• Prof. Dr. Bénédicte Savoy, Brain City Berlin

    TU professor Dr. Bénédicte Savoy receives Berliner Wissenschaftspreis

The award was presented to the art historian on Tuesday in the Brain City Berlin. The Young Scientist Award (Nachwuchspreis) also went to a researcher from TU Berlin: Dr. Anja Maria Wagemans. The junior professor researches the development of new food products. The Berlin Science Award was awarded for the 15th time.

Prof. Dr. Bénédicte Savoy, Professor of Modern Art History at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin), received the Berliner Wissenschaftspreis (Berlin Science Award) from Kai Wegner in the Rotes Rathaus. One of the first official acts of the new Governing Mayor of Berlin, who highlighted the outstanding achievements of the internationally renowned art historian in his speech. “Bénédicte Savoy makes a decisive contribution to coming to terms with European colonial history and to an enlightened cultural policy. With her research, she not only provided historically important insights into art theft and German and French museum practice, but also initiated a long overdue debate,” says Wegner. Her work has thereby contributed significantly to a rethinking of how to deal with exhibited looted objects in Europe. “In many places, objects are now being returned to their country of origin. I am delighted that she has chosen Berlin as her home and is enriching the city’s scientific landscape with her research work.”

Bénédicte Savoy has already received numerous awards, including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award 2016. Time Magazine listed her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2021. Her research focuses on art and cultural transfer in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, museum history, art theft and looted art, Franco-German relations and translocation research. One example shows how influential her research is: In 2018, she was commissioned by the French President Emmanuel Macron as an expert on “translocations” of works of art to work with the Senegalese scholar Prof. Dr. Felwine Sarr to make recommendations for dealing with cultural objects from the former African colonies. In response to the report, France became the first European country to return 26 objects to the Republic of Benin. Debates sparked by her research also led to Germany returning valuable cultural assets to Nigeria in 2022.

Young Scientist Award for Dr. Anja Maria Wagemans

This year’s Young Scientist Award also went to a scientist from TU Berlin. Dr. Anja Maria Wagemans is Junior professor for Food Colloids at the Institute of Food Technology and Food Chemistry at TU Berlin. She researches the development of innovative vegan and vegetarian food products. In doing so, she works at the interface of health, nutritional policy and sustainability and also works with Berlin start-ups. Her current research projects: “Extruded and 3D-printed vegan support structures for cultured meat” and “Optimisation of structure formation in mixed vegetable protein gels”.

What made Kai Wegner particularly happy: This year’s award winners illustrate with their work how diverse Berlin’s research landscape is. “In international competition, Berlin’s science institutions show that they can attract the brightest minds. The outstanding achievements of the award winners strengthen Berlin as a science location and are a role model for the city.” Prof. Dr. Geraldine Rauch, President of the TU Berlin, also emphasised that both Bénédicte Savoy and Anja Maria Wagemans are strong role models, “not only as researchers and university teachers, but also as science managers”. At the same time, both of them showed the wide range of topics at the TU Berlin with their research priorities.

The Berliner Wissenschaftspreis, worth 40,000 Euro, has been awarded annually since 2008. It honours outstanding achievements in science and research and is intended to promote them further in a targeted manner. An important role in the selection of award winners is that the research can also be implemented in a practice-oriented manner. The prize money goes in each case to the institution where the research achievement was made. The Young Scientist Award honours innovative research approaches in a field of the future in Berlin that are of particular importance for the science and business location. It is endowed with 10,000 Euro and is awarded exclusively to scientists who are no more than 35 years old. (vdo)



Dr. Anja Maria Wagemans, junior professor at the Institute of Food Technology and Food Chemistry at TU Berlin. © Felix Noak

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