IRP Schellenberg Research Prize

The IRP Schellenberg Research Prize 2020 is awarded to Professors Patrick Freund, Balgrist University Hospital, Switzerland, and Jonas Frisén, Karolinska Institute, Sweden (see text below and our photogallery).

The competition for the IRP Schellenberg Research Prize takes place every three years, the Prize awarded to researchers who, by the significance of their scientific contributions and their publications in scientific journals of renown, have furthered understanding of the development, lesion and regeneration processes relating to the spinal cord.

Set up in 2003, the IRP Schellenberg Research Prize perpetuates the memory of Ulrich Schellenberg, the founder of the IFP Foundation in Zürich and co-founder of the IRP Foundation in Geneva, who died in 2001.

The Prize, up to 100’000 Swiss Francs, is aimed at rewarding a scientist’s outstanding work in the field of paraplegia. Priority is given to young but already established and successful scientists working experimentally in the above-mentioned fields. The funds awarded, by enabling the recruitment of new co-workers or personnel, and the purchase of equipment or supplies, should help investigate avenues that may, in due course, lead to progress in spinal cord regeneration and functional recovery.

The IRP Scientific Committee evaluates applications by January of the following year. The winner of the IRP Schellenberg Research Prize is named by the IRP foundation’s board in March and funds are made available by the second semester of the same year.

The next IRP Schellenberg Research Prize will be awarded in 2023.

IRP Schellenberg Research Prize 2020

The 17th IRP Schellenberg Research Prize has been awarded on 1st October, 2020, in REHAB in Basel to Prof. Patrick Freund, Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich, and Prof. Jonas Frisén, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The prize money of CHF 100`000 has been equally shared by the two successful scientists.

Prof. Patrick Freund obtained his doctorate in biology in the University of Fribourg in 2008 and in medicine at the University of Zurich (UZH) in 2014. In 2018, he received the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) Eccellenza Professorship in Paraplegiology at the UZH. His research focuses on the multimodal assessment of functional and structural changes in the entire central nervous system caused by focal lesions to the spinal cord and brain. His interdisciplinary work focuses on the development and application of high-resolution imaging techniques and in therapeutics trails. At the same time, he is active in further medical training to become a specialist in neurology. He holds affiliations with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging and the Brain Repair and Rehabilitation Department at the Queen Square University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology and the Department of Neurophysics at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig.

Prof. Jonas Frisén obtained his MD and PhD degrees from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Sweden. After a period as postdoctoral fellow in Princeton, USA, he returned to Sweden to establish his own research group, where he is the Tobias Foundation Professor of Stem Cell Research since 2001. He is a member of the Nobel Assembly and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Jonas Frisén has identified neural stem cells in the adult spinal cord and unveiled how they mainly contribute to scar formation. He has also identified a small group of perivascular cells, which forms another major part of the scar tissue, and found how reducing that process promotes axonal regeneration and some functional recovery after spinal cord injury in animal models. He has moreover developed a method to study cell generation in the human nervous system by analyzing integration of an isotope from nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War.

Next deadline for applications: 31 OCTOBER, 2022

Photo gallery

The IRP Schellenberg Research Prize 2020

Support IRP

We need your help to translate the progresses of research into a positive reality for patients.