About the YAE Prize

The Young Academy of Europe Prize, first introduced in 2017, is awarded annually to early to mid-career professionals in recognition of their outstanding achievements and contributions to key areas of the YAE. In 2019, the YAE Prize was renamed the ‘André Mischke YAE Prize for Science and Policy’ in honour of the YAE Founding Chair, André Mischke. The prize is awarded to support and promote:

  • science
  • evidence-informed policymaking
  • science communication
  • future generation scientists and scholars in Europe

Nominations for the André Mischke YAE Prize are now closed. More details on the 2022 Prize requirements can be found in this document. Nominations for the 2023 Prize will open in late 2022.

Selection criteria and procedure

The André Mischke YAE Prize for Science and Policy honours outstanding contributions and achievements that align with the core mission of the YAE. It is awarded on recommendation of the YAE Prize Search Committee and by decision of the YAE Board. The YAE prize (EUR 1 000, contingent on sufficient available funds) is officially awarded at the Annual Meeting of the YAE.


YAE Prize winner 2022: GERGELY TOLDI

Dr. Toldi is a senior lecturer at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, working in neonatal medicine and innovative research in immunology and the field of flow cytometry. He is also co-chair of the ‘Widening European participation’ thematic mission of the Academia Europaea Budapest Knowledge Hub. For his successes in immunology, he received numerous awards, prizes, fellowships, and grants including the International Medis Award (Paediatrics) 2016. Dr. Toldi has been involved in various organizations and activities, e.g. as Board Member of the German Society for Cytometry, Member of Global Young Academy, Executive Committee Member of the Hungarian Young Academy, and Member of the COVID19 Advisory Group of the InterAcademy Partnership. Within the ‘Widening European participation’ mission of AE, he plays an important role in increasing the competitiveness of early career researchers (ECRs) from EU13 countries and improving their representation on the European level. He is also a founding delegate of the Young Academies Science Advice Structure (YASAS), a new initiative to create a formal platform of European young academies for their involvement in European science advice through SAPEA. Through his clinical role, Toldi developed evidence-based regional and international guidelines and led quality improvement projects shaping current clinical practice in several aspects of neonatal intensive care. He has been active in public dissemination of essential information related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the benefits of immunisation, and he was involved in science communication during the World Science Forum (WSF) organised in Budapest in 2019. Dr. Toldi helped set up both the Hungarian Young Academy (2019) and the United Kingdom Young Academy (2022), and coordinated large-scale surveys of early-career researchers in Hungary and UK. These surveys helped implement several changes to improve ECRs’ opportunities and guide related science policy to date.

YAE Prize winner 2021: Marian Verhelst

Prof. Verhelst is working in microelectronics and chip design, pioneer in custom AI processors, is the scientific director of imec and head of a research team at the MICAS laboratories (MICro-electronics And Sensors) of the Electrical Engineering Department of KU Leuven, Belgium. For her successes in research, she received numerous awards, prizes, fellowships, and grants including the Laureate of the National Academy of Science and Arts in Belgium, ERC Starting Grant, Fellow of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS), an IEEE distinguished lectureship, and grants from industry (e.g. Intel, Qualcomm, Huawei, Nokia). Verhelst has been involved in various organizations and activities, e.g. for the enhancement of science literacy and a larger uptake of STEM studies as member of the Flemish STEM platform, and to improve possibilities, work-life balance and the science landscape for early-career researchers as founding member of the Belgian Young Academy, where she served on the Board and as co-president for two years. Verhelst is also passionate about science communication, especially towards young people and girls. She founded the Innovation Lab which develops engineering projects ready to be executed in secondary schools, with currently six projects in its portfolio, having trained over 600 teachers, who have executed the projects with more than 12 thousand students. She also features regularly on popular science TV shows (The body of Coppens) and podcasts (Nerdland), reaching hundreds of thousands viewers/listeners. She was involved in the creation of citizen science portal in Belgium, was chosen in the 2020-2022 Science meets Parliament programme, and initiated and organizes the “Women in circuits” initiative in the IEEE Solid State Circuits Society for mentoring young female chip researchers.

YAE Prize winner 2020: Grant Hill-Cawthorne

Dr. Hill-Cawthorne is a medical microbiologist and Principal Science adviser to the UK Parliament. He completed medicine and medical training at the University of Cambridge, UK. He then moved to Saudi Arabia, to set up a laboratory specialising in pathogen genomics at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, where he completed his PhD on the use of genomics for public health microbiology. In 2011–2012, Dr. Hill-Cawthorne was appointed to the highly competitive NHS Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow scheme, and was Clinical adviser to the Deputy Chief Executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), having responsibility for health and social care. From 2013–2018, Dr. Hill-Cawthorne was Senior Lecturer in Communicable Diseases Epidemiology at the School of Public Health of the University of Sydney, where he is currently adjunct Associate Professor in Global Health. For his successes in research, Dr. Hill-Cawthorne has received numerous fellowships and grants, amounting to over $9 million of research funding gained, and has produced influential policy-related publications in leading journals.

Furthermore, since May 2018, Dr. Hill-Cawthorne is Head of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), the science advice unit within the UK Parliament that bridges research and policy. Devoted to engage younger scholars in science policy, he developed a Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme to embed academics in parliamentary departments for discrete research projects designed by Parliament. For 2020, Dr. Hill-Cawthorne is the President of the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment network (EPTA), the international organisation for legislative science advice units. Dr. Hill-Cawthorne has been involved in various scientific organisations and bodies active in the area of science and policy, both in the UK (POST, NICE) and abroad, as he is currently the President of the EPTA network. Finally, Dr. Hill-Cawthorne is intensively active on scientific dissemination. For example, he acted as the University of Sydney’s principal media communicator during the Ebola-virus and Zika-virus global health crises, writing a number of media articles himself, as well as being interviewed countless times on TV and radio, and contributing to the print media.

YAE Prize winner 2019: Janusz Bujnicki

Janusz Bujnicki

Prof. Bujnicki is working in biology, with a focus on bioinformatics, structural biology and synthetic biology, and is head of a research group in the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IIMCB) in Warsaw and at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland.

For his successes in research, he has received numerous awards, prizes, fellowships, and grants including EMBO/HHMI Young Investigator Programme award, ERC Starting Grant, award of the Polish Ministry of Science and award of the Polish Prime Minister, and was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta by the President of the Republic of Poland. In 2016, he was elected to the Polish Academy of Sciences and is currently the youngest member of the Academy.

Bujnicki has been involved in various scientific organisations and bodies active in the area of science and policy, both in Poland (the Polish Young Academy, the civic movement Citizens of Science, the Scientific Policy Committee, the Council of the National Science Congress, and the Science Evaluation Committee) and abroad (primarily the Life, Environmental and Geo Sciences (LEGS) panel of the Science Europe organisation). He is currently serving a second term in the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA) within the Scientific Advice Mechanism for the European Commission. As an extension of his activities in the GCSA, he is actively involved in representing Poland in the area of the science-for-policy advice as a member of the European Science Advisors Forum. His current efforts focus on establishing a science-for-policy advice system in Poland, with the involvement of the Polish Academy of Sciences (including the Polish Young Academy) and Polish universities.

YAE Prize winner 2018: Gabi Lombardo

Dr Gabi Lombardo is awarded the YAE Medal 2018 by YAE Chair Dr Mangala Srivinas and former YAE Chair Marcel Swart
Dr Gabi Lombardo is awarded the YAE Medal 2018 by YAE Chair Dr Mangala Srivinas and former YAE Chair Marcel Swart

Dr Lombardo is an expert in global research funding, research and education policies, and international higher education. She has high-level experience in the interface of strategy, policy, research and business. Her field of work accompanies strengthening connections across the university and beyond, within a complex field of external, and international stakeholders. She holds an extensive record in the design and implementation of highly innovative projects, including public and private business investing in HE in the US, China and Europe. She also has a record of establishing multilateral institutional collaborations and university representative offices abroad. Dr Lombardo holds a senior level experience in strategic planning and ‘foresight’ planning in elite higher education institutions, international research funders and associations. She is a constant promoter of the value of the Social Sciences and Humanities from her position as the Director of The European Alliance for SSH, which is the largest science policy organization for SSH in Europe, and has a specific approach to give voice in the science policy debate to an international scientific community.

YAE Prize winner 2017: Rianne Letschert

Rianne Letschert is awarded the YAE Medal 2018 by Marcel Swart, former YAE Chair
Professor Rianne Letschert is awarded the YAE Medal 2017 by Marcel Swart, former YAE Chair

Professor Letschert has had an outstanding academic career, working in the field of international law, with a focus on minority rights and human rights, and is now the Rector Magnificus (equivalent to Provost) of Maastricht University – the youngest female rector ever appointed at a Dutch university. She has been an active member of the Dutch Young Academy since 2013 (De Jonge Akademie), becoming its chairperson in 2015. In 2015, she was appointed to the Identification Committee that assisted in selecting the members of the High Level Group at the heart of the Scientific Advice Mechanism. She is a vocal and active advocate of science communication for young people, and for promoting diversity. She has recently been awarded with the award for the ‘Top Female Role Model in Science’ from Tilburg University. By awarding her the YAE Prize, YAE makes a clear statement in respect of the need to have excellent women academics present at the top of academic research, management, and policymaking.