Leipzig biodiversity researcher receives 2021 leibniz prize

The Joint Committee of the German Research Foundation (DFG) awarded the 2021 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize to four female and six male researchers. One of them is Nico Eisenhauer, Professor of Experimental Interaction Ecology at Leipzig University since 2014 and head of a working group at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig. The awards are endowed with 2.5 million euros each.

Leibniz Prize winner 2021: Professor Nico Eisenhauer.
Leibniz Prize winner 2021: Professor Nico Eisenhauer. Photo: iDiv, Christian Hüller

“The Leibniz Prize for Nico Eisenhauer honours his outstanding work on the effects of global change on biodiversity and ecosystem functions,” reads the DFG’s justification. At the age of 40, the youngest prizewinner is “already one of the leading scientists in his field”. The jury found that Eisenhauer’s research has yielded “significant advances in ecological theory and a fundamental understanding of the functional significance of biodiversity”. In 2014, Eisenhauer already received the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize and was appointed professor at Leipzig University. He is the spokesperson of the Jena Experiment, one of the world’s best-known biodiversity studies. In 2016 he was awarded a prestigious Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). Eisenhauer shared his initial thoughts on the news this afternoon: “I can hardly believe it, this is amazing! I am very happy for my fantastic team, which I can now continue to employ and support. We want to further advance functional biodiversity research, including in our MyDiv experiment in Bad Lauchstädt. It is important to focus more on research into soil biodiversity.”

Professor Nico Eisenhauer in the lab. Photo: iDiv, Christian Hüller

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is the most important research award in Germany. The Leibniz Programme, established in 1985, aims to improve the working conditions of outstanding researchers, expand their research opportunities, relieve them of administrative tasks, and help them employ particularly qualified early career researchers.  The awards are endowed with 2.5 million euros each. The prizewinners can use this money for their research work for up to seven years, following their own ideas and without bureaucratic red tape. The 2021 Leibniz Prizes will be awarded during an online event on 15 March.

Source: Universität Leipzig

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