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Ludwig von Bertalanffy Young Scientist Award

The Ludwig von Bertalanffy Young Scientist Award (YSA) is donated to researchers in recognition of the most promising contribution from philosophy, science, engineering, economy, design, and art demonstrating the Bertalanffy principle of Unity through Diversity. We are searching for concepts and applications with the potential to co-create a flourishing planet, meaningful technologies, and a sustainable society. Find out more about our past awardees and their work.

The call is open now until 08 November 2019.

Apply now on our submission site! (closed)

About Ludwig von Bertalanffy

Ludwig von Bertalanffy is considered as the founding father of the General Systems Theory. He was a biologist, a philosopher, a scientist. His life was characterized by his research and his knowledge transfer while he worked at universities, scientific institutions and during his large number of international lecture tours. Ludwig von Bertalanffy was an enlightened human, who encouraged both his personal as well as his working environment to think across the disciplines. His life was the life of an intellectual adventurer exploring first in the mystery of the living world and searching later how to contribute to the reconciliation of science and humanities, materialism and idealism, body and mind. To learn more about Bertalanffy’s life and work, consider the information on his legacy on our website.

Why this Award

Bertalanffy did not only make theoretical contributions to science, but also inquired into phenomenological and practical matters, for example about the evolution of animal species. The Bertalanffy Young Scientist Award was established to honor the heritage of Bertalanffy’s life work for new epistemological foundations for science, especially his dedication to building bridges between different fields.

Seventy years after he began this critical work for the integration of the sciences, his vision is still far from realized in academic practice. Rather, today’s focus on empiricism and big data mining replace a theory-led research design and lead to a neglect of epistemological considerations and enhancement in philosophy of science. In light of this development, the YSA aims to enable the next generation to making substantial theoretical contributions towards a systems-view scientific research in the present future.

Awards Presentation

The awards will be presented at the European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research or similar academic partner conferences, and communicated via press releases together with academic partner associations and a widespread professional social media coverage.

Requirements and Conditions of the Award

Target Group

The target group of this Austrian Science Award are graduates (MA and PhD) from a European school or European citizens. Applications with domain or discipline specific, interdisciplinary as well as transdisciplinary approaches are welcome from natural science, social science and humanities, as well as engineering and design science.


The monetary Young Scientist Award recognizes the most promising contribution from Science and Research to
– pioneering approaches to theory development and conceptualization
– epistemological advancements in science, practice and arts
– new developments in philosophy of science and science paradigms

Its purpose is the support and recognition of the important and demanded development of the next generation of systems scientists and researchers, focusing on the theoretical and epistemological advancement and capabilities for future oriented solutions.

For contributions to advancements in methodology and formalization of science, such as data-based systems modeling as well as other quantitative, qualitative and explorative modeling that support the development of analytical methodologies, please refer to the Günther Ossimitz Memorial Award.


The winners will be awarded with a monetary donation of EUR 1,000 and will be presented at the European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research or similar academic partner conferences, in press releases together with academic partner associations and the BCSSS widespread professional social media coverage. All selected nominees will receive an honorary certificate.


The thesis and additional documents must be submitted in English. In case the thesis has been written in another European language, an extended abstract of the thesis must be provided in English for the consideration to be nominated. In the further evaluation process the applicant may be asked to provide a full translation on request by the scientific committee.

To be eligible for the award a graduate student must have defended her or his dissertation within the last two years (date of evaluation in case of a master thesis).

The self-nomination should include:

  1. a one to three-page letter of nomination highlighting the exceptional research presented in the dissertation;
  2. a curriculum vitae of the candidate not to exceed three pages;
  3. a copy of the thesis and
  4. one letter by a supervisor or mentor supporting the nomination.

When preparing nomination and supporting letters and CV, you may wish to provide additional information about the nominee’s work and record. For example, please note any of the following if relevant:

  • Publication of results;
  • Presentation of the work in a venue other than the home institution;
  • Recognition by the student’s university;
  • Citations (e.g. via Google Scholar or in talks) of the work by other researchers;
  • Application of the work in practical fields, e.g. industry, government, NGOs.

The submission link will be available a month prior to the submission deadline.

The evaluation process will take place within a three months period. The winners will be notified in written form.

The Award will be given for those dissertations deemed most outstanding by the Award Committee. The award is intended to be based entirely on the dissertation itself, not on other work of the individual.

As we are aware that women are often underrepresented in the domains the Award focuses on, we consider it our duty to promote women’s representation and scientific recognition, and especially encourage young female researchers to submit their dissertations.