Bernd Ludewig

For the sixth time, Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) awarded the A.SK Social Science Award in recognition for social scientists who contribute to social and political reform. Endowed with 100,000 Euros and recently doubled to 200,000 Euros, this grant is one of the world’s largest in the social sciences. On October 14, 2017, the award was presented to the American political scientist John G. Ruggie. Ruggie developed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which have been adopted by many transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

The award has been made possible by the Costa Rican-based Chinese entrepreneurs Angela and Shu Kai Chan, who endowed a foundation with six million €. The name of the award refers to initials of the foundation founders and is one of the the best-endowed prizes in the social sciences.

As the first prize recipient of the A.SK Social Science Award, the British economist Anthony Atkinson was honored in 2007 for his research on social inequality. In 2009, the American legal scholar and philosopher  Martha C. Nussbaum received the A.SK Social Science Award for her research on the conditions of human coexistence and social justice. In 2011, Transparency International received the award as the first institution in the history of the award. In 2013, Paul Collier (Oxford University) was honored for his research on the "The Bottom Billion" of the world population. In 2015, the prize was awarded to the French-American developmental economist Esther Duflo (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab) for her experimental studies in poverty alleviation.

Revenue from foundation capital also finances a fellowship for post-doctoral candidates. The fellowship gives younger social scientists the opportunity to work  for a period of one year – and in special cases even longer – on a project that contributes to social and political reform.

Prize and fellowship recipients are selected by an international selection committee.


Dr. Katrin Schwenk
Office for Networking and Development
fon: +49 30 25491 535
mail: [at]

Preisrede: A.SK Social Science Award 2017 für John G. Ruggie