Association of Friends and Sponsors of the AWI

Setting the mark for our future

Support for AWI climate and environmental research

The melting of ice, global warming and rising sea levels are examples of the significant changes in the global environment and the earth's climate that in recent decades have been proven beyond doubt. These influences, some of which are caused by human activity, are already having an impact on the living conditions of many people today and will intensify in the future. Therefore, the research activities of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) are primarily focused on this complex array of topics.

The AWI was founded in 1980 as a foundation under public law with its registered office in Bremerhaven.  Subsequently expanded to include facilities in Potsdam and Oldenburg and on the islands of Helgoland and Sylt, AWI conducts climate and marine research, especially in the polar regions and the North Sea. If you would like to support this important work, we cordially invite you to become a member of our association!


Tasks and Objectives

The non-profit association "Friends and Supporters of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research”  is a contact point for all those who are interested in and would like to support, the research and work of the Alfred Wegener Institute. The aim of the Association is not only to financially support the activities of the Institute, but also to support the ideals of the Institute in increasing our knowledge of climate and marine systems for the benefit of humankind.

Tasks of the Association are for example:

  • promoting special projects in the fields of polar and marine research
  • organizing scientific events
  • informing the public about polar and marine research concerns
  • supporting young researchers
  • maintaining contacts between the Alfred Wegener Institute and schools in Germany
  • promoting national and international scientific contacts
  • fostering relations between active and former members of the Alfred Wegener Institute

In addition, the Association annually awards the AWI PhD Student Prize, the Silent Hero Award, the AWI Science Prize and the AWI Transfer Prize. The doctoral prize is awarded to outstanding promoters who actively contribute (or have contributed) to their working group and the AWI in general. The Silent Hero Award recognizes those employees who work in the background and with their special commitment make an important contribution to the success of research, expeditions and major projects. The AWI Science Prize is awarded to outstanding publications, especially those written by research associates. The AWI Transfer Prize honours special activities in the field of knowledge and technology transfer.

AWI Awards 2022

In addition to a personal presentation of the AWI prizes at the AWI staff day on June 20, 2023, the awardees were also honored on a virtual stage.

Silent Hero Award 2022

AWI Science Communication Award 2022

AWI Transfer Award 2022

AWI Science Award 2022

AWI PhD Student Prize 2022

AWI Special Award 2022

AWI Awards 2021

In addition to a personal presentation of the AWI prizes awards at the AWI staff day on June 23, 2022, the awardees were also honored on a virtual stage.

AWI Awards 2020

The Association of Friends and Sponsors of the AWI endows five prizes annually: the AWI Doctoral Award, the AWI Science Award, the AWI Transfer Award, The Science Communication Award and the Silent Hero Award. Instead of presenting the AWI awards in person at the annual AWI Christmas party, the awards are now presented on a digital stage.

Governing Body

The members of the Association form the general assembly. It elects an honorary executive board from among its members:

  • a chairperson
  • two deputy chairpersons
  • a treasurer
  • if necessary, further members elected by the general assembly

Executive Board members are currently:


Dr Holger Bienhold

Deputy Chair