Congratulations! | June 9, 2018

EAPS Award for James Vaupel

MPIDR founding director James Vaupel received the prestigious EAPS award for population studies at the European Population Conference 2018 in Brussels.

James Vaupel became the first director of the MPIDR when it was founded in1996 and remained director until 2017.

© MPIDR, Photo: Bernd Hagedorn

The prestigious EAPS Award for Population Studies is awarded by the European Association for Population Studies (EAPS) and is meant to honor "groundbreaking original contributions to the study of population with far reaching implications for our discipline and our understanding of population dynamics."

Leading European demographers, among them former EAPS Award laureats Frans Willekens and Wolfgang Lutz, described in a nomination letter to EAPS, why "Jim" Vaupel now got the more than deserved EAPS Award: "Jim is one of the world’s leading demographers, and innovator and institution builder in demography."

Vaupel had three main research interests: the rise in human life expectancy; the biodemography of mortality and fertility across the tree of life; and mathematical demography. He published in top scientific journals and his research was also covered frequently in the media, as he was brilliant in relating his scientific work to topics relevant in the public discussion, such as retirement ages, the distribution of work over the lifecourse, or health policies.

"Path-breaking and world-leading Contributions to Demography"

"Jim revolutionised the demography of ageing," the nominators wrote in their letter. They say that his approach has consistently been multidisciplinary, incorporating both human and non-human biology, mathematics, genetics, and public policy.

They also stress that his institution-building contributions have been crucial for the development of current European demography. In 1996, Vaupel established the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, and in 2013 the Max Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging (MaxO) at the University of Southern Denmark. In 2005 he co-founded the European Doctoral School of Demography (EDSD) and in 2009 Population Europe, two initiatives under the auspices of EAPS.

The nominators conclude that "without (Vaupel's) ideas, energy and ability to reach out, demography would not be in the strong position among the sciences it enjoys today."

The European Population Conference, at which the award ceremony has taken place today, is the largest and most important meeting of the demographic research community in Europe.