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British Geneticist Receives Half Million Pound Prize


750.000 Swiss Francs (approx. EUR 620.000, USD 790.000, GBP 500.000) for each of the four subjects.

Half of the amount must be destined by the winners to research projects.

The names of the 2012 Balzan Prizewinners were proclaimed today in a public announcement:

David Baulcombe (UK), University of Cambridge, for Epigenetics

Ronald Dworkin (USA), New York University, for Jurisprudence Reinhard Strohm (Germany), University of Oxford (UK), for Musicology Kurt Lambeck (Australia), Australian National University, for Solid Earth Sciences, with emphasis on interdisciplinary research

The Balzan Prizewinners 2012 were announced today in Milan by the Chairman of the Balzan General Prize Committee, Salvatore Veca, together with the President of the Balzan Foundation "Prize", Ambassador Bruno Bottai, at the Corriere della Sera Foundation. The profiles of the winners and the citations (the Prizes will be presented during the award ceremony to be held in Rome on November 14) were presented by four prestigious members of the General Prize Committee:

Marc Van Montagu (Professor Emeritus of Molecular Genetics at Ghent University; Chairman of the Institute of Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Epigenetics to David Baulcombe:

"For his fundamental contribution to the understanding of epigenetics and its role in cell and tissue development under normal and stressful conditions."

Antonio Padoa Schioppa (Professor Emeritus of Legal History at the University of Milan) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Jurisprudence to Ronald Dworkin:

"For his fundamental contributions to Jurisprudence, characterized by outstanding gifts of sharpness, originality, and clarity of thought in a constant and fruitful interaction with ethical and political theories and with legal practices."

Gottfried Scholz (Professor Emeritus of Music Analysis at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Musicology to Reinhard Strohm:

"For his extensive research on the history of European music within the cultural and socio-historical context from the late Middle Ages to the present, and for his detailed descriptions of high-rank vocal music, especially early sacred music in Flanders, and of the works of Vivaldi, Händel and Richard Wagner."

Enric Banda (Research Professor of Geophysics at the Institute of Earth Sciences in Barcelona; President of Euroscience, Strasbourg) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Solid Earth Sciences, with emphasis on interdisciplinary research to Kurt Lambeck:

"For his exceptional contribution to the understanding of the relationship between post-glacial rebound and sea level changes. His findings have radically modified climate science."

The President of the General Prize Committee, Professor Salvatore Veca, announced that the 2013 Balzan Prizes will be awarded in the following fields:
- Medieval History
- Sociology
- Quantum Information: Processing and Communication
- Infectious diseases: basic and clinical aspects
The amount of each of the four 2012 Balzan Prizes will be 750.000 Swiss Francs (approx. EUR 620.000, USD 790.000, GBP 500.000).
The award fields vary each year and can be related to either a specific or an interdisciplinary field, and look to go beyond the traditional subjects both in the humanities (literature, the moral sciences and the arts) and in the sciences (medicine and the physical, mathematical and natural sciences), so as to give priority to innovative research.

Half of the amount received by the winner of each of the four prizes must be destined to research work, preferably involving young scholars and researchers.

The public announcement, under the auspices of the City of Milan, was followed by a lecture by Colin Renfrew, 2004 Balzan Prizewinner for Prehistorical Archaeology, entitled "Towards an Archaeology of Mind".

The International Balzan Foundation, founded in 1957, operates through two separate institutions. The International Balzan Foundation - "Prize" (chaired in Milan by Ambassador Bruno Bottai) selects the subjects to be awarded and the candidates through its General Prize Committee. The Balzan Foundation "Fund" (chaired in Zurich by Achille Casanova) administers the estate left by Eugenio Balzan.

Further information and pictures of the Prizewinners are available at

Press contacts USA / CANADA / UK
Susannah Gold
Gold Communications - New York
T +1 212 222 7595
M +1 917 207 5375
International Balzan Foundation
The International Balzan Foundation was created in 1957 to recognise the most outstanding initiatives of peace and brotherhood among peoples and foster their growth in the scientific and cultural world. The main objective of the Foundation is to award the Balzan Prize. The Foundation operates on an international level through two bases, which are legally distinct bodies. The "Prize" Foundation, with headquarters in Milan is mainly concerned with the selection of candidates and the awarding of the prizes; the "Fund" Foundation in Zurich administers the Balzan estate. The executive bodies of the two Foundations are its two Boards.
The Balzan Prizes are assigned by the General Prize Committee, a body working within the "Prize" Foundation in Milan, with Salvatore Veca as its Chairman. It is comprised of twenty members of the most prestigious learned societies from all over Europe.

Each year, the General Prize Committee establishes the subject areas for the awards and chooses the winners from among the nominations entered by the world´s most important international cultural institutions (universities, research institutes, academies) at the Foundation´s request, and by leading figures whom the General Prize Committee recognises as competent in the chosen fields for that year.

Balzan Prizes
Every year, the four Balzan Prizes are awarded to scholars, scientists or artists who are distinguished in their fields on an international level. The aim of the Balzan prizes is to foster culture, the sciences and the most outstanding humanitarian initiatives of peace and brotherhood among peoples, regardless of nationality, race or creed.
The four subject areas for the awards change every year. As stipulated in the articles of the Balzan Foundation, they are selected from among "literature, the moral sciences and the arts" and "the physical, mathematical and natural sciences and medicine". Rotating the subjects ensures that new or emerging research gets recognition, while at the same time it supports important fields of study that may have been overlooked by other great international awards.

Since 2001, the rules of procedure of Balzan´s General Prize Committee have established a stipulation that prize-winners must destine half of the Prize they receive for financing research projects that are preferably carried out by young scholars or scientists.

Special Prize for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood Among Peoples The Prize for humanity, peace and brotherhood among peoples is a special prize assigned by the Balzan Foundation at variable intervals, of at least three years. It is destined for a person or organisation that has achieved distinction for outstanding humanitarian work.

Eugenio Balzan Biography
Eugenio Balzan was born in Badia Polesine (Rovigo) on 20 April 1874 to a family of impoverished landowners. Most of his career was dedicated to working for the Italian national daily, Corriere della Sera in Milan. He originally started working for the newspaper in 1897, and within a very short period of time he had worked his way up from editorial assistant, to news editor and special correspondent. In 1903, the Editor Luigi Albertini made him managing director of the paper´s publishing house, he then became a partner with a small shareholding in the company. A capable and shrewd administrator as well as a prominent figure in the higher echelons of Milan society, he left Italy in 1933 because of the hostile attitude of the Fascist regime to the Corriere´s independent journalistic stance. He moved to Switzerland, first Zurich and then Lugano, where he had invested his earnings. Once he had established himself there, he continued with his intense charitable efforts in favour of individuals and organisations. Eugenio Balzan officially returned to Italy in 1950. He died in Lugano, in Italian-speaking Switzerland, 15 July 1953. The International Balzan Foundation was founded in 1957, when Angela Lina Balzan, inspired by her father Eugenio Balzan´s intentions, decided that the considerable inheritance left to her at his death should be used for an institution in honour of his memory.

Katharina Schnell | PR&D
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