The Society for the Advancement of Technology Transfer (GFFT) and its trustee Dr. Jürgen Weber, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa, honored Professor Wahlster as a pioneer in the field who has had a professional career filled with outstanding contributions promoting the transfer of research findings to commercial products and services. Prof. Wahlster is the second computer scientist to ever receive this distinction which he shares with Andreas von Bechtolsheim, the founder of Sun Microsystems in Silicon Valley. The highly respected selection committee consists of three internationally acknowledged computer science professors: Wolfgang Bibel (Chair), José Luis Encarnação, and Hartmut Raffler.
With this prestigious honor, the GFFT highlights Prof. Wahlster's extraordinary efforts on the road from scientific discovery to economic innovation as the CEO of DFKI. In his laudation, Prof. Wolfgang Bibel explained: “This award recognizes the unparalleled lifetime achievements of Prof. Wahlster, which are quite impressively demonstrated in a series of top performances as a basic researcher, university professor, manager, government consultant, and in his many other capacities."
In 2001, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany presented the German Future Prize to Professor Wahlster for his work on language technology and intelligent user interfaces. He was the first computer scientist to receive Germany's highest scientific prize. Wahlster has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which selects the Nobel Prize winners for physics and chemistry since 2003 His seminal research is honored in the hall of fame of the German Museum and the wall of fame of HNF, the world’s largest computer museum. . He is an AAAI Fellow (elected in 1993), an ECCAI Fellow (since 1999), and a GI Fellow (since 2004). Since 2009 he is a member of the Executive Steering Board of the EIT ICT Labs of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) with its German Co-Location Centre in Berlin.