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3 Innovative Projects Compete for the "German Future Prize"!

"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

SZTE Experience


Hamza Baniata – Faculty of Science and Informatics

I am Hamza Baniata, a first-year student at the Doctoral School of Computer Science, and I am From Jordan. SZTE is continuously supporting research and it has an internationally recognized, highly ranked group of professors. It also offers courses and research topics that are strongly related to my research field; Cloud Computing, Fog Computing and Internet of Things. All of this motivated me to apply to the University/Department of Software Engineering. Szeged is a calm city, full of love and peace. The University of Szeged is similar to the city, which provides the perfect environment for creation and development. Studying at the university requires a high level of effort, commitment and seriousness. Applying to the university and having these characteristics are my two pieces of advice to prospective students. It is very early to define my future now, but I am planning to apply to a research position in my field after graduation and if I had the opportunity, I would love to contribute my effort and knowledge in advancing such a wonderful and respected university.

93292160_608489396406408_4799535565693255680_oOlney Rodrigues - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

My name is Olney Rodrigues de Oliveira and I am from Brazil. I am currently pursuing my PhD studies in the Doctoral School of Education at SZTE. I chose the University of Szeged because it’s one of the best universities in Europe, especially in the field of education. I personally love Szeged because it is safe and I love the architecture, the cultural events, the local Market Mars Tér and so many other beautiful destinations. For my studies I wanted to have an excellent university in a good quality life city and Szeged offers me that. It’s neither too big nor too small, I can ride my bike to go to my classes and practically everything is within a walking distance. I would advise the prospective students to enjoy the city during their stay, the cultural and historical events, know other international students and make a lot of friends, visit other cities in Hungary and make good memories. I am pretty sure that you will be proud of this priceless experience. Before coming to Hungary I worked several years as a teacher. I love the academic environment, the libraries, relationship with students and the feeling to be involved in the acquisition of new knowledge. That is why I plan to be part of a University as a professor as well as to keep researching in different aspects of the process of education. I am so thankful to be here and I believe that the Universe brought me to Szeged because the city and the University are the experience that I need in my life now.