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PhD Thesis Award

Studies on primates play a central role in your PhD thesis?

Then apply for the PhD award of the DPZ Sponsorship Society, supported by the MacLean-Erkelenz-Foundation!

PhD students at a university in Germany who have successfully completed their doctoral thesis in 2024 are eligible to apply. We welcome applications from junior scientists from various biological and biomedical disciplines, provided that non-human primates are an indispensable part of their work. This could be, for example, a behavioural study in the field, a research project to understand the basic functions of the brain, or an infection biology study for vaccine development.

Please submit your electronic applications (as PDF via e-mail) by January 31st, 2025 in German or English with the following documents:

  • Generally understandable summary of the main results and a description of the effective scientific value of the work (maximum 1 page).
  • Details on the beginning, end, supervisor and grade of the work
  • Short scientific CV
  • List of publications (with impact factor and journal rank in the respective field)
  • List of presentations given (talks and posters)

Please submit the documents to the chairman of the Sponsorship Society, Prof. Dr. Christian Roos, at croos(at)

The Scientific Advisory Board of the German Primate Center selects the best thesis.

The winner will receive prize money of 1000 euros.

The award ceremony will take place in the first half of 2025.

A prize for the best doctoral thesis (DPZ Sponsorship Award) was first awarded in 1988. This prize was replaced in 2023 by the PhD award of the DPZ Sponsorship Society, supported by the MacLean-Erkelenz-Foundation.


Award winners

YearWinnerInstitute, Research GroupResearch Field
2022 Zurna Ahmed German Primate Center, Department of Cognitive NeuroscienceNeuronal mechanisms underlying natural movements
2021Nikoloz SirmpilatzeGerman Primate Center, Functional Imaging UnitFunctional imaging of the anesthetized brain in primates and rodents
2020Dr. Delphine De MoorGerman Primate Center, Research Group Social Evolution in PrimatesThe importance of paternal kinship relationships in Assam macaques
2020Dr. Prerna AroraGerman Primate Center, Infection Biology UnitDevelopment of a new therapeutic approach in the fight against the influenza virus
2018Dr. Pooja Viswanathan University Tübingen, Institute of NeurobiologyNeuronal basics of the sense of numbers in primates
2017Dr. Benjamin Dann German Primate Center, Neurobiology LaboratoryEncoding, coordination, and decision making in the primate frontoparietal grasping network
2016Dr. Marlen FröhlichMax-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, SeewiesenCommunicative complexity and development in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus) in the wild
2015Dr. Gisela KoppGerman Primate Center, Cognitive Ethology LaboratoryRelationship between genes and behavior
2015Dr. Birgit WesternstroerUniversity Hospital Münster, Centre of Reproductive Medicine and AndrologyStem cells in the testicles of mice, common marmosets and humans
2014Dr. Lydia LunczMax-Planck-Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie Leipzig, Abteilung für PrimatologieKulturelle Unterschiede in benachbarten Schimpansengruppen
2014Dr. Stefan SchaffelhoferDeutsches Primatenzentrum, Abteilung NeurobiologieVom Auge zur Hand: Kortikale Prozesse zur Planung und Ausführung von Handbewegungen
2013Dr. Simon JacobCharité Berlin, Psychiatrische KlinikNeuronale Mechanismen exekutiver Funktionen im Präfrontalkortex von Rhesusaffen: Physiologie und Pharmakologie
2012Dr. Vanessa SchmidtGerman Primate Center, Cognitive Ethology LaboratorySocial and Physical cognition in Old World Monkeys
2011Dr. Martin SurbeckMPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of PrimatologyMaternal support, dominance status and mating success in male Bonobos
2011Dr. Stephanie WestendorffGerman Primate Center, Sensorimotor GroupCortical rule-based action plans in Rhesus Monkeys
2010Dr. Vittorio CaggianoMIT, McGovern Institute for Brain ResearchTowards a quantitative analysis of mirror neurons in the monkey cortical premotor area F5
2009Dr. Christian PullerGoethe University Frankfurt/Main, Faculty of Biological SciencesThe synaptic architecture of the cone pedicle in the primate retina
2008Dr. Sebastian MöllerUniversity of Bremen, Brain Research InstituteFunctional anatomy of the Rhesus Macaque face processing system
2007Dr. Laura BusseGerman Primate Center, Cognitive NeuroscienceEffects of selective attention on sensory processing of visual motion
2006Dr. Steffen HageGerman Primate Center, Neurobiology DepartmentOn the role of the pontine brainstem in vocal pattern generation. A telemetric single-unit recording study in the Squirrel Monkey
2005Dr. Antje EngelhardtGerman Primate Center, Reproductive Biology UnitThe significance of male and female reproductive strategies for male reproductive success in wild longtailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis)
2004Dr. Christian RoosGerman Primate Center, Primate Genetics LaboratoryMolecular evolution of the Strepsirrhini
2003Dr. Maarten KoleGerman Primate Center, Clinical Neurobiology LaboratoryAnalysis of stress-induced adaptations of Ca3 pyramidal neurons
2001Dr. Claudia FichtelGerman Primate Center, Neurobiology DepartmentEmotional correlates in vocalizations of primates
2000Dr. Joanna FietzGerman Primate Center, Ethology and Ecology DepartmentPopulation ecology and social organisation of the Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur
1999Dr. Michael SpringGerman Primate Center, Virology and Immunology DepartmentSIV-induced immune pathogenesis of the Rhesus Macaque: The importance of the activation and apoptosis of the virus-specific T-lymphocytes
1998Dr. Stefanie HeiduckGerman Primate Center, Ethology and Ecology DepartmentForaging strategies of Masked Titi Monkeys
1997Dr. Jutta SchmidGerman Primate Center, Ethology and Ecology DivisionTorpor of the Grey Mouse Lemur in Madagaskar: Energetic consequences and ecological impact
1996Dr. Susanne KrasemannGerman Primate Center, Virology and Immunology DivisionInduction of antibodies against human prion proteins by DNA-mediated immunisation of PrP-0/0-mice
1995Dr. Ulf DittmerGerman Primate Center, Virology and Immunology DivisionCellular immune response of Macaques infected with pathogenes of SIV- and HIV-2 immunodeficiency viruses
1993Dr. Dietmar ZinnerGerman Primate Center, Ecology Working GroupBreeding and Feeding competition in Hamadryas Baboons. An experimental study
1992Dr. Olaf JöhrenGerman Primate Center, Neurobiology DepartmentGlucocorticoid receptor gene expression in the brain of Tupaia nelangeri
1991Dr. Gerald VossGerman Primate Center, Virology and Immunology DivisionCharacterization of the cellular immune response of HIV-2-infected Long-tailed Macaques and SIV-mac-immunized and -infected Rhesus Macaques
1990Dr. Frank KirchhoffGerman Primate Center, Virology and Immunology DivisionInsulation and biological and genetic characterization of HIV-2-clones for investigating the negative regulatory factor and of chimerias between HIV-2- and HIV-1-coat-protein
1989Dr. Eckhard HeymannGerman Primate Center, Ethology Working GroupField studies on the behavior and ecology of Tamarines
1988Dr. Gabriele FlüggeGerman Primate Center, Reproduction Biology Working GroupAdrenergic receptors in the brain of Tupaia

Prof. Dr. Christian Roos Chairman +49 551 3851-300 Contact Profile

PhD Thesis Award