The Foundation fiat panis, as successor to the Father and Son Eiselen Foundation, awarded in 2017 the Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition to Prof. Dr. med. Hans Konrad Biesalski for his outstanding performance in the fight against hunger. The prize was endowed with 25,000 EUR and was awarded on the occasion of the World Food Day Colloquium at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart.
Among the candidates for the award the Hohenheim scientist Prof. Dr. med. Hans Konrad Biesalski convinced through his work on “Hidden Hunger”. He has brought the so-called “Hidden Hunger” (micronutrient deficiency) to the agenda of many scientists from different disciplines as well as political decision-makers and practitioners in development cooperation. “Hidden Hunger” affects more than 2 billion people worldwide. His outstanding research has led to his book “Hidden Hunger” (Springer-Verlag), written in 2013. With the “Hidden Hunger” congresses in Stuttgart he has created an unique international platform for interdisciplinary exchange on social, medical, and scientific and political measures. As a professor and director of the Food Security Center, he shared his knowledge with students and young scientists and inspired them to work for a world free of hunger.
Prof. Biesalski was born in Marburg in 1949. He studied medicine at the universities of Mainz and Bonn. In 1979 he was approved as a doctor. From 1979 to 1982, Biesalski worked as a research assistant at the Physiological Institute of the University of Mainz in the Department of Biophysics. In 1981 he received his Ph.D. with the thesis “Progressive Hearing Disorders in Childhood”. From 1984 to 1993 he worked at the Institute of Physiology at the University of Mainz. Since 1994 he has been Head of the Department of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition at the University of Hohenheim.
He is one of the world's most renowned researchers in vitamin A research and has made ground-breaking discoveries in basic research on the metabolism of vitamin A. He has also used his expertise to carry out applied research in developing countries covering a wide range of nutritional issues. His scientific achievements are well documented by his impressive publication list. Biesalski has 249 publications in PubMed which were quoted 16,000 times.
Prof. Biesalski has organized three international “Hidden Hunger” conferences (2013, 2015, 2017) that brought together the leading scientists as well as the new generation of young scientists, especially from Africa and Asia, on the subject of micronutrient deficiency.
Even representatives of civil society, ministries, government agencies and international organizations attended the conferences, too. These conferences have become an important event for the global community where both scientific and practical highlights have been presented.
Biesalski's ability to organize these conferences also emphasizes his remarkable talent to communicate across disciplines as well as across different stakeholder groups. Progress is being made in the fight against “Hidden Hunger” by identifying remaining gaps in knowledge that lead to new scientific advances and finally provide approaches to reduce the “Hidden Hunger” of those affected.
The independent council of the Foundation unanimously awarded this prize to Prof. Dr. med. Hans Konrad Biesalski for his outstanding achievements in the nutritional sciences, which contribute to improving world nutrition. His life’s work up to now has been in the service of a world free from hunger.
The next nomination phase will take place in December 2022.
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