Established by Dannie Heineman in 1951, we exist to support research projects that promote scientific progress and foster international cooperation. 

We select and finance life sciences research projects carried out by partnerships between the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft(Germany), the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), and Heineman Medical Research (U.S.A.). 

We also issue two bi-annual awards for young scientists: the James Heineman Research Award, given to a life scientist selected by our partners; and the Dannie Heineman Award, given to a scientist of international renown selected by a committee at the Göttingen Academy of Sciences

We also back several grants and small projects in the Hanover region of Lower Saxony, where we were founded.

We do not accept applications for grants.



*Coordination Committee Member 

Anders Bergendahl *

Alexander Bergendahl

Crista Bergendahl

Vice Chairman
Thomas Buhl

Mia Heineman Bergendahl
Professor Dr. Amparo Acker-Palmer, Department for Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, Goethe University
Professor Dr. Yardena Samuels, Director, Ekard Institute for Cancer Diagnosis Research, Weizmann Institute of Science*
Dr. Steven Robicsek, Director, Heineman-Robicsek Medical Research
Professor Dr. Anthony Hyman, Hyman Lab, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft*

General Management 
Rainer Lüdtke, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V. 

Coordination Committee 
The Coordination Committee consists of one scientist from each of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and the Weizmann Institute of Science, as well as two independent scientists and the Chairman of the Board. The Committee is responsible for selecting proposals for funding research projects proposed by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Heineman Medical Research, and monitors and evaluates these joint projects, as well as selecting recipients of the bi-annual James Heineman Research Award. The Committee reports to the Board to have their findings approved. 

Cooperative Projects 
We focus on sponsoring individual research projects that are carried out between scientists of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Germany), the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), and/or Heineman Medical Research (U.S.A.). Assessment and selection of these projects is conducted by our Coordination Committee and overseen by the Minerva Foundation, a subsidiary of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. 

Click here for a list of Cooperative Research Projects.

The Dannie Heineman Award 
Established in 1961 in honor of our founder, the Dannie Heineman Award seeks to give early prominence to promising young researchers in all areas of the natural sciences, thereby drawing attention to new and urgent developments in science. Researchers of the humanities are also considered. The recipient is selected by a committee at the Göttingen Academy of Sciences.

€ 30,000 is awarded bi-annually, of which € 10,000 is to be used towards projects with scientific ends and € 20,000 is discretionary. Award winners are announced at a ceremony during the Göttingen Academy’s annual public meeting.

Click here for a list of all awardees.

The James Heineman Research Award 
Established in 1996 in honor of James “Jimmy” H. Heineman, the Award is granted to scientists from the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Heineman Medical Research, who have academic doctoral degrees but do not yet hold professorships, and recognizes outstanding research work in the biological and medical sciences. Nominees are selected by committees formed at the individual institutions, from which our Coordination Committeeselects a recipient, rotating between our partner institutions.

€ 60,000 is awarded bi-annually, to be used for research projects at the recipient’s discretion. This process is overseen by the Minerva Foundation, a subsidiary of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

Click here for a list of all awardees.

The Dannie Heineman Grant for Doctoral Candidates 
Established in 1962, the Dannie Heineman Grant for Doctoral Candidates is awarded to German or foreign doctoral candidates at the University of Hannover who are working on advanced qualification research projects in the technological or natural sciences, preferably electrical engineering and information technology. The recipient is selected through the Friends of the University of Hannover.

The grant size is adapted to the rates of the German Research Group (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). One person can be sponsored for a maximum of three years.

The Heineman Student Grant 
This grant is awarded to American students seeking to study technology or science courses at the University of Hannover. Nominations are made by the respective American university, and the recipient is selected by the International Office at the University of Hannover.

Chairman’s Special Grant 
The Chairman of our board has a special endowment available to support non-profit institutions in the Hanover area. € 10,000 is awarded annually, and has been used in recent years in support of the Heinemanhof nursing home. 


About our Founder 
Dannie N. Heineman was born on November 23rd, 1872 in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the U.S.A. With a scholarship provided by a successful American businessman, Dannie was able to study electrical engineering at the Hanover Technical College in Germany. Upon graduating on July 18th, 1893 he joined Union Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (UEG) in Berlin, which was initially operated as "Deutsche Edison" by Emil Rathenau. There, Dannie constructed power plants and distribution networks. In 1905, Dannie left for Brussels to take over the Société Financière de Transports et d'Entreprises Industrielles (Sofina), S.A., which would become his life work. Before his retirement from Sofina in 1955, Dannie directed his 40,000 employees in infrastructure development projects around the world, as well as in economic, scientific, and technical research. Dannie died on January 31st, 1962, at the age of 90.

Over his lifetime, Dannie was awarded the Grand-Croix de l'Ordre de Leopold II for his work in supplying Belgium with food during the First World War, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Cologne, and was named an honorary senator of the Hanover Technical College. Alongside his wife, Hettie, Dannie built a collection of handwritings, and literary and music manuscripts, now housed at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, U.S.A.

Our History 
Dannie and his wife, Hettie, initially established the Minna-James-Heineman Stiftung (“Foundation”) in 1929, in Hanover, Germany, in order to finance a charitable nursing home for elderly women, primarily of the Jewish faith. The Foundation was named after Dannie’s parents, James and Minna, both of whom were Jewish. The Foundation functioned until 1933, when its operations were suspended. In 1941, its assets were seized by the Nazis, and its building was used to intern displaced Jews. These occupants were later sent to concentration camps.

After its re-establishment in 1951, the Foundation sold its reclaimed property to the city of Hanover, which operates the Heinemanhof nursing home there today. In 1960, administration of the Foundation was assumed by Sibylle Evelt and in 1961, following a period of experimentation with both scientific and non-scientific grants, the Foundation focused its activity on the sciences with its funding of the Weizmann Institute’s Particle Accelerator Laboratory.

From 1965 - 1986, the Foundation supported international cooperation in the natural sciences by awarding grants to scientists studying at foreign universities. Until the end of 1986, scholarships and grants were awarded to 252 scientists from 34 countries.

In 1987, the Foundation re-directed itself towards medical and biochemical research, a focus it maintains today. Operational responsibilities were assumed by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V. The Board of Directors continues to work alongside the Foundation’s partners at the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Germany), the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), and Heineman Medical Research (U.S.A.), in support of the Foundation’s mission of scientific progress and international cooperation.


Mecking, Dr. Christoph, M.A., “… people can no longer escape people … The Minna-James-Heineman Stiftung”, Minna-James-Heineman-Stiftung, Essen, 1996.

Ranieri, Liane. “Dannie Heineman: An Extraordinary Life, 1872 - 1962”, Racine, 2012.

Ranieri, Liane. “Dannie Heineman, patron de la SOFINA: un destin singulier, 1872-1962”, Racine, 2005.


We finance our activities with income from our charitable trust. Any additional contributions would allow us to expand our activities. Any such contributions would be tax deductible. Contributions would be welcome in the form of a contribution to our trust’s assets (“bequests”), or a contribution directly to our operations (“donations”). Contributions without special instructions are treated as bequests. Contributions can be made to our account:

State Street Bank International GmbH, Munich
IBAN: DE40 7012 0100 0007 2177 16

Donation receipts are available upon request.

Klaus Kuli

Deutsches Stiftungszentrum (DSZ)
Baedekerstraße 1
45128 Essen

+49 0201 84 01 160

Deutsches Stiftungszentrum (DSZ)
Barkhovenallee 1
45239 Essen, Germany

Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V.,
Rainer Lüdtke, Essen/Germany


© 2024 The Heineman Foundation. All rights reserved.