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Benoist science prize Conflict researcher wins ‘Swiss Nobel’ prize

two men shaking hands

Benoist prize winner Lars-Erik Cederman (right) shaking hands with Federal Economics, Education and Research Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann


Political scientist Lars-Erik Cederman has been awarded this year’s Marcel Benoist prize for his work showing how fairly distributed power and resources reduce the risk of ethnic conflicts. 

Cederman, who teaches at the Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurichexternal link, has been exploring the relationship between inequality and conflict. He and his research group have compiled a global data set on ethnic groups, covering their opportunities to share in government power in the period from 1946 to 2017. They recorded inequalities between ethnic groups via expert surveys and satellite images, and then plotted these on a digital map. This data collectionexternal link is now available to politicians, academics and the general public. 

Cederman, who grew up in Sweden and is a dual Swedish-Swiss citizen, has been a professor of international conflict research at ETH Zurich since 2003. He is the first social scientist to win the prize since the economist Ernst Fehr in 2008

The Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prizeexternal link has been awarded since 1920 to scientists based in Switzerland whose work has had a beneficial impact upon society. Ten prizewinners have subsequently been awarded the Nobel Prizeexternal link.

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