Skip to main content

Josef Penninger awarded with the “Golden Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria”

On November 7th 2018, Josef Penninger, founding director of IMBA, was awarded the “Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria”. This golden medal is one of the most prestigious awards in Austria to honour people, who have rendered meritorious services to the country.

Federal Minister for Science Education Heinz Faßmann presented this outstanding award at a ceremony in the Ministry of Science. In his speech, Faßmann emphasized the special achievements of the distinguished personalities, who contribute with their outstanding commitment to the high reputation of Austria at home and abroad and highlighted Josef’s scientific achievements and societal contributions in Austria, and abroad. 


Josef Penninger used to be lead researcher at the Amgen Research Institute in Toronto. In 2002 he accepted the appointment as founding director of the newly established Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Austria. Major achievements include pioneering insights into the molecular basis of osteoporosis and breast cancer, as well as the study of metastatic spread. His group has also developed the first haploid embryonic stem cells for functional genetics. He has authored and co-authored more than 650 scientific papers. Josef Penninger’s major awards include the Descartes Prize, the Wittgenstein Prize of the Austrian Federal Government, the Ernst Jung Prize for medical excellence, an AAAS Award the Innovator Award from Era of Hope/DOD and a second ERC Advanced grant. From December 2018 on, Josef Penninger will lead the Life Science Institute of the University of Vancouver as appointed Scientific Director, tenured Professor and Canada 150 Research Chair.