Marie Heim-Vögtlin prize for outstanding young women researchers


Professor Anne Verhamme wins the MHV prize 2019

Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, Anne Verhamme was able to demonstrate that green pea galaxies emit large quantities of ionising photons. Therefore it seems very likely that it was galaxies that triggered the reionisation of the universe more than 13 billion years ago.

Anne Verhamme was able to conduct her research at the University of Geneva thanks to a Marie Heim-Vögtlin grant from the SNSF. In 2018, she was awarded an SNSF professorship and received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). She has three children.

About the Marie Heim-Vögtlin prize

The SNSF awards the Marie Heim-Vögtlin (MHV) Prize each year to an outstanding woman researcher. Prize winners are inspiring role models whose careers progressed significantly thanks to their grant. The prize is worth 25,000 Swiss francs. So far the winners were selected from the former grantees of the MHV career funding scheme. This scheme was discontinued in 2017, but the MHV prize will continue to be awarded annually. As of 2020, it will be awarded to a former female grantee of the career funding schemes MHV, Doc.CH, Postdoc.Mobility, Ambizione or PRIMA.

Named after a pioneering woman

The MHV grant was named after Marie Heim-Vögtlin, who became the first Swiss woman to study medicine when she was admitted to the University of Zurich’s medical faculty in 1868. On completing her studies, she opened a gynaecological practice, where she continued practising after giving birth to two children. She is regarded as one of the pioneers in the struggle to give women access to higher education.


Julia Cahenzli Jenkins