Call for applications closed: "Grand prix scientifique 2019" Simone and Cino Del Duca Foundation

Call for applications 2019 closed

Every year, alternatively under the disciplines of the two divisions(1) of Academy of Sciences, the Simone and Cino Del Duca Foundation of the Institut de France awards a scientific prize based on the recommendations of a jury of the Institut de France members .The Grand Prix will be awarded to a French or European scientist and his/her team that will propose an ambitious research project on promising theme.

In 2019, the Prize topic is : Human paleontology, evolution of hominids and origin of modern humans
The recent period has been very rich in excavations and discoveries: frequently, human fossils have questioned what was thought to be well known for decades. In Morocco, 300 000-year-old skeletal fragments have been discovered, the earliest known for our Homo sapiens species. The latter probably has much older ancestors, dating back several million years, such as Toumaï in Chad (7 million years) and Orrorin in Kenya (6 million years), and Australopithecus like Lucy in Ethiopia (3.2 million years). A few hundred thousand years ago, several Homo species coexist on the planet - Neanderthals in Europe, Denisovians and erectus in Asia, Flores in Indonesia. The progress made in the study of the genetic heritage, in particular on the DNA of the Neanderthals, brings important new elements on their evolution and their diversification. Of all these hominids, only Homo sapiens, has remained today. A jaw fragment discovered in Israel dating back 200,000 years shows that our ancestors emigrated from Africa very early, and probably interacted with other Homos. The recent discoveries, and the development of this research on Homo sapiens migration routes and epochs are essential for a better understanding of our origins.

The prize is as follows:
a) 200,000 € to finance the work of the award-winning group,
b) 25,000 € awarded to the director of the research group,
c) 50,000 € (maximum amount paid upon presentation of supporting documents) towards the hiring of one French or foreign postdoctoral researcher to be selected by the group director, in the two years following the award of the prize. An activity report must be sent within two months after the end of the contract. An agreement will be established between the laboratory and the Del Duca Foundation to define the conditions of payment.

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