The Yale professor for Immunobiology, Ruslan Medzhitov, HHMI, has received the international research prize in 2013.
Else Kröner Fresenius Stiftung

The 2017 Else Kröner Fresenius Preis für Medizinische Forschung

An international expert jury is currently reviewing nominations. The winner of the prize which in the current call is dedicated to the biological basis of psychiatric diseases will be announced on May 31, 2017.


In honour of the outstanding life-time achievements of our founder Else Kröner, the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung (Foundation) has established a major quadrennial prize, each to be in a specified area of biomedical science.  The chosen topic for 2017 is the biological basis of psychiatric disorders.

The award will be € 4 million of which € 500,000  will be awarded to the winner in person and € 3,5 million  will be dedicated to the winner’s future research.

The candidates must be researchers, who have made ground breaking scientific contributions to the field of the biological basis of psychiatric disorders and who are in the midst of their academic career, in a position to accomplish a world leading programme of  research over the next 5 years.

Candidate nomination – Nominations/Applications need to be accompanied by at least two letters of recommendation from internationally leading researchers in the field from two different countries.

Background Information

In 2013, the foundation inaugurated an international research prize, the Else Kröner Fresenius Preis für Medizinische Forschung: Every four years this €4 million prize will be awarded to an outstanding scientist, both to honour his or her achievements in pioneering research and to support their future work in a promising field of medical research. The prize is meant to mark the world-wide importance of the Else Kröner`s life-time achievements.

Every four years, the prize will be awarded in a different field of medical research that promises particular progress in the near future. In June 2014, a workshop including Nobel laureates, editors and postdocs was held at Lindau in order to discuss and identify potential areas of medical research for the 2017 prize. In separate group discussions, there was a strong convergence of opinions on “The biological basis of psychiatric disorders”.

Confirmed jury members as of October 2015

  • Peter McGuffin (chairman), King's College London, UK          
  • Robert Freedman, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, USA
  • Fritz Henn, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA
  • Thomas Insel, Life Science Team at Alphabet (formerly Google), USA             
  • Marion Leboyer, Université Paris Est, Inserm, France
  • Wolfgang Maier, Universitätsklinikum Bonn, Germany
  • Patrick McGorry, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Terrie Moffitt, Duke University, Durham, USA, and King’s College, London, UK
  • Barbara Sahakian, Cambridge University, UK
  • Myrna Weissman, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons New York and New York State Psychiatric Institute, USA

Else Kröner and Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung

Else Kröner was born as Else Fernau on May 15, 1925 and grew up in the household of Dr. Fresenius, a Frankfurt pharmacist. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Dr. Fresenius had just started reorganizing his business activities when he died suddenly, in February 1946. The community of heirs, which included her, decided that Else Fernau should be trained as a pharmacist, and she took over management of the company after completing her studies in 1951. She was advised in business matters by a consultant, Dr. Hans Kröner, who later became her husband and joined the company as its co-managing director in 1972.  Together they laid the foundation of success for the global health care company we know today. Else Kröner was managing director of the company until its conversion into a joint stock company in 1981, and then served as Chairman of the Supervisory Board until she died in June 1988. 

The commitment Else Kröner showed in building up the company was matched by her devotion to charitable and humanitarian work. The EKFS, which she established in 1983, became her sole beneficiary upon her death and is the biggest shareholder of Fresenius, as well as the largest foundation of its type in Germany. It is dedicated to promoting medical research and also supports medical-humanitarian aid projects in developing countries.

So far, the Else Kröner Fresenius Stiftung has supported some 1,450 projects with a total of approximately €230 million. Among the beneficiaries are numerous outstanding research projects in all fields of medical research. A special focus is on supporting research careers of young scientists, in particular clinician scientists. Research schools and stipend programmes offering training and research at all career stages have been established.

EKFS medical humanitarian aid projects focus on supporting medical training and education projects and providing immediate care in situations of great need and emergency.

Publications and Media


Mental Disorders

Understanding the Biological Basis