National Latsis Prize 2015 awarded to biologist Richard Benton

The National Latsis Prize worth CHF 100,000 has been awarded to the fruit fly researcher Richard Benton at Bern Town Hall.

The 38-year-old, who is a professor at the University of Lausanne, received the prize in recognition of his substantial and far-reaching research in the field of neuroscience and molecular biology as well as evolution and chemical ecology. The SNSF awards the prize annually on behalf of the Latsis Foundation in Geneva.

Around 80 guests attended the award ceremony on 22 January 2016, which was opened by the President of the SNSF Research Council, Martin Vetterli, in the presence of former Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin and representatives of the education, research and innovation domain.

As guest speaker, Professor Michael Hengartner, Rector of the University of Zurich and – as of January 2016 - President of swissuniversities, stressed the importance of international cooperation and adequate financing for maintaining Switzerland's innovation capacity.

The laudatory speech on the laureate's career was delivered by Prof. Laurent Keller, member of the Research Council of the Biology and Medicine division. The President of the Latsis Foundation, Prof. Denis Duboule, later awarded the National Latsis Prize to Richard Benton, who went on to explain his research work in an interesting talk.

The National Latsis Prize is one of the most prestigious academic awards in Switzerland, honouring outstanding achievements by researchers up to the age of forty who work in Switzerland.