"Science is back in the spotlight." - Expressed her delight Katalin Karikó. One of the 3 innovations nominated is "mRNA vaccines for humanity” for this year's Deutscher Zukunftspreis, the "German Future Prize".
Three projects are competing for the German Future Prize 2021 - after a multi-stage selection process: "Quantum computed tomography - revolutionary insights into the human body", "Sustainable tyres using dandelions - innovations in biology, technology and agriculture" and "mRNA vaccines for humanity - the first COVID-19 vaccine as the start of a new era in medicine".
Science in the spotlight
On the 17th of November 2021, the three competing projects from Forcheim, Münster and Mainz will be presented to a jury and the public.
The mRNA vaccine will be presented by the three founders of the BioNTech company in Mainz - Uğur Şahin, Özlem Türeci, Christoph Huber - and its vice-president, Katalin Karikó, honorary doctor and alumnus of the University of Szeged (SZTE).
The modern mRNA-based vaccine was the first vaccine to be licensed in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, its development and developers are also presented on the Deutscher Zukunftspreis website.
- I think it doesn't matter who wins, the thing that matters is that public attention is focused on science and research," said Katalin Karikó in response to our question on the odds.
Tomograph and Dandelion
- The latest tomograph has such high resolution and sensitivity that a person won't need to be cut open to see, for example, where a blood vessel is calcified," the SZTE alumnus explained.
It’s also the value of the Forchem development that the device can be used to make measurements that were not possible before.
The use of dandelions is also an interesting project because the development in Münster shows how researchers are trying to create sustainable materials. The Germans are also known to develop with focusing on not being dependent on others.
- Globalisation is a good thing," said Katalin Karikó, but she also drew attention to the experience of the pandemic: if products are produced outside the country, the region becomes dependent on it.
Award Ceremony on ZDF
A total of 85 projects competed for the German Future Prize between 1997 and 2020. The Deutscher Zukunftspreis is supported by major German scientific, trade and industrial associations and sponsors, it is awarded by the Federal President and includes a prize of €250,000 for the most innovative product of the year.
For the Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2021, 19 institutions have submitted nominations. From the 3 competing projects, the winner was chosen a jury consisting of 10 members, independent of science and practice.
The Deutscher Zukunftspreis is awarded by German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to "scientists, academics and engineers who have developed projects that offer solutions to pressing societal challenges through excellent basic and cutting-edge research", according to the German Future Prize website.
- "Finally, there will no longer be "celebrities eating the spider on TV", but responsible researchers at the centre," said Katalin Karikó with a smile on her face. "People will once again be able to learn about the research that scientists and engineers are working on, and they will also get an idea of how successful their work is.
As is tradition, the award ceremony will be broadcast live on German ZDF television on the 17th of November 2021 at 22:15 CET. See for yourself how 3 innovative projects compete for the German Future Prize!
SZTEinfo – Ilona Újszászi
Photo by Deutscher Zukunftspreis