Prof Dagmar Schaefer is among the ten recipients of Germany’s most prestigious research award, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. In recognition of her pioneering contributions to a comprehensive and global view of science and technology history, she will receive €2.5 million in prize money to use on research in any way she sees fit, for up to seven years.
Prof Schäfer holds the title of managing director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany, as well as a handful of other honorary and guest professorships. Her work is centred around the history of technology with a specific focus on China, exemplified in two standout books on the Chinese state and its economy, science and technology during the Ming era. For her second book, The Crafting of the 10,000 Things: Knowledge and Technology in 17th Century China, she won the History of Science Society Pfizer Award in 2012 and the Association for Asian Studies' Joseph Levenson Book Prize in 2013. Her current research projects include studies on the reciprocal translation of maps between East Asia and European cartographers from the 16th century onwards, and the establishment of a digital database of local gazettes from historical China.
Prior to her work at the Max Planck Institute, Prof Schäfer held a range of positions at the University of Manchester in the UK after leaving the University of Würzburg in Germany, where she completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and Political Science.
The annual Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prizes, named after the German polymath and philosopher, are given by the German Research Foundation to ‘exceptional scientists and academics for their outstanding achievements in the field of research’. Prof Schäfer was elected, along with her nine co-recipients, from a group of 114 nominees.