Global site - English

ABB's website uses cookies. By staying here you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more

FAQ for ABB Research Award in Honor of Hubertus von Gruenberg

Who can apply for the ABB Research Award in Honor of Hubertus von Gruenberg?

Applications are accepted from scientists who have completed their PhDs in the fields of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics, robotics, process automation, or related academic disciplines in the last three years — specifically, between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2015 —and are currently working at a university, research institute, or equivalent organization.

When is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applications is January 31, 2016.

How often is the ABB Research Award offered?

The ABB Research Award will be presented for the first time in 2016 and once every three years thereafter.

What is the amount of the personal research grant the award carries?


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


Which documents do I need to submit to apply for the ABB Research Award?

Please submit the following documents to ABB in English by January 31, 2016:

  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

Where should I send the application documents?

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

The e-mail address is

Can I send in my application via postal mail?

Unfortunately, that is not possible.

In which language am I required to submit the dissertation?

All documents including a 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. 

Which grade do I need to have received for my dissertation and doctoral degree to qualify as an applicant to the ABB Research Award?

All dissertations in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, 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, 2013, and December 31, 2015.

Does the postdoctoral project have to cover the same subject as the submitted dissertation?

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. 

Which criteria are used to judge the entries?

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

The jury considers a number of aspects including the following:

  1. Do the results of the dissertation advance science and does the work demonstrate a high degree of novel and independent research?
  2. Did the author of the paper take into account the most recent research on the topic?
  3. Does the work comply with all formal and scientific requirements?
  4. 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)?
  5. Is the quality of the doctoral thesis of a very high level?
  6. Does the advising professor support the planned postdoctoral work with convincing arguments?
  7. Does the proposed postdoctoral work meet the required high standard? 

Who sits on the jury?

The jury for the 2016 ABB Award consists of the following members:
  • Professor Robert Armstrong, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Professor Ulrike Grossner, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH Zurich)
  • Professor Nina Thornhill, Imperial College London
  • Professor Zheyao Wang, Tsinghua University, Beijing
  • The Chief Technology Officer at ABB
  • Dr. Hubertus von Gruenberg, chairman of the ABB Board of Directors from 2007 to 2015

Does ABB plan to publish the winner’s research results, or will they be kept confidential within ABB?

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. 

Who owns the copyright to the results of the postdoctoral research project?

The author of the work retains the copyright. 

How and when will the winner of the ABB Research Award be publicized?

The award will be presented to the recipient as part of a gala award ceremony taking place in Switzerland in mid-2016. ABB will also issue a press release and announce the winner on the corporate website and on social media. 

Why has ABB established the ABB Research Award in Honor of Hubertus von Gruenberg?

With the international Hubertus von Gruenberg Research Award, ABB is seeking 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 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). 

Does the ABB Research Award in Honor of Hubertus von Gruenberg replace the existing ABB Research Grant Program?

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

What relationships does ABB currently maintain with universities?

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 funded a professorship in power semiconductors at the Swiss technology institute ETH Zurich with a grant of 5 million Swiss Francs. The company has also entered a 10-year commitment to support the Imperial College London. This involves US$ 1 million in funding from ABB for the construction and operation of carbon capture pilot plants. With the Research Grant Program, ABB supports promising projects at universities in the US, China, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, German, and Singapore — 40 researchers have benefited from this program in 2013 alone.

How important is research and development at ABB?

Research and development is highly valued at ABB. The company invests roughly US$1.5 billion in R&D every year. 8,500 scientists and engineers are active in R&D in more than 30 countries whereof approximately  1,000 scientists  work in seven research centers in Germany, Sweden, Poland, China, India, the US, and Switzerland, developing technologies in the fields of communications, controls, mechanics, power electronics, sensors, software, materials, electromagnetics and switchgear. ABB is constantly seeking new ways to reduce energy and resource consumption and support our customers with outstanding solutions — all in keeping with our vision of Power and Productivity for a Better World

What happens in the event that the awardee leaves the institution and/or the research project during the research process and the money has not yet been used up?

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.

I have more questions, who can I contact?

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