A sixth sense for outstanding young scientists.
The Ernst Haage-Prize is a special form of promotion aimed at junior scientists. It honours young scientists and apprentices for outstanding achievements, and acknowledges excellent basic scientific research in the field of chemical energy conversion.
As a little girl, Ursula Bonnen played on the grounds of the former Kaiser Wilhelm Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim an der Ruhr. She ran races against young doctors, whom she later encountered again as managers in her parents’ house – her father cultivated contact with them as a source of inspiration and motivation for his company, which made scientific instruments and equipment.
“This had a profound impact on my life,” says the almost 87-year-old today. She decided to give something back by establishing a Foundation, which she named after her father Ernst Haage. Since, the Foundation specifically promotes young scientists by honouring their outstanding performances in the research field of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim each year. “I am very happy that I was able to create a worthy memorial to my father with this Prize,” explains Ursula Bonnen with pleasure. To ensure the importance and visibility of the Prize, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees continuously comes up with new ideas. Accordingly, since 2012, the Prize has been awarded in three categories:
- In the “Ernst Haage-Prize for Outstanding Research Achievements (national)” category, the Prize is advertised throughout Germany and is presented to German scientists or junior scientists working in Germany. In this way, the award highlights Germany’s importance as a thriving and successful science location.
- In the “Ernst Haage-Prize for Doctoral Students” category, scientists are honoured who have completed their doctorates with outstanding results at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in the previous year.
- And junior scientists are not the only ones whose work is honoured by the Foundation: above-average achievements by apprentices are also acknowledged through the Foundation’s “Apprenticeship Prize”, which was established in 2009.
In the latter category, in particular, the Foundation has frequently demonstrated its unerring instinct for high potentials: shortly after being awarded the Apprenticeship Prize of the Ernst Haage Foundation in 2010, Mario Dunsch, a physics laboratory technician, went on to win the local Chamber of Industry and Commerce award for his top exam performance and ultimately another award for the best exam results in the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia. Today, he is studying physics at the University of Bochum. The Ernst Haage Prize is presented at a ceremony held every December at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim.