Katalin Karikó’s Donations

Katalin Karikó has offered the entire amount that she received along with the Debrecen Award for Molecular Medicine for research programmes carried out at the University of Debrecen and for talent management. The Hungarian research biologist, who patented the synthetic mRNA-based vaccine technology, received the prize in December.

Katalin Karikó will split the amount that she received with the prize, EUR 10,000, between the Laboratory of Biomechanics, which operates as part of the Department of Orthopaedics of the Faculty of Medicine, and the National Academy of Scientists for the purpose of talent management. She had, among other things, personal reasons for her gesture.

- I have decided to use the amount that I received with the prize to support the Count István Tisza Foundation for Debrecen, in particular the research activities of the Laboratory of Biomechanics, because professor Zoltán Csernátony, chief scientist of the laboratory, spent a long time treating my mother, as a result of which she regained her walking ability and was able to live a normal life. As for my other choice, I will support the National Academy of Scientists because I find it important to help and inspire young talents to study and to conduct research - explained Katalin Karikó to hirek.unideb.hu. 

László Mátyus, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, pointed out that for 18 years the Debrecen Prize for Molecular Medicine had been awarded to scientists who had achieved international recognition with their outstanding results in the field of molecular medicine. Katalin Karikó is the first award winner who uses the amount she received with the prize for donation.

-    In the history of the Prize, which was established in 2003, this is the first time that the winner has decided to use the amount awarded with the prize for charity purposes. It was a really moving moment when she announced her decision at the banquet following the prize-giving ceremony on 14 December - added the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.

The Laboratory of Biomechanics will use the money to purchase material and tools required for its operation.

- In the course of her career as a researcher, Katalin Karikó has experienced the feeling of hopelessness. Through her support, in a symbolic way she is willing to give us strength and hope so that we can continue the work that we have been doing for over twenty years with faith and enthusiasm. Her unparalleled achievements may inspire many research and development professionals in the field of orthopaedic surgery, and those who work in laboratories exploring the medical applications of cutting-edge 3D technologies - pointed out professor Zoltán Csernátony, head of the Department of Orthopaedics of the Faculty of Medicine of UD and head of the Laboratory of Biomechanics. 

The Széchenyi-laureate research biologist supports talent management as well. Half of the amount that she has received goes to the National Foundation for Medical Biology, also known as the National Academy of Scientists, to help the organisation achieve its goals.

- The National Scientists Academy is working on a multi-generational talent management programme in order to lay the foundations for the future of research in the field of medical biology in Hungary. The programme is taking care of young talents from their high-school years up to the moment they become researchers. Importantly, Katalin Karikó’s donation is exemplary considering its potential boosting effect on the social support of scientific research in Hungary as well - highlighted professor Zoltán Papp, head researcher of the Debrecen branch of the Hungarian Scientists Academy, vice dean of the Faculty of Medicine of UD. 

The research biologist finds it important to use the funds she receives with prizes to support education and science. For instance, she gave half of the money she had received with the Széchenyi Prize to her former high school, the Móricz Zsigmond Grammar School of the Reformed Church in Kisújszállás, while the other half went to the Csányi Foundation, which assists disadvantaged children. From the funds she won with the Bolyai Prize she donated, among other organisations, to the Regőczy Foundation, which supports children who have lost one or both of their parents due to the COVID pandemic, and to the Foundation for the University of Szeged, which belongs to her alma mater.   

Press Office