The Owl

The Prize

n today's com­pe­ti­tive, hec­tic, often erra­tic, money-ori­ent­ed, in­crea­sing­ly ideo­logi­cally tinged, and mostly short-lived sci­ence and research, places of quiet dis­cus­sion free from strife are rare, and, though ge­neral­ly preached, broad-based inter­dis­ci­pli­nary ex­change usual­ly remains minor-league.

Single outstanding scientists have become a rarity. They still exist; how­ever, in most cases re­search and aca­de­mia re­quire teams, orga­nized as a net­work of groups with a com­mon inter­est. Leading in­di­vi­duals, with a clear research ori­en­ta­tion, forge suc­cess­ful groups and net­works with ac­com­plish­ed and com­pe­tent re­sear­chers.

The Pro Academia Prize is bestowed on the leader and — if possible — the mem­bers of aca­de­mic groups that serve as an example. They must have worked together and succeeded in reach­ing their goals over a period of at least eight years and thus created "nur­ser­ies" of scien­ti­fic emi­nence. The Prize was esta­blish­ed by The Round Table Found­ation.

The Prize is also meant as an incen­tive, a mo­ti­va­tion for young scientists to pursue new avenues of research and teaching. The Round Table Found­ation wants them to go on and follow an honest and ethi­cal aca­de­mic way.

The Prize itself is a crystal owl, symbo­liz­ing Athe­na, the goddess of crafts and skilled peace­time pur­suits. She personifies wisdom and right­eous­ness. Thus, the Prize stands for scien­ti­fic and aca­de­mic per­se­ve­rance, know­ledge, and ex­change. The Prize lauds these virtues and suc­cesses.

The crystal owl as re­pre­sen­tation of the Prize given to the lea­der of the net­work, cer­ti­fi­cates for all group mem­bers and — when­ever possible — small olive trees will be the sole gifts.

Olive Tree

The Nomination

he Executive Board of the Prize comprises the Pre­si­dent and the Coun­cil Members of TRTF, at present Peter A. Rinck, Robert N. Muller, Patricia de Fran­cis­co, and Hans G. Rin­gertz. Members of Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee are Luis Martí-Bon­matí, Regine C. Schulz, Edu­a­rdo Po­sa­da Flórez, and Klaus Roth. The Board may call in per­so­na­li­ties in aca­de­mia as ex­pert con­sul­tants.

The Prize is conferred every other year. Can­di­dates can be nomi­nated by the mem­bers of the Board or the Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee. Direct appli­ca­tions and self-nominations are not accepted.

However, suggestions are welcome and can be con­vey­ed to any mem­ber of the Executive Board.

Pro Academia Prize 2025.
The laureate(s) for 2025 will be notified in autumn 2025.
Please note: It has come to our attention that some of our earlier prize awardees and board members have received unpleasant messages, partly from anonymous sources. Thus, to protect our prize winners, we have decided not to publish their names if they do not wish us to do so.