Head of DFG division recognised for his promotion of European cooperation in research
The German Chemical Society has awarded the Carl Duisberg Medal to Dr. Karlheinz Schmidt for his efforts to establish a pan-European research funding network in chemistry. Dr. Schmidt is Head of the Chemistry and Process Engineering Division at the Head Office of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) in Bonn. He has been responsible for coordinating the European ERA Chemistry Network since its inception in 2004.
The Carl Duisberg Medal, founded in 1953 by Bayer AG, is awarded by the German Chemical Society to scientists who have made an outstanding contribution to promoting chemistry. Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Annie Dalbéra, a biologist from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, received this year's award for their achievements in promoting European cooperation in research. The medal recognises the scientists' commitment "which has enabled chemistry to become the first discipline in the natural sciences to receive a budget that is purely dedicated to funding young European researchers and transnational research projects. The prizewinners' dedication extends above and beyond the call of duty."
The ERA Chemistry Network is part of the European Commission's ERA-NET scheme, which aims to improve the coordination and networking of national research activities into joint projects and programmes. Applications are submitted not by the scientists, but by the national funding organisations themselves. Funding is awarded for networking, not for the research. Over the next three years, the ERA Chemistry Network project will enable ten research funding bodies from nine European countries to work under the central coordination of the DFG to explore methods for jointly evaluating transnational projects as efficiently as possible, and with a minimum of red tape. The ERA Chemistry Network has set itself the ambitious goal of laying the foundations for a European Research Area in chemistry without a supranational organising body. The idea of a common review process for research proposals, which would be accepted throughout Europe, was proposed by the Chairmen and Directors of European Research Councils' Chemistry Committees (CERC3). The ERA Chemistry Network continues to pursue this goal, and efforts have been strengthened. As the DFG representative, Dr. Schmidt is one of CERC3's founding members.
Dr. Karlheinz Schmidt was born in Witten an der Ruhr, Germany, on 18 March 1945. He studied chemistry in Göttingen, where he began his doctoral studies, and completed his doctorate in Dortmund. He has worked for the DFG since 1976 and has been Head of the Chemistry and Process Engineering Division since 2001. He has been involved in the promotion of international research since 1990, active in both European networking and as a member of the International Union of Pure and Advanced Chemistry Task Group on "international research funding in the chemical sciences".
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