The MICHAEL FOUNDATION is the most notable and oldest private foundation for epilepsy. It was founded in 1962 by the southern German publisher and publicist Dr. Fritz Harzendorf, whose son Michael had suffered from epilepsy since early childhood.
Epilepsy is the most common chronic disease of the central nervous system. Three to five percent of the population suffer from epilepsy during their lifetime, but often only temporarily. About 0.6% - that is 500,000 people in Germany – have a form of epilepsy that requires treatment. Among these are approximately 90,000 children below the age of 16 and approximately 150,000 people over the age of 60.
The knowledge about epilepsy is insufficient among the population and prejudice against people with epilepsy continues to exist. A substantial number of children and adults with epilepsy experience difficulties in school or at work and suffer from restrictions in day-to-day life.
The purpose of the foundation is scientific research into the causes of seizure disorders and the most suitable methods of treating them, as well as combating their individual and social consequences.
The MICHAEL FOUNDATION sees itself as a foundation to support information, training and research concerning any questions related to epilepsy. Therefore, the foundation addresses both people with epilepsy and their families as well as scientific researchers, whose work helps in understanding epilepsy and treatment options.
The MICHAEL FOUNDATION is recognized as a non-profit organization and is funded exclusively by private donors.
MICHAEL PRIZE is one of the most highly regarded international awards for the best scientific contribution to progress in the field of epileptology. The prize is awarded every other year, at the occasion of the International Epilepsy Congress, to young researchers who have not yet reached the age of 45 years.
From 2023, the prize will be awarded in the 3 categories "Pharmacology and pharmacotherapy", "Psychiatry, psychology and neuropsychology" and "Experimental epilepsy research". Each category is endowed with € 15,000.
The practical seminar is an annual 3-day training course for doctors interested in epileptology. At this seminar physicians from clinics and practices exchange experiences, knowledge and research results among themselves and in discussion with experts. Essential practice-relevant aspects of epilepsy of all ages are discussed.
The MICHAEL FOUNDATION publications covering a variety of aspects of epilepsy. They are directed to medical and non-medical professionals, people with epilepsy, and their families.
Topics include: epilepsy in older people, epilepsy in school children and adolescents, SUDEP, pregnancy and epilepsy, sports, mobility, legal and professional issues, social support for epilepsy, dealing with the disease in family, friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, there are no foreign language publications so far.
The MICHAEL FOUNDATION provides financial support for the qualification as Specialist Epilepsy Assistant and Specialist Epilepsy Counselor provided by the education and counseling section of the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel. Specialists from the fields of nursing, functional services, therapeutic services (e.g. occupational therapy), education, social work and psychology can apply.
Since 2014, the MICHAEL FOUNDATION has supported a scholarship program called "Focused Fellowships".
It gives young physicians and researchers from Europe the possibility to study and gain experience in epilepsy centers for at minimum stay of 6 weeks. Initially, the program included German centers only, but has since been extended to other European countries, starting with the King’s College London PET Centre in 2019. During their stay, fellows will become acquainted with specific, priorly defined procedures, such as advanced EEG diagnostic or imaging technology in epileptology, or participate in research projects.
Since 2014 the MICHAEL FOUNDATION has been awarding up to 4 stipends to physicians who are no older than 32 for the Practical SeminarEpilepsy and EEG. Scholarship holders will have the participation fee waived and will receive free board and lodging at the Palazzo Feltrinelli.
The MICHAEL FOUNDATION provides funds to enable a limited number of young physicans from Germany and other European countries to take part in VIREPA distance learning courses if they cannot afford the full course fees. The Foundation is willing to cover 50% of the course fee for a limited number of participants.
The HARALD FEY research prize is awarded by the MICHAEL FOUNDATION for research activities in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in memory of Harald Fey. Harald Fey died on October 28th, 2007 from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy).
The HARALD FEY PRIZE is an award for the best scientific research work regarding causes of SUDEP as well as prevention methods and coping strategies for SUDEP. The prize is endowed with € 5,000.
The SIBYLLE RIED PRIZE has been awarded since 2001 in the German-speaking area in memory of Dr. med. Sibylle Ried (29. Aug. 1956 – 14. Jun. 2000). Dr. Ried was a pioneer in the development of methods for a better treatment, counseling, and collaboration with people with epilepsy.
The prize is directed at all people and groups working in that area, explicitly also in the fields of neuropsychology, psychology, rehabilitation, social work, self-help work, etc.. The prize is awarded every two years and is endowed with € 2,500.
The conference is organized every two years by the association Social Work for Epilepsy ("Sozialarbeit bei Epilepsy e.V."). Proceedings can be obtained free of charge from the MICHAEL FOUNDATION.
The "Inge and Johann Heinrich Berger Landefeldt Foundation" is a foundation for symptomatic epilepsy. The Berger Landefeldt Foundation and the MICHAEL FOUNDATION work closely together. The office of the MICHAEL FOUNDATION is also the office of the Berger Landefeldt Foundation.