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FAQ for ABB Research Award in Honor of Hubertus von Gruenberg

We encourage everyone who has earned their doctoral degree within the years 2019 - 2021 in the fields of mechanical, chemical, electrical or software engineering, electronics, robotics, artificial intelligence, process automation, and any related technical discipline to apply for the 2022 ABB Research Award in Honor of Hubertus von Gruenberg if they are currently working at a university, research institution or comparable organization.

Those applicants whose dissertations involve electrification of industry and society or automating industries from natural resources to finished products will have a particularly good chance of winning this substantial personal research grant. But other exceptional work is also very welcome, especially if the creative use of software, digital technologies, energy efficiency, or new materials promises to lead to innovative industrial solutions. The jury will look for specific real-world applications and potential for innovation. The benefit of the research to society and the environment will also factor highly into the jury’s decision.

The deadline for applications is January 31, 2022.

The ABB Research Award is presented once every three years. It was first awarded in 2016 to Dr. Jef Beerten from KU Leuven, Belgium, and in 2019 to Dr. Ambuj Varshney, Uppsala University, Sweden.

The ABB Research Award carries a $300,000 grant.

Please submit the following documents to ABB in English by January 31, 2022:

  1. Title and abstract of the dissertation in English
  2. A copy of the full dissertation as a PDF file
  3. A one-page letter of recommendation from your dissertation advisor — what’s special about your research, how does it break new ground?
  4. Name of the university and date of the dissertation defense
  5. A brief description of the planned research project that the grant will be used to fund including a confirmation of the university or institution at which this research is to be conducted (this does not have to be the same university that the dissertation was submitted to)
  6. A brief bio of yourself including current address and contact information
  7. A notarized copy of the PhD diploma or doctoral transcript

Please ensure your application is complete and send it via e-mail to ABB.

The e-mail address is CH-hvg_award@abb.com

Unfortunately, that is not possible. You can only submit your application directly online.

All documents including an executive summary of the  dissertation must be submitted in English.

If your dissertation is chosen as the winner, an extensive English translation will be required.

All dissertations in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, electronics, robotics, process automation, and related disciplines can be submitted regardless of the grade. The requirement is that you have completed your degree between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2021.

No, the postdoctoral research project can investigate other topics. It should nevertheless build on the insights gleaned from the dissertation or be related to them.

After the application deadline has passed, a committee of experts comprising ABB Research Fellows assesses the dissertations and selects finalists by determining the ten best submissions. In the final round, a jury consisting of the head of ABB's technology leadership team Dr. Bernhard Eschermann, four renowned members of the scientific community, and Dr. Hubertus von Gruenberg  determines the winner. The decision is not contestable.

The jury considers a number of aspects including the following:

  • Do the results of the dissertation advance science and does the work demonstrate a high degree of novel and independent research?
  • Did the author of the paper take into account the most recent research on the topic?
  • Does the work comply with all formal and scientific requirements?
  • Has the author presented the results in an appealing and comprehensible manner (for instance, the method of presentation, selection of figures and illustrations, use of analogies)?
  • Is the quality of the doctoral thesis of a very high level?
  • Does the advising professor support the planned postdoctoral work with convincing arguments?
  • Does the proposed postdoctoral work meet the required high standard?

Prof. Nina Thornhill, Imperial College London

Nina Thornhill is Emeritus Professor of Process Automation in the College’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Her research focuses on advanced dynamic signal analysis of industrial process measurements for detection and diagnosis of disturbances occurring in applications within the oil, chemical, and health industries. 

Prof. Roland Siegwart, ETH Zurich

Roland Siegwart is Professor of Autonomous Systems at ETH Zurich and director of the Autonomous Systems Lab ASL of the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zurich. His research activities focus on mobile robot design and navigation, human–robot interaction, locomotion concepts for rough terrain, mobile micro-robots, space rovers and autonomous cars. 

Prof. Manfred Morari, University of Pennsylvania 

Manfred Morari is Practice Professor and Peter and Susanne Armstrong Faculty Fellow at Electrical and Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the development of methods for the analysis and design of control systems for switched dynamical systems (""hybrid systems"") and their application to problems in the automotive, power electronics, and biomedical domains. He is also directing research projects on active vibration control, automation in anesthesia and the control of biochemical separation units.

Dr. Ambuj Varshney, National University of Singapore

Ambuj Varshney was the recipient of the 2019 ABB Research Award. His research project is about low energy wireless sensing devices. In particular it deals with reducing the energy of the radio transmission by using so-called backscatter communication. When receiving the award Dr. Varshney was at Uppsala University, but the project has been carried out as a post-doc at University California Berkeley, with a brief period at Royal Insitute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. From January 2022 he starts a new position at National University of Singapore.

Dr. Hubertus von Gruenberg, chair of the ABB Board of Directors from 2007 through 2015

The ABB Research Award has been named in honor of Dr. Hubertus von Gruenberg, an influential en­trepreneur with a relentless passion for research.

Dr. Bernhard Eschermann, CTO of ABB Process Automation

Bernhard Eschermann is the Chief Technology Officer for Process Automation, one of ABB's four Business Areas, since 2013. As primus inter pares he is also head of the ABB group technology leadership team since 2019.

ABB plans to publish the research results of the Hubertus von Gruenberg Research Award recipient. In addition, the winner will be invited to give a presentation to the ABB research community in one or several countries and publish an article in the ABB Review, the company’s own technical journal. 

The author of the work retains the copyright. 

The award will be presented to the recipient as part of a gala award ceremony taking place in Switzerland in the autumn of 2022. ABB will also issue a press release and announce the winner on the corporate website and on social media.

With the international ABB Research Award in Honor of Hubertus von Gruenberg, we want to recognize exceptional work in power and automation — especially on topics relevant to the utility, manufacturing, transportation, and infrastructure sectors — while facilitating and encouraging advanced research in these fields around the globe.

The ABB Research Award has been established in honor of former ABB Chairman of the Board of Directors Hubertus von Gruenberg. Hubertus von Gruenberg has made a considerable contribution to the success of ABB, nearly doubling its sales revenues during his eight-year tenure. Under his leadership, ABB developed groundbreaking products such as the hybrid circuit breaker for high-voltage direct current (HVDC).

No, the Hubertus von Gruenberg Research Award, is completely independent of other ABB grants.

As a result of numerous completed and ongoing projects, ABB has maintained close contacts with universities, faculty members, and students around the globe for many years now. ABB for instance partialy funds a new center for robotics research - RobotX - at the Swiss technology institute ETH Zurich with a grant of 2.5 million Swiss Francs. The company has also entered a 5-year commitment to support the Imperial College London for a new position on Industrial Autonomous systems. At Imperial College ABB  also helped fund the construction and operation of a carbon capture pilot plant. Altogether ABB collaborates with more than 100 universities world-wide in, for example, the US, China, Finland, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, and India.

As part of its innovation commitment, ABB invests significantly in research and development, and in 2020 the company has increased R&D and digital spend to 4.8 percent of Group revenues, corresponding to around $1.3 billion. The company employs some 7,000 R&D engineers globally, of which more than 60 percent are focused on software development and digitalization.

The award is meant to fund a research project. The person who accepted the award on behalf of the research project has therefore no further right or access to the funds, in the event that they decide to pursue a new role outside of the research project or institution.

We're glad to answer any other questions you may have. Please get in touch with ABB by sending an e-mail to CH-hvg_award@abb.com.