The Idea

The Körber European Science Prize honors outstanding and excellent scientists working in Europe. The prize is awarded to research projects that show great potential for possible application and international impact.

Over recent years, the Körber European Science Prize has developed into a high-ranking European science prize. In the last ten years alone, the Körber Prize winners included six scientists who were later awarded the Nobel Prize.

Prof. Dr. Martin Stratmann
Chairman of the Körber Prize Trustee Committee

Current Prizewinner: Hans Clevers

The Dutch biologist and physician has developed a new standard procedure for the unlimited reproduction of adult stem cells, enabling the growth of rudimentary organs in miniature format, known as organoids. Drugs can now be tested in lifelike conditions in a Petri dish, and damaged organs can be repaired and possibly replaced. Hans Clevers is to receive the Körber Prize endowed with 750,000 euros for these ground-breaking findings and their further development up to clinical application.

Clevers conducts research on adult stem cells in digestive organs, in particular in the small intestine. Adult stem cells are present in the body after birth and can repair defects throughout a person's life. They regularly renew the inner tissue lining of the small intestine. The prize winner is particularly interested in the signals that cause the stem cells to divide. Using a receptor (Lgr5) discovered by him which is present only in stem cells, he was able to isolate these cells from retrieved intestinal tissue.

In 2009, Clevers successfully generated an intestine organoid from a single intestinal stem cell which survived for several months in the Petri dish. This is regarded as a breakthrough in stem cell research. Drugs are already being tested on, for example, mini-organs generated from tumour tissue. "Instead of subjecting a bowel cancer patient to non-specific chemotherapy, we can give him a drug that has proven particularly effective on his laboratory-tested tumour organoids," says Clevers.
In 2013 he successfully removed the genetic defect from intestinal stem cells of patients suffering from the hereditary disease cystic fibrosis.

Hans Clevers is 59 years old and has been Head of the Research Department of the Princess Máxima Centre in Utrecht, a newly established paediatric cancer hospital, since 2015. He received the Körber Prize in Hamburg City Hall on 7 September, 2016.

press release, 07.06.2016 (PDF)



The Körber Foundation congratulates Ben Feringa most sincerely on winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Together with Niek van Hulst, Martin Möller and Justin Molloy, Ben Feringa received the Körber European Science Prize in 2003 for a light-driven molecule-sized motor.


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On 7 September the Körber Foundation was present the Körber European Science Prize 2016 endowed with 750,000 euros to Hans Clevers in Hamburg City Hall. The Dutch biologist and physician has developed a new standard procedure for the unlimited reproduction of adult stem cells.

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Previous Prizewinners

Nicola Spaldin: 2015

“In our research, we want to create material that has both good magnetic and good ferroelectric properties.” (Nicola Spaldin) Nicola Spaldin, Körber Prizewinner 2015 continue

2014: May-Britt and Edvard Moser

“A human remembers not only cognitive maps, memories of daily events are always saved together with information about the location where they took place.” (May-Britt Moser) May-Britt and Edvard Moser, Körber Prizewinner 2014, Nobel Prize 2014 continue


Matthias Mayer
Executive Director
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Sabine Bornemann-Koch
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