The Prize

Message from the Federal President

“You can achieve a great deal if you just believe you can do it.” This comment from Wilhelm von Humboldt encapsulates the spirit of the Deutscher Zukunftspreis, the German President's Award for Innovation in Science and Technology. For me, it stands for the courage that is at the heart of every innovation, i.e. the courage to come up with a new idea and also put it into action. The Deutscher Zukunftspreis was instituted 20 years ago to inspire such courage.

This prize rewards outstanding scientific innovations that are also marketable and create jobs. It is a prize for ideas that lead to success. These ideas also lead to success because the Zukunftspreis responds time and again to pressing social issues and identifies possible solutions. It is both a useful prize and one that looks to the future.

Behind the successes crowned by the Zukunftspreis are people that display not only great creativity and ability but also great determination. In the history of research, some good ideas were initially considered sheer lunacy and some leaps off the beaten track were called absurd. The winners of the Deutscher Zukunftspreis have one thing in common: they believe in themselves and have thus achieved a great deal that is of benefit to them and to us all. Roman Herzog said that “the ability to innovate starts in your head”. At the same time, it becomes fertile soil for future advances in our society. Our society needs the courage of the men and women working in research and innovation - it is this courage that I would like to reward with the Zukunftspreis. Last but not least, this prize should encourage people to focus on innovations that can often radically change our daily lives.

I am already curious to see what interesting projects are nominated this year and I am looking forward to an exciting awards ceremony on 29 November 2017!

Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Federal President