defense, and how pathologically altered signals in blood cells lead to the development of cancer. The aim is to provide the basis for therapeutic manipulation of the immune system. Among his most important scientific findings is an "emergency stop" switch for faulty cells that he and his team discovered in 2017.
Full Professor of Organic Chemistry (Department of Chemistry)
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bach received the Leibnizpreis in 2020 for his pioneering work in the field of photochemistry and particularly light-induced enantioselective catalysis. By showing that photochemistry is suitable for the production of chiral molecules, Thorsten Bach has opened up a new field of research, known internationally today as photoredox catalysis. His development of a special catalyst for targeted deracemization reactions enables new fields of application in many areas of chemical synthesis, such as pharmaceutical production.
Full Professor of Database Systems (Department of Informatics)
Prof. Dr. Thomas Neumann received the Leibnizpreis in 2020 for his internationally recognized work on the efficient management and analysis of large data volumes. With the development of the new, outstandingly powerful HyPer database system, he has realigned the research area of main memory database systems, which is also relevant for business and society, and provided important impulses for international research.
Full Professor of Robotics Science and Systems Intelligence (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering/Department of Informatics)
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sami Haddadin received the Leibnizpreis in 2019 for his pioneering research in the field of robotics. The award particularly recognises his work at the interface between humans and machines, where he investigates the foundations of safe, intuitive and reliable physical human-robot interaction.
Honorary Professor of the Department of Chemistry
Prof. Dr. Brenda Schulman received the Leibniz Prize in 2019 for her important work in the fields of biochemistry and structural biology on the molecular mechanisms of the ubiquitin system.
Full Professor of Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (Department of Informatics)
Prof. Dr. Daniel Cremers received the Leibniz Prize in 2016 for his pioneering research in the field of mathematical image processing and pattern recognition. The objective of this research is to improve the ability of machines to analyse and interpret image data.
Full Professor of Experimental Biophysics (Department of Physics)
Prof. Dr. Hendrik Dietz received the Leibniz Prize in 2015 for his internationally reputed work in the field of bio-nanotechnology. His research into the mechanical and structural properties of proteins open up new horizons for the development of DNA-based “nano-machines”.
Full Professor of Biological Imaging (TUM School of Medicine)
Prof. Dr. Vasilis Ntziachristos received the Leibniz Prize in 2013 for his internationally highly respected contributions to optical imaging. The methods he developed gave new impetus to basic research and the treatment of patients.
Full Professor of Numerical Analysis (Department of Mathematics)
Prof. Dr. Barbara Wohlmuth received the Leibniz Prize in 2012 for her research in the field of domain decomposition methods. These methods make it possible to simplify complex, coupled problems in solid mechanics and fluid mechanics.
Full Professor of Biomedical Physics (Department of Physics)
Prof. Dr. Franz Pfeiffer received the Leibniz Prize in 2011 for his research into the development of phase-contrast imaging with X-rays, which promises substantial progress in the early diagnosis of tumours.
Full Professor of Theoretical Computer Science (Department of Informatics) since 2013
Prof. Dr. Susanne Albers received the Leibniz Prize in 2008 for her research into efficient algorithms in computer science. On the basis of her work, she succeeded in making major improvements to online and approximation algorithms.
Full Professor of Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics (Department of Physics) since 2012
Prof. Dr. Martin Beneke received the Leibniz Prize in 2008. His research is contributing to the examination of the theoretical concepts of elementary particle physics, making it possible to identify any discrepancies and allowing entirely new structures to be discovered.
Full Professor of Theoretical Information Technology (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) since 2010
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Boche received the Leibniz Prize in 2008 for his contribution to the development of mobile communications technology. His theoretical work has expanded our understanding of complex mobile communications systems and he has also implemented his findings technically for the standardisation of new mobile communications networks.
Director of the Friedrich Schiedel endowed chair of neuroscience (TUM School of Medicine) since 2005
Prof. Dr. Arthur Konnerth received the Leibniz Prize in 2001.
Full Professor of Mechanical Engineering Materials (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jean Karen Gregory received the Leibniz Prize in 1997.
In brackets: Year in which the award was received
* = not at TUM when the award was received
The information provided was current at the time the award was received.