International Prize – Thematic 2020

The 2020 Fyssen International Prize will be awarded for research in :


Since its foundation, the Fyssen Foundation has supported and recognised advanced research into the behaviour of living things and how this behaviour develops over the course of a lifetime or over the evolutionary long-term. Within such a wide potential remit, one important focus has always been on human culture and technology. This focus fruitfully spans several distinct academic traditions internationally, but nevertheless has often also been very interdisciplinary, within and between subject areas such as social anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, archaeology and paleoanthropology.
For its 2020 International Prize, the Foundation therefore wishes to recognise a well-established, leading researcher who has made a prolonged, international impact on our understanding of the relationship between technology and techniques, evolution and transmission in human populations, with specific regard to more than one of the following sub-themes:

– How shorter-term learning processes produce stability or change in human culture and technology over centennial or longer time-spans.
– How modern computational technologies have enhanced what we know about the transmission of culture within and between human populations.
– How we understand the role of discursive technologies such as languages, symbols or scripts in cultural transmission over time or space.
– How we understand the relationship between long-term changes in human/hominin physiology and changes in culture.
– How we understand the role of population in the process of technological and cultural change.

The award for the International Prize is 100 000 €