Hosted by the EUI's Max Weber Programme for Postdoctoral Studies, the inaugural Kohli Foundation Award Ceremony, was held to recognise exceptional achievements in the field of sociology. This year, the ceremony honoured and awarded prizes to two distinguished scholars, Kathleen Mullan Harris and Gøsta Esping-Andersen.
"It is a great honour for the EUI to host the first ceremony of the Kohli Foundation for Sociology," said Juho Härkönen, Director of the Max Weber Programme for Postdoctoral Studies, during his welcoming speech. "An even greater privilege is to host the ceremony for the first Kohli Sociology Prize, recognising the outstanding contributions of Gøsta Esping-Andersen, who served as a Professor at the EUI from 1986 to 1993. This period, which was crucial to the EUI's early development, was marked by his significant contributions to social sciences and placing the EUI on the academic map," he added.
Professor Gøsta Esping-Andersen, a laureate of the Kohli Prize for Sociology and Professor Emeritus at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, was recognised for his groundbreaking work on the comparative study of the welfare regimes and family demographics in capitalist societies. In expressing his gratitude for receiving the award, Professor Gøsta Esping-Andersen stated, "Above all, I am deeply thankful to Martin Kohli for the incredible honour of receiving this award. Being the first recipient of the Kohli Prize for Sociology is an additional honour and my biggest thank you is reserved for Martin Kohli."
Kathleen Mullan Harris, representing the Add Health Initiative, was awarded the Infrastructure Prize for Sociology for her pivotal role in creating a unique longitudinal data set that allows to study individuals and their families in their social, behavioural, and biological dimensions across the life course.
In her speech, Kathleen Mullan Harris expressed, "It is with great honour and gratitude that I accept this inaugural prize for Infrastructure in Sociology on ADD Health. The development of data and resources for sociological research is a job of both high risk and reward." Offering advice to emerging scholars in the field, she added, "to the new junior sociology scholars who are embarking on such a journey, my advice is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable – it is highly rewarding."
The ceremony also acknowledged Camille Portier, a distinguished EUI Max Weber Fellow, for her excellent research and successful candidacy for the esteemed Kohli Fellowship for Sociology, within the context of the Max Weber Fellowship Programme, where she will have the opportunity to pursue her research in the vibrant intellectual community of the EUI.
The Kohli Foundation, based in Berlin, is committed to honouring outstanding contributions to sociological knowledge with the aim of advancing the study of societies. The foundation is committed to promoting fundamental and reflexive knowledge through its recognition of academic excellence, persistence, and creativity.
Looking ahead, the Kohli Foundation and the EUI will continue their existing collaboration, organising joint events, including the bi-annual award ceremony for the Kohli Prize for Sociology and the Infrastructure Prize for Sociology. These initiatives align with the Foundation's mission to make a meaningful impact on sociology as an academic field with both European and international dimensions, fostering interdisciplinary connections and increasing public awareness of sociology's contributions to understanding complex societies.
The Max Weber Programme (MWP) is the largest international postdoctoral programme in the social sciences and humanities in Europe. It is known for pioneering the idea of a taught postdoctoral programme in the social and historical sciences – a distinct model that combines support for research with teaching, academic communication, and other career development skills. It fosters multidisciplinary research collaboration across departments and between established and early career researchers within the EUI.