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The ‘Polish Nobel Prize’ at the University of Wrocław!

On February 19 we celebrate the Polish Science Day. Because of that special occasion, The University of Wrocław has a great gift for polish scientists. It has announced to give the highest award in the history of Polish science. A scientist chosen by senates of the best Polish universities participating in the IDUB (Research University Excellence Initiative), will be awarded with 200.000 zł. The award is called the 'Heisig award' and is already being referred to as the 'Polish Nobel prize'.


Professor Norbert Heisig was a German doctor, born in 1933 in Breslau. His scientific interests were divided between medical studies and classical philology at the universities of Fryburg, Tybid and Hamburg. After he retired in the year 2000, he, among other things, supported the academic world of the University of Wrocław. It’s thanks to his initiative that the baroque ceiling of the Oratorium Marianum was restored. Now, he becomes the founder of the biggest award for Polish scientists.

– The prize will be awarded for the first time in October 2021. At the moment, the senates of 20 Polish universities are debating which candidates to submit. In fact, 200,000 zł is the highest Polish award for a scientist. Importantly – what the winner decides to do with the money is not our concern, he can spend it whatever way he pleases. What does concern us however, is to award the right person – one who’s research has influence over science on a worldwide level – explains the Rector of the University of Wrocław, professor Przemysław Wiszewski.

The Polish Science Day’s patron is Nicolaus Copernicus, born on February 19. He was a scholar, who greatly influenced science all around the world. The goal of the Heising Award is to reward Polish scientists working on the highest level, whose findings are changing the world.

– We want the best Polish universities, such as the University of Wrocław, to take part in the world science race. Because we conduct research on that level and I am not exaggerating anything here. Our physicists, chemists, biotechnologists, but also representatives of social sciences and humanities are often members of the world’s best research teams. What Polish science lacks is having players of an equal, high level, and not just a few world-class soloists – says Professor Eugeniusz Zych, chemist, one of the world’s leading specialists in phosphors, vice-rector of the University of Wrocław for scientific research.


The Heisig Award is yet another prestigious award given in Wrocław. Wrocław also awards two literary awards – 100,000 zł each – called Angelus and Silesius. The Heisig Award will become the highest award granted in Wrocław and at the same time the highest Polish award for a scientist.

– ‘Little Nobel’ or ‘Polish Nobel’ – we’ve heard such terms from our fellow scientists. In fact, we’d very much like this award to be that prestigious. It is known that here locally, apart from the University of Wrocław itself, also Wrocław University of Technology and the University of Life Sciences will submit their applications. But we are also waiting for applications from the remaining 17 Polish research universities – says Rector Wiszewski.

For now, the University of Wrocław waits for applications. In a multi-stage competition procedure, the jury appointed by the rector of the University of Wrocław will select the first winner of the Heisig Award. Its ceremonial presentation will take place on October 1, 2021. The award is to be awarded every two years.

Published by: Agata Kreska

23 Feb 2021

last modification: 24 Feb 2021