Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize for Wim Decock

February 17, 2014

Wim Decock, LOEWE-Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, receives one of the ten Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prizes. Belgian-born Decock does research on the relation of moral, law and economy in the early modern era. Since 1977 the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG) awards young researchers with the Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prize, endowed with prize money of 20,000 EUR.

Wim Decock was surprised as he heard the news of receiving a Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prize this year. “I was never expecting this, because if you look at the list of last year’s award winners, you will see that it consists mainly of medical and natural scientists.” All the more he was glad that his works on the role of church jurisdiction and the connections of theology, finance and trade of the 16th and 17th century has been given attention and appreciation.

Since August 2012 Wim Decock is head of the junior research group “Canon Law, Moral Theology and Conflict Resolution in the Early Modern Period”. It is part of the joint research project “Extrajudical and Judical Conflict Resolution”, which is financed by the federal state of Hesse within the framework of the LOEWE-Initiative. It is an example for the cooperation of the Goethe University Frankfurt with the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History and other research institutions of the region. Being asked for the relevance of his research solving present day challenges, Wim Decock answers: “I am trying to better understand the basic principles of our modern comprehension of debt, markets and finance by studying their historic roots.”

Though appreciation is more important to Wim Decock than the actual prize money, he already knows what to do with the 20,000 EUR of the Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prize. “Money that you have earned with the help of muses should be reinvested into muses. This way it is going to proof its profit and others will benefit from it.”

The award ceremony of this year’s Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prize will take place in Berlin on May 12 2014. Wim Decock is looking forward to his reencounter with the capital where his wife once lived as an exchange student: “Hopefully I will be able to bring a lot of people to Berlin.”

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