German scholars receive Taiwan’s top prize for foreign academics

Three German scholars are winners of the 10th Tsungming Tu Award, the highest honor bestowed on foreign academics by the Republic of China (Taiwan) government, the Ministry of Science and Technology announced March 14.

Gerhard Bohrmann, a professor at the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen; Hannah Monyer, head of the Department of Clinical Neurobiology at the University of Heidelberg; and Michael Lackner, a professor of Chinese studies at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, were each presented with an award and research grant of US$75,000 at a ceremony in Taipei City.

According to the MOST, Bohrmann was selected for his contributions to marine and geochemical research. He is credited with developing new technologies to better study seafloor fluid flow dynamics and diagenesis and has served as the chief scientist on more than 30 international research cruises. Bohrmann has also devoted considerable time to promoting ocean sciences among schoolchildren.

A noted researcher in mechanisms related to learning and memory, Monyer holds memberships in many prestigious scientific groups, including the European Molecular Biology Organization and the German Academy of Sciences. In 2004, she won the German Leibniz Prize, her nation's highest research honor, and two years later received the Philip Morris Research Prize, one of Germany's most prestigious science awards.

The first scholar with a background in humanities to win the Tsungming Tu Award, the multilingual Lackner is the chair of Chinese studies and director of the International Consortium for Research at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. He has explored a diverse array of topics during his career, including literati practices in the Song and Yuan dynasties and the Jesuit mission in China.

Conferred upon foreign scholars by the MOST under an agreement signed between the ministry and Bonn-based Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2006, the award is named for Tu Tsung-ming (1893-1986), Taiwan's first medical doctor, in honor of his contributions to medical education, research and policymaking.

According to the MOST, the prize aims to enhance the nation's global visibility in academic research and promote scholarly exchanges between Taiwan and Germany. To date, 15 German scholars have received the honor.

The pact also established a reciprocal research award of 60,000 euros (US$63,740) for Taiwan academics, with the latest recipients being astrophysics scholar Paul T. P. Ho and chemistry professor Lee Yuan-pern, both academicians at Academia Sinica, Taiwan's foremost research institution. They will be honored at a ceremony in Germany later this month.

Source: Taiwan Today