Marie Heim-Vögtlin prize for outstanding young women researchers

Anna Elsner wins the 2022 MHV Prize

Literature has always been concerned with death. But our view of dying is changing, partly due to longer life expectancy in the West. Based on French writing going back to the 1970s, Anna Elsner has examined how literature addresses the changing role of dying and palliative care in society. Among other things, she has explored how literary reflection on death goes beyond the question of individual suffering without denying the pain associated with the end of life.

This work at the intersection of French literature, philosophy and medicine was financed by a Marie Heim-Vögtlin grant as part of SNSF career funding. Since 2020, Anna Elsner has been assistant professor of French literature and culture at the University of St. Gallen.

About the Marie Heim-Vögtlin Prize

The SNSF awards the Marie Heim-Vögtlin (MHV) Prize each year to an outstanding woman researcher. Prizewinners are inspiring role models whose careers progressed significantly thanks to a grant from the SNSF. The prize is worth 25,000 Swiss francs. For ten years, the prize was awarded to former recipients of the MHV funding scheme. Now that this scheme has been discontinued, the prize is being awarded to former female grantees of the MHV, Doc.CH, Postdoc.Mobility, Ambizione and PRIMA funding schemes.

Named after a pioneering woman

The MHV Prize was named after Marie Heim-Vögtlin, who became the first Swiss woman to study medicine when she was admitted to the University of Zurich’s medical faculty in 1868. On completing her studies, she opened a gynaecological practice, where she continued practising after giving birth to two children. She is regarded as one of the pioneers in the struggle to give women access to higher education.