On October 1, 2023, the Governing Mayor Kai Wegner on behalf of the Senate awarded the Order of Merit of the State of Berlin to citizens who have rendered outstanding services to the city. The award ceremony took place from 11 am in the Great Hall of the Red City Hall “Rotes Rathaus” during a ceremony.
Alexandra Knauer was honored for her achievements as a successful and socially particularly committed entrepreneur. Her company, which has been manufacturing high-tech laboratory instruments in Berlin for 62 years, had developed novel production equipment for encapsulating the mRNA active ingredient into lipid nanoparticles for vaccine production at the beginning of the Corona pandemic in a very short time.
Without this "packaging" in the microscopically small lipid nanoparticles, the sensitive active ingredient cannot reach the body cells undamaged and would be ineffective. Few people know that it is thanks to a technical development from Berlin-Zehlendorf that BioNTech/Pfizer's Corona vaccine could be produced on such a large scale so quickly. The new BioNTech vaccine is also produced using KNAUER's equipment.
In addition, the laudatory speech highlighted the fact that the Berlin entrepreneur has been socially involved in an honorary capacity on several boards of trustees and committees for many years. Since 2020, for example, she has also been active in the "Women in Business" initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The initiative's goal is to encourage more women to take the professional step into self-employment.
In Alexandra Knauer's company, sustainability and equal opportunities are very important. At KNAUER, for example, there has not been a significant gender pay gap for several years: at the beginning of 2023, women there even earned just under 1.4 percent more than men. For comparison, in Germany the average wage for women is still 18 percent below that of men (unadjusted pay gap). The recipe for success also includes cooperation with many Berlin or regional partners such as suppliers and research institutions. KNAUER devices are „Made in Berlin“.
"I am very honored by this accolade! I am incredibly grateful to my great team of 190 employees and my co-managing director for their commitment. Everyone in the team is important and contributes to the fact that we are very innovative and can deliver top performance,"
The circle of former honorees includes, for example, humorist Loriot, author and director Freya Klier, heart specialist Roland Hetzer, actress, singer and author Hildegard Knef, Holocaust survivor, journalist and author Inge Deutschkron, artist and 'tree patron' Ben Wagin, actress and director Katharina Thalbach, songwriter Reinhard Mey or Albrecht Broemme, former THW and city fire chief and coordinator responsible for Berlin's corona vaccination centers and for the accommodation of Ukraine refugees.
The day on which the order is awarded each year on October 1 has symbolic significance for Berlin, because it was on this date in 1950 that Berlin's first constitution came into force. Besides Alexandra Knauer, eleven other personalities were honored on Sunday.
The family-owned company KNAUER Wissenschaftliche Geräte GmbH develops and manufactures high-tech laboratory instruments, for example HPLC systems, that can be used to perform analyses or to purify for example, active pharmaceutical ingredients. The sales network extends over 70 countries. Alexandra Knauer, who manages the company together with Carsten Losch, attaches great importance to corporate responsibility both towards the employees and towards the environment and society. More information about KNAUER at: www.knauer.net