The Hungarian-American Stephen W. Kuffler (born: Vilmos Kuffler; 1913-1980) was a pioneering genius in several fields of neuroscience as well as an excellent teacher and mentor whose three students received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Stephen W. Kuffler founded the first neurobiology department at Harvard University. The foundation was established in 2012 to cherish the memory of its namesake and to develop the talents of young researchers. The founder Péter Somogyi, professor of neurobiology at Oxford University, won the "Semmelweis-Budapest Prize" in 2012. During the award ceremony on 22nd November 2012, he announced that, on the occasion of the centenary of Stephen W. Kuffler’s birth, he would allocate the ten thousand euros associated with the award to the creation of a foundation named after Stephen W. Kuffler. The aim of the foundation is to promote and support the work of young and talented researchers. In addition to "Steve's" former students and colleagues, the world's leading neuroscientists joined the initiative, hence the Stephen W. Kuffler Research Foundation was able to start its activitiy in October 2013.
Based on the decision of the Trustees led by Zoltán Nusser, a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, our predoctoral colleague István Fodor, together with 11 other young researchers, received the 2022 Stephen W. Kuffler PhD Scholarship last Friday (14th October 2022) in Budapest. István won the support of the Trustees with his application entitled "Investigation of changes induced by progestogens in the neuroendocrine and reproductive system of the great pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis) in a top-down approach using modern multidisciplinary methods". During the ceremony, Professor Ágnes Kittel, the secretary of the Trustees, highlighted that the 8 first-author publications (most of them were published in D1-ranked journals) included in the application show very impressive research activity, for which she expressed her congratulations. He also praised the work of the supervisor, Zsolt Pirger.
In his speech, Péter Somogyi highlighted that after learning about the activities of the laurates, he is sure that many of them experienced the eerily exciting but rare moment of discovery, recognition, and insight. He also pointed out that recognition is born in the brain of the individual, which is a great thing in science. However, supportive circumstances are needed for this to happen, where thought blooms, colleagues work together, and a stimulating environment stimulates creativity and self-realization. He ended his speech with a quote from John Lennon's hymn 'Imagine':
“You, you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one”.