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Honors and Awards 2020

It is a tradition at the University of Bayreuth to honour outstanding achievements at the President's Dinner. Unfortunately, this was not possible in 2020 due to coronavirus. Nevertheless, we would like to briefly introduce the award winners and their work on this webpage.

Prize of the City of Bayreuth

The Prize of the City of Bayreuth is awarded annually to a maximum of three candidates from different faculties of the University of Bayreuth for their outstanding dissertations.

Sabrina Maria MaurusHide
Sabrina Maurus

Appreciation of the achievement

Sabrina Maurus receives the Prize of the City of Bayreuth for her dissertation "Battles over State Making on a Frontier. Dilemmas of Schooling, Young People and Agro-Pastoralism in Hamar, Southwest Ethiopia". The thesis was awarded summa cum laude.

In her doctoral thesis, Sabrina Maurus analyses violent conflicts that arise during the implementation of compulsory schooling in Hamar District in southwestern Ethiopia. From the perspective of young people, she shows the dilemmas faced by children who are the first to attend school in their agro-pastoral families.

While the Ethiopian state strives to expand its power at the periphery of the country, and to contribute to the sedentarisation of the population through school education, parents try to ensure the livelihood of their households in the present and for the future, and to defend it against impingement by the state.

In her dissertation, Sabrina Maurus describes, free of ideology and political partisanship, the dilemmas resulting from the conflict between parents and the state for the hearts and minds of young people, some of whom break away from their parents in order to be able to attend school, but some of whom bow to pressure from their parental home and drop out of school or leave due to the harsh conditions at schools. The consequences of these decisions permeate all areas of the children's lives, from values, work opportunities, family future, and lifestyle. At the same time, these decisions point the way for shaping the embattled social change at the periphery of the state.

With enormous personal effort, with the greatest possible commitment to empirical research, and with a great deal of sensitivity for the young people, a work has emerged that comprehensively illuminates a conflict in Africa that has hardly been considered so far. Empirically dense and theoretically adept, Ms Maurus has succeeded in creating a socially highly-relevant work.

Milestones in the curriculum vitae

Sabrina Maurus studied Comparative Cultural and Religious Studies at Philipps University of Marburg. After her bachelor's degree, she transferred to the University of Bayreuth and studied for a Master's degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology. She has remained loyal to Bayreuth to this day, first as a doctoral student at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), and now as a research assistant in the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence.

Dr.-Ing. Tom DrewsHide
Tom Drews

Appreciation of the achievement

The prize of the city of Bayreuth is awarded to Dr. Tom Drews for his doctoral thesis on the topic of "Target-determined design of production systems", which was awarded summa cum laude.

Dr. Tom Drews has written a dissertation that is both scientifically brilliant but also offers remarkable practical insights from which the manufacturing industry in the Bayreuth area can profit enormously and draw competitive advantage.

Where the possibilities of corporate management of industrial production have reached their limits, the comprehensive theoretical approach and its computer-based, practically applicable implementation come into play. The intelligent support of industrial production by computer systems is indispensable in view of the countless influencing variables involved. For this purpose, Dr. Tom Drews has taken into account several dozen of these influencing factors such as customer expectations, cost pressure, delivery bottlenecks, and market change.

The target-determined design of production consists of a three-stage methodology: the survey of the status quo, and the analysis as well as the simulation of industrial production systems. The combination of engineering, decision, and systems theory aspects is the particularly innovative feature of Dr. Drews’ methodology.

Dr. Drews has developed a simulation model that can be applied to any company and enables the most important twelve technical management methods established in science and practice to be applied to five defined target variables in the dimensions of time, flexibility, economic efficiency, and quality. Dr. Tom Drews has already been able to demonstrate and prove its applicability in practice in a company.

Milestones in the curriculum vitae

Tom Drews was born in Berlin in 1987. He studied industrial engineering at Dresden University of Technology. After his diplom, Tom Drews moved to the University of Bayreuth and completed his doctorate at the Faculty of Engineering. He has been working for D. Swarovski KG in Wattens, Austria, as Expert Value Engineer since 2018. His main areas of work are the optimisation and design of production processes and the implementation of key figures and measures  for improvement.

Dr. Gemechu Adimassu AbeshuHide
Gemechu Abeshu

Appreciation of the achievement

Dr Gemechu Adimassu Abeshu receives the Prize of the City of Bayreuth for his doctoral thesis "New Forms of Power in the Afar Region of Ethiopia: The Rise of Big Men near the Ethiopia and Djibouti Border", which was awarded summa cum laude. The work was supervised by Prof. Dr. Georg Klute.

The debate about land is one of the most important issues in Ethiopia, and in Africa as a whole. Various factors play a role, such as the economic importance of the land, its appreciation in value, its political significance, and even ethnic issues. During his fieldwork, Dr. Gemechu Adimassu Abeshu in particular investigated and analysed the emergence of a new form of power in Ethiopia - the "Big Man", which developed through political ventures between traditional authorities and the Ethiopian state.

Dr Gemechu Adimassu Abeshu shows how much power the Big Men now have, and how they establish monopolies over the land and its resources. Indeed, they have more power than traditional authorities such as clans. They legitimise this power by working in their territories, redistributing resources, and claiming to be aware of their social responsibilities.

Since local actors are crucial, especially in the geographic and geopolitical constellation of the Horn of Africa, the Big Men cooperate more with the Ethiopian state than with the traditional authorities, and are thus recognised by the government. In a similar manner to their networking with the state, they also link their power to the military by influencing the military through donations.

In his research, Dr. Gemechu Adimassu Abeshu applies the concept of heterarchy, in which individual parts of an organisation perform the theoretically same political and authoritarian role, to the Afar region. In doing so, he shows that the Big Men are by no means to be located below the state, but rather act parallel to it. In doing so, he illustrates how the relationships between the various actors in the region are constantly changing and vary between the extremes of cooperation and open conflict.

The doctoral thesis of Dr Gemechu Adimassu Abeshu shows remarkable scientific quality, for which he took great personal risk to life and limb during his field research.

Milestones in the curriculum vitae

The academic career of Dr Gemechu Adimassu Abeshu, who was born in western Ethiopia, is equally impressive. After completing his bachelor's degree in Geography and Environmental Studies at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, he went on to study a master's degree in Development Studies there. He then moved to the University of Antwerp in Belgium and completed a master's degree in Governance and Development Studies. He was awarded top grades both master’s degrees. In 2019, he then completed his doctorate at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies.

Science Prize (Universitätsverein)

The Science Prize of the Universitätsvereins (University Association) is awarded annually for outstanding academic achievements in promoting early-career scholars at the University of Bayreuth. The prize honours academic achievement that extends far beyond the demands of a doctorate.

In 2020, the prize will be shared.

Dr. Anna Maria OberländerHide
Anna-Maria Oberländer

Acknowledgement of achievement

According to Professor Dr. Röglinger (first examiner of the dissertation and supervisor of the habilitation candidate), Dr. Oberländer's scientific achievement combines "practical relevance with theoretical soundness at the highest scientific level".

In her dissertation, Ms Oberländer already dealt with the conceptualisation of digital possibilities for action ("opportunities") for established companies. The digital transformation is currently taking place with unprecedented dynamism and creating new opportunities for companies. In particular, it is often established companies that have difficulties identifying and using digital innovations that lead to new products, services, or business models. This is where Ms Oberländer's dissertation came in and for the first time scientifically investigated these innovative options for action and management. She focuses on digital innovations made possible by the "Internet of Things (IoT)" - a technology that transforms everyday objects into autonomous actors. 

With six scientific contributions, Ms Oberländer's cumulative dissertation represented a very convincing overall scientific work in the field of digital innovation. From the point of view of the reviewers, it is remarkable that in the comparatively short time of her scientific activity, Ms Oberländer, together with international co-authors, has written such a large number of scientific contributions on the topic of digital innovation, as a promising field of research. Most of these have already been published by double-blind peer-reviewed journals or conferences, which speaks for the quality of the publications.

Professor Röglinger also emphasises Ms Oberländer's already clearly defined and internationally competitive research profile. The practical relevance of her research work is particularly important, as it stands to contribute significantly to increasing the innovative capacity of established, often medium-sized companies (e.g. in and around the region of Upper Franconia). In the course of her work as a research assistant, Ms. Oberländer has very successfully set up the new project format "Digital Innovation Workshop" at the University of Bayreuth in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Project Group for Information Systems Management, which develops and carries out applied research projects with companies in the area of digital innovation.

Curriculum vitae highlights

Anna Maria Oberländer was born in Munich in 1989. She studied technology and management-oriented business administration (bachelor’s degree) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), and completed a master's degree with high distinction at the Universities of Augsburg and Munich (TUM) in the Finance and Information Management elite network programme. In parallel, she was already working on the "Internet of Things" and "Business-to-Thing (B2T) Interactions" research projects (with Prof. Dr. Michael Rosemann) at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane as part of her master's thesis. After two years in entrepreneurial practice, during which she worked as a strategy consultant, she returned to academia and was awarded her doctorate summa cum laude in February 2020 at the University of Bayreuth on the topic of "Conceptualization of Digital Opportunities for Incumbents". Since May 2020, she has been a post-doc at the Faculty of Law, Business & Economics at the University of Bayreuth, and is working towards habilitating in business administration and information systems management.

Dr. Sofia RüdigerHide
Dr. Sofia Rüdiger

Appreciation of the achievement

In recognition of her outstanding academic achievements, her nominator, Professor Dr Susanne Mühleisen (Chair of English Linguistics), states that Dr Rüdiger has established herself as an outstanding academic since beginning work at the University of Bayreuth, who - although still in her qualifying phase as a post-doctoral researcher - is already very well regarded both nationally and internationally.

With her dissertation "Characterizing the Spoken Korean English Repertoire: Morpho-Syntactic Patterns of Korean(ized) English", which she completed in November 2017 with the distinction "summa cum laude", she has succeeded in making a very important and standard-setting research contribution to the linguistic description and classification of the forms of World English by analysing the status, function, and structural characteristics of spoken English in Korea. The study, with which Ms. Rüdiger follows on from her master's thesis on English loan words used in Korea, also completed at the University of Bayreuth, is original, innovative in its approach, and highly circumspect and carefully crafted, according to the reviewer. It cannot be emphasised enough that Ms Rüdiger not only familiarised herself with the Korean language for the thesis, but also collected, created, and processed a very ambitious and elaborate data corpus to enable the systematic description of spoken English in contemporary Korea. Moreover, the work presents a very high level of reflection in the field of theoretical discussion on the classification of forms of World English.

The work was published in 2019 in the prestigious Varieties of English around the World (VEAW) series by John Benjamins (Philadelphia/Amsterdam), and has received extremely positive international attention.

Given the relatively short time since completing her excellent dissertation at the end of 2017, her publication record is very impressive, with one monograph, two edited volumes, and 15 essays published in journals and editions.

Beyond her globally respected scholarly engagement with forms of World English, Dr Rüdiger has made a name for herself in other research fields in recent years. Not only has she published work on the linguistic analysis of mukbang (eating shows distributed on Youtube) in the field of "Language & Food", based at the English Linguistics research group, but she has also already presented a considerable body of research on the linguistic strategies of pick-up artists (as they interact and advise each other on the internet). The relevance and quality of her research output is moreover evidenced by the third-party funding Dr. Rüdiger has raised, and the many invitations she has received to give guest and research lectures.

In the context of her habilitation, "Historical Perspectives on the Speech Act of Indirect Complaints", Dr Rüdiger is using historical corpora (from existing data material such as letters and drama) to investigate how the linguistic activity of "indirect complaint" can be classified historically and socially. Professor Dr Mühleisen is confident that Ms Rüdiger will go on to make a name for herself in this field, as well, and successfully complete her habilitation project.

Curriculum vitae highlights

Sofia Rüdiger, a native of Lower Franconia, is an alumna of the University of Bayreuth. Here she completed her bachelor's degree in English Studies with a minor in Applied Computer Science in 2010, and a master's degree in Intercultural Anglophone Studies in 2012, with impressive final grades. In 2017, she was awarded her doctorate summa cum laude, at her alma mater, on the topic of "Characterizing the Spoken Korean English Repertoire: Morpho-Syntactic Patterns of Korean(ized) English". Since 2012, Ms Rüdiger has been a research assistant, and since 2018 a temporary academic councillor for English Linguistics at the University of Bayreuth. During this time, Dr Rüdiger has spent various periods abroad for field research and as a visiting scholar, for example, in South Korea, Taiwan, and Switzerland.

The procedure leading towards her habilitation was initiated at the end of April 2020 on the topic of "Historical Perspectives on the Speech Act of Indirect Complaints".

DAAD Prize

The DAAD Prize is awarded to foreign students studying in Bayreuth with outstanding results who make a significant contribution to intercultural dialogue.

Hanza DimanHide
Hanza Diman

Appreciation of the achievement

Hanza Diman has shown excellent academic achievements and impressive social commitment in the cultural and social field. He is one of the most promising young African researchers in Bayreuth.

In his dissertation in the subject "History of Africa" at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, he deals with the topic "Wood for the kitchen: towards a history of the supply and use of fuelwood in urban households of West Africa: the case of Lomé (from 1884 to the present)".

In his academic research, Hanza Diman aims to combine his ambitions as a contemporary historian with research topics from everyday life in an interdisciplinary way. He combines economic, social, cultural, and environmental aspects to examine ecological degradation and inequality, as well as sustainable development and policy reform.

He addresses scientific issues with exceptional scientific and intellectual aptitude and a keen interest in innovative topics, and pursues his academic career with rigour and high personal motivation. He has already established global networks by presenting research results at Harvard University as well as at the universities of Groningen, Leipzig, Erlangen, and Sousse. His research work has already been published, with more papers set to appear. With great far-sight, he has cultivated and expanded his scientific contacts in his home country of Benin.

In addition to the scientific research for his dissertation, Mr Diman has been socially, (educationally) politically, culturally, and socially involved in recent years. Particularly noteworthy is his involvement in the organising team and as coordinator of the Afrika@School project, as well as co-founder of the Model African Union Association and founder of the think-and-do tank Africa Politicum. His involvement in German-African institutions is rounded off by his participation in the Farafina Institut e.V. and the Central Council of the African Community in Germany. At BIGSAS, he was the representative of the doctoral students, and continues to show active interest in networking with fellow students and creating synergies. Hanza Diman received a scholarship from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation during his doctoral studies.

Prize for the Advancement of Women to faculties

As part of target agreements between the University Governing Board and the faculties for the implementation of equal opportunities (1st round: 2013-2017, 2nd round: 2018-2022), the University of Bayreuth annually awards a Prize for the Advancement of Women to faculties. For the duration of five years in each case, specific key figures for increasing the proportion of women at different levels have been defined with individual faculties in target agreements, and tailored measures developed for implementation over the duration of the target agreements.

As an incentive for the faculties to achieve their goals, the University offers an annual prize for the advancement of women worth a total of € 70,000. This is awarded in three categories:

  • Category 1: Completed Doctorates (€ 10,000)
  • Category 2: Successful Qualification for Professorship (€ 20,000)
  • Category 3: Proportion of Female Professors (€ 40,000)

In 2020, the University will award the prize for the advancement of women in the category "Completed doctorates" to the Faculty of Linguistics & Literatures. The prize in the category "Successful Qualification for Professorship" goes to the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, and in the category "Proportion of Female Professors" to both the Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences and the Faculty of Cultural Studies (prize shared). Prize money is spent at the discretion of the faculties.

With the renegotiation of the target agreements for the period 2018-2022, the University Governing Board has also provided an annual "Budget for Innovative Equality Measures" of €10,000, which is available on application. In 2019, the following measures were funded through this budget:

Category "Completed Doctorates"Hide

Faculty of Languages & Literatures
(€ 10.000)

Category "Successful Qualification for Professorship"Hide

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
(€ 20.000)

Category "Proportion of Female Professors"Hide

Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences (€ 20.000) as well as Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
(€ 20.000)

„Golden Raven“ (University Award for Outstanding Teaching)

The University Award for Outstanding Teaching was first presented in 2014 and has been awarded annually since then. The prize is awarded alternately to a professor and a research assistant. The "golden raven" is an award for particularly good teaching performance. Prize-winners are selected on the basis of proposals from all faculties by a higher-level committee consisting of one representative from each of the student representative councils, the Continuing Education Centre for Higher Education (FBZHL), the Speaker's Council, and the Vice President for Teaching & Learning.

Prof. Dr. Stephan GekleHide

Appreciation of the achievement

Covid-19 is a major challenge for teaching - especially at a family university like Bayreuth. For lecturers, the mandating of online courses has raise new questions. How does learning work without personal contact? How do I keep in touch with my students? And how do I motivate them to deal with the material regularly?

The "Golden Raven" is the award for outstanding teaching at the University of Bayreuth. This year it honours lecturers who have addressed these questions in new and intelligent ways. Prof. Dr. Stephan Gekle, Professor of Theoretical Physics, in particular "Biofluid Simulation and Modelling", was nominated by the Mathematics, Physics & Computer Science student representatives. An online vote ultimately resulted in the decision in favour of Prof. Gekle.

When you talk to students about Mr Gekle, they mention two things in particular: Teaching and accessibility. Even with purely digital teaching, he manages to make complicated subject matter understandable. And at the same time, he always keeps an open ear for students - both online and offline. A particularly good example of this is his lecture "Theoretical Mechanics".

For physics students, "Theoretical Mechanics" is a basic lecture. The topics are - among other things - Kepler’s equations, Newton’s formulae, and the theory of relativity by Albert Einstein. Not the most accessible material!

Even for physics students, these topics are anything but easy. Prof. Gekle, however, manages to explain the complex content in his videos in such a way that it is easy to understand. At the same time, he offers his students many additional opportunities to make learning easier.

One of these offers is e-learning quizzes. This is a very practical way for course participants to test their level of knowledge. Especially if, as is the case with Prof. Gekle, you receive detailed feedback on answers. A question wall was also instituted. With the help of a kind of "digital board", students could ask questions anonymously - which were then answered promptly and comprehensively.

Good videos, exercises, quizzes, and the question wall together make learning the material much easier. Of course, they do not replace the course participants' own work. Yet Prof. Gekle has invested a lot of work in giving his students the best possible opportunities.

The question wall exemplifies the second point mentioned: accessibility. You notice this in the "Theoretical Mechanics” lecture. But also, for example, when you write a thesis with Mr Gekle. There are not many working groups where you meet weekly with the supervising professor to discuss the progress of your work and problems. Nor are there many lecturers who accompany new students throughout their time at the University as a confidant.

Supervision and teaching are obviously close to Prof. Gekle’s heart. He holds well thought-out classes, never patronizing students, providing a wealth of additional content and excellent teaching of complex material. For this, Prof. Gekle thoroughly deserves the teaching award of the University of Bayreuth.

Curriculum vitae highlights

Prof. Stephan Gekle was born in Nürtingen in 1978. He studied physics in Stuttgart from 1999, including a stay abroad in Valladolid, Spain. He completed his doctorate in 2009 at the University of Twente in the Netherlands on the impact of objects on water surfaces. After a short period as a post-doc in Twente, he moved to the Technical University of Munich in the same position. In 2012, he moved to the University of Bayreuth to become group leader for "Biofluid Simulation and Modelling". A year later, he became a Lichtenberg Junior Professor and has held a W2 professorship in the same field since 2018.  His research focuses, among other things, on the formation of blood platelets in the human body as well as on the behaviour of red blood cells, and that of microplastic particles in the environment.

Bayreuth Teaching Award for Digitally Supported Teaching

The "Bayreuth Teaching Award for Digitally Supported Teaching" has been awarded since the 2017/2018 winter semester. With this teaching award, the University Governing Board wishes to honour instructors with a special commitment to the design of teaching-learning processes with digital resources. This year, due to the Covid 19 situation and the associated digital-only teaching in the 2020 summer semester, the teaching award will be given to three people. All instructors can apply for this award independently or after being invited to do so, by presenting their teaching-learning scenarios with digital resources. The selection of an award winner is made by a six-member committee with representatives from the University Governing Board, the Centre for Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, the Student Parliament, and the Equal Opportunities Department.

Dr. Katharina PtackHide
Katharina Ptack

Appreciation of the achievement

This year, Dr. Katharina Ptack from the Social & Health Sciences in Sport research group is awarded the "Bayreuth Teaching Prize for Digitally Supported Teaching". The award relates to her course entitled "Health and Fitness” comprising 2 weekly hours per semester. A very well structured schedule with clearly formulated learning objectives was developed for the seminar, an important prerequisite for a successful course. The course was designed as an online course in which self-learning phases (asynchronous and synchronous) alternated with live and recorded video webinars. In this way, the semester was very varied due to the phases of teaching, discussion, and support in the context of student learning process. The overall objective of the seminar was aimed at student teachers and included the theory-based conception of teaching examples on the topic of health in modern physical education. With the help of digital media and tools, learning was achieved despite coronavirus thanks to a format independent of time and place, to needs orientation (various learning and working materials), to study progress and the development of multipliers (transfer for later own physical education lessons, implementation of teaching examples including digital media, and a sports education offering in cooperating schools). The written evaluation of the course was supplemented by oral feedback and was very good overall. The good conception, structure, and practical transfer came in for particular praise. Students were also able to deepen their digital media competency throughout the seminar, which will be of great importance for future sports lessons enriched with digital resources.

With the teaching prize and the associated endowment (€ 1,000 and funding for an e-tutor for half a year), Dr. Katharina Ptack will be supported in implementing the self-formulated optimisation wish-list for her courses in the coming semesters.

Curriculum vitae highlights

Dr. Katharina Ptack studied teaching at grammar schools specializing in the subjects of sports science, mathematics, and educational science at the University of Tübingen from 2009 to 2014, and graduated with the first state examination degree. Since 2014, she has been a research assistant at the Social & Health Sciences in Sport research group at the University of Bayreuth. She completed her doctorate in sports science in 2019 with the grade summa cum laude and an award from the City of Bayreuth for outstanding dissertations. In the same year, she also received the Young Scholar Award from the "International Association for Physical Activity in Higher Education" and a commendation as part of the OMMO Group Prize for her outstanding academic performance. In 2020, Katharina Ptack obtained the "Certificate in Higher Education Teaching of the Bavarian Universities" at post-graduate level.

Moritz ZehnderHide
Zehnder

Appreciation of the achievement

This year, Mr. Moritz Zehnder from the "Mathematics & Didactics" research group is awarded the "Bayreuth Teaching Prize for Digitally Supported Teaching". The award relates to his course entitled "Numbers and Algebra in School" comprising 2 weekly hours per semester. The course was designed and conducted by Mr Zehnder almost exclusively in asynchronous form; there were therefore very few fixed synchronous dates. The central digital medium was an e-learning course, which featured Etherpad Lite (for collaborative work), various types of quizzes (for automated success control) as well as videos, journal articles, and scripts (for content mediation). In addition, there was individual oral feedback for learning success monitoring. The course was very well and clearly structured and included the following methodological-didactic aspects: Self-organised learning, small-step work in terms of content, clear structure and transparency with regard to learning objectives, differentiation (i.e. taking into account the different learning pace, prior knowledge, and interest of students), automated and individualised performance reviews, collaboration, reflection, and motivation through varied design. A written evaluation was conducted specifically on these aspects, which turned out very well overall. One suggestion for improvement from the students related to increasing the frequency of synchronous appointments. In particular, the good structuring as well as the diversity and thus variety of the media used led to increased student motivation. Mr Zehnder also conducted a very comprehensive reflection on his teaching.

With the teaching prize and the associated endowment (€ 1,000 and funding for an e-tutor for half a year), Mr. Moritz Zehnder will be supported in implementing the self-formulated optimisation wish-list for his courses in the coming semesters.

Curriculum vitae highlights

Mr Moritz Zehnder studied at the University of Bayreuth from 2010 to 2015 and obtained a BA in mathematics and chemistry as well as the 1st state examination degree in the same subjects. As a research assistant at "Mathematics & Didactics” research group, he is currently doing his doctorate on the topic of "Mathematical Giftedness in Grades 9 and 10". In 2020, Moritz Zehnder was awarded the "Golden Chalk" teaching prize by the MPI student body and he was nominated for the prize for good teaching at state universities in Bavaria. Furthermore, Moritz Zehnder has been project coordinator for the elite programme "MINT-Lehramt PLUS" (STEM teacher training PLUS) since 2016.

Prof. Dr. Sebastian SchanzHide
Sebastian Schanz

Appreciation of the achievement

This year, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Schanz, Chair of Business Taxation (Business Administration II), will be awarded the "Bayreuth Teaching Prize for Digitally Supported Teaching". The award relates to his course entitled "Investment with Business Valuation" comprising 5 weekly hours per semester, which comprises a lecture, a tutorial, and an Excel course. The course was conducted as a "flipped classroom" and had the following weekly recurring sequence: Self-study, tutorial for independent solution of tasks under guidance, formulation of open questions on the part of students in a GoogleDoc document, session (formerly lecture) with processing of the open questions, discussion, and live feedback. The digital elements used and very well networked included screencasts, Kahoot, QR codes, H5P via Moodle, GoogleSheets, GoogleDocs, pdf documents, apps, etc. This enabled students to acquire knowledge independently in a very well structured and guided way (keyword "networking"), and to build up their skills in solving tasks in a very well-founded way. Through the "flipped classroom" concept, it was also possible to deal with the students' questions and problems more precisely and intensively, which led to an enormous increase in the value of the course. The great amount of work over the last semester to redesign the course as a "flipped classroom" has, especially in the purely digital semester, proven to be very worthwhile. Three written evaluations were carried out, which turned out to be good to very good. In particular, independent learning spread over the entire semester was shown to be particularly suitable for a successful learning process, especially in contrast to face-to-face teaching. One point of criticism related to the large amount of material and the high workload. Prof. Dr. Schanz's course can be regarded as exemplary for a successful new conception of teaching, especially in the digital semester.

With the teaching prize and the associated endowment (€ 1,000 and funding for an e-tutor for half a year), Prof. Dr. Sebastian Schanz will be supported in implementing the self-formulated optimisation wish-list for his courses in the coming semesters.

Curriculum vitae highlights

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Schanz studied at the University of Tübingen and the University of Columbia in Missouri, USA, from 1998 to 2004, graduating with a degree in business administration. During his time as a research assistant at the University of Graz from 2004 to 2008, he completed his doctorate. He then briefly worked outside academia at Ernst & Young AG in Frankfurt/Eschborn, before holding a junior professorship at the University of Bielefeld from 2008 to 2010. During this time, Prof. Dr. Schanz was also research group chair at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. Since 2013, he has been Chair of Business Taxation (Business Administration II).

Sustainability Award

The Sustainability Award was presented for the second time in 2020. The prize, endowed with € 400 (1st place), € 300 (2nd place), and € 200 (3rd place), and donated by Universitätsverein Bayreuth e.V. (Partners & Friends of the University), is awarded to students who in their final theses deal theoretically or practically with ensuring sustainable development. Students and alumni of all departments of the University of Bayreuth who have graduated in the previous two academic years are eligible to apply.

The Sustainability Award for final theses is intended to create incentives for the scientific examination of issues in sustainable development. It is linked to the sustainability strategy of the University of Bayreuth. The idea behind the announcement of the award was devised by the President and the "GreenCampus" grouping, with funding from Universitätsverein Bayreuth e.V.

Carlos Weis ReyesHide
Carlos Weis-Reyes

Appreciation of the achievement

The first place of the Sustainability Award of the University of Bayreuth for final theses was awarded to Carlos Weis Reyes with his bachelor thesis on "Payments for Ecosystem Services for wild bees in Bayreuth - An analysis using the Contingent Valuation Method". The supervisor of the thesis was Mr. Niklas Gogoll, research assistant at Economics V - Institutional Economics.

Mr Weis Reyes' bachelor thesis investigates whether Payments for Ecosystems Services (PES) for wild bee habitat in Bayreuth are possible and how they could be designed.

In Bavaria, 54% of wild bee species are threatened by habitat loss, a situation largely caused by new settlement areas. From an economic perspective, this can be explained by a lack of markets for habitat. In such cases, PES can create markets where buyers "purchase" habitat from providers.

To investigate this, Mr. Weis Reyes created a survey using the contingent valuation method to determine willingness to pay for habitat in private gardens in Bayreuth in the form of a donation. Participants for the survey were drawn online from a random sample. Taking into account the certainty with which the respondents would actually be willing to pay, participants from Bayreuth had a mean willingness to pay of € 11 in the most conservative calculation. The generalisation of these values to the entire population of Bayreuth was not possible due to the self-selection of the participants. Nevertheless, the results indicate that the average willingness to pay is very likely greater than € 0, especially around more globally-conscious citizens. It is worth noting that respondents outside Bayreuth also had a positive willingness to pay.

Since habitat creation is cheap and can be done on a small scale, it was concluded that privately financed PES for habitat in Bayreuth is possible. Based on literature on PES, the work concluded that a one-time payment to garden owners to cover the costs of habitat measures would be a suitable method of payment. In order to ensure the continuity of this habitat and to avoid cost-intensive monitoring of the gardens, particularly motivated garden owners should be compensated with a small payment. In summary, the work recommends establishing PES for wild bee habitat in Bayreuth according to the criteria described. 

Curriculum vitae highlights

Carlos Weis Reyes, born in 1997, began studying "International Business and Development" at the University of Bayreuth in October 2016. He successfully completed his studies in May 2020. Since August 2020, he has been studying "Environmental and Natural Resource Economics" at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Frederik WildHide
Frederik Wild

Appreciation of the achievement

undefined"The Effect of Women's Primary Schooling on Fertility in sub-Saharan Africa"undefinedProf. Dr. David Stadelmannundefined

In his master's thesis, Mr Wild uses the abolition of primary school fees at different points in time in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania as a quasi-experiment to estimate the causal effect of schooling on female birth rates, as well as on literacy, labour market potential, and income level.

In doing so, Mr Wild followed a scholarly article by Keats (2018) in the Journal of Development Economics in his analysis and applied a (fuzzy) regression discontinuity design in combination with instrumental variable estimations. This allowed him to isolate schooling for women who could still benefit from the abolition of primary school fees compared to those who had already dropped out of primary school. Mr Wild used this "exogenous" schooling, i.e. that which came about purely as a result of the abolition of school fees, to estimate the influence on birth rates and on other downstream effects.

Mr Wild was able to confirm the basic results of the literature and extend them for two other countries (Kenya and Tanzania): In all three countries, the abolition of school fees leads to quantitatively higher levels schooling. This exogenous increase in education generally led to a reduction in birth rates in the second instance. 

While the master's thesis provides new evidence for a negative causal relationship between education and fertility, it also investigates the mechanisms by which education transmits this negative effect to birth rates. Education is seen as the key to lowering fertility, as it provides women with knowledge about modern family models and contraception on the one hand, and on the other hand equips them with increased labour market potential, which in turn raises the opportunity cost of raising children. Education thus plays a central role not only for social sustainability, but also for self-determination and thus also for equality between the sexes.

Curriculum vitae highlights

Mr. Frederik Wild, born in 1993, completed his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from 2013-2016 and his Master’s in Philosophy & Economics from 2016-2019. Currently, Mr. Wild is a research assistant at the research group led by Prof. Dr. David Stadelmann, and is conducting research on (socio-)economic issues in development in sub-Saharan Africa as part of his dissertation. Mr Wild is a project member of the Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 "Africa Multiple: Reconfiguring African Studies".

Anna Bertels (with Luisa Altherr)Hide
Anna Bartels

Appreciation of the achievement

Anna Bertels and Luisa Altherr were awarded third place in the University of Bayreuth's Sustainability Prize for their master's thesis on "Ecological sustainability in professional football - differentiated CO2 assessment using the example of TSG Hoffenheim". The supervisor of the thesis was Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhn Chair of Social & Health Sciences in Sport.

In their master's thesis, Ms Bertels and Ms Altherr dealt with the questions of how professional football clubs can quantify their CO2 emissions generated during the course of the season in a uniform manner, and how much in CO2 emissions was generated in total at the Bundesliga football club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim during the 2019/20 season.

In view of worsening environmental problems and the associated increasing relevance of ecological sustainability, society's expectations of companies, and thus also football clubs, to conduct their business activities in an environmentally friendly manner are rising. However, professional football in particular produces considerable amounts of greenhouse gases, which hence contribute to climate change. In Germany, many clubs are already trying to counteract this problem with individual measures. So far, however, there has been a lack of uniform key figures to make the ecological effects quantifiable.

In order to close this gap, Ms Bertels and Ms Altherr developed a balancing framework for measuring the CO2 emissions of clubs in the German football Bundesliga in their work. Based on this accounting framework, a CO2 assessment was then carried out for the Bundesliga football club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Internal club activity data and an online survey on fan-related travel among TSG members served as the data basis for the survey. The results of the study show that, extrapolated to the 2019/20 season, the men's professional team was behind 1,278.65t CO2e in selected emission categories. With additional consideration of the football-specific category of fan-related travel, this resulted in a CO2 footprint of 3,997.28t CO2e.

The accounting framework developed provides a guideline for an initial CO2 assessment. In the long term, it not only creates the club-internal traceability of its own CO2 emissions, but also transparency and comparability between Bundesliga clubs.

Curriculum vitae highlights

Anna Bertels (born 1995)  studied Sport, Business & Law at the University of Bayreuth for her bachelor's and master's degrees. After submitting her master's thesis in May 2020, she started er professional life in Munich. Ms Bertels now works as Junior Consultant at iic solutions GmbH.

Luisa Altherr (with Anna Bertels)Hide
Luisa Altherr

Appreciation of the achievement

Anna Bertels and Luisa Altherr were awarded third place in the University of Bayreuth's Sustainability Prize for their master's thesis on "Ecological sustainability in professional football - differentiated CO2 assessment using the example of TSG Hoffenheim". The supervisor of the thesis was Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhn Chair of Social & Health Sciences in Sport.

In their master's thesis, Ms Bertels and Ms Altherr dealt with the questions of how professional football clubs can quantify their CO2 emissions generated during the course of the season in a uniform manner, and how much in CO2 emissions was generated in total at the Bundesliga football club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim during the 2019/20 season.

In view of worsening environmental problems and the associated increasing relevance of ecological sustainability, society's expectations of companies, and thus also football clubs, to conduct their business activities in an environmentally friendly manner are rising. However, professional football in particular produces considerable amounts of greenhouse gases, which hence contribute to climate change. In Germany, many clubs are already trying to counteract this problem with individual measures. So far, however, there has been a lack of uniform key figures to make the ecological effects quantifiable.

In order to close this gap, Ms Bertels and Ms Altherr developed a balancing framework for measuring the CO2 emissions of clubs in the German football Bundesliga in their work. Based on this accounting framework, a CO2 assessment was then carried out for the Bundesliga football club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Internal club activity data and an online survey on fan-related travel among TSG members served as the data basis for the survey. The results of the study show that, extrapolated to the 2019/20 season, the men's professional team was behind 1,278.65t CO2e in selected emission categories. With additional consideration of the football-specific category of fan-related travel, this resulted in a CO2 footprint of 3,997.28t CO2e.

The accounting framework developed provides a guideline for an initial CO2 assessment. In the long term, it not only creates the club-internal traceability of its own CO2 emissions, but also transparency and comparability between Bundesliga clubs.

Curriculum vitae highlights

Luisa Altherr (born 1995) studied Sport, Business & Law at the University of Bayreuth for her bachelor's and master's degree. After submitting her master's thesis in May 2020, she started her professional life in Munich. Ms Altherr now works as Brand Specialist Sports at Amazon.

Otto Warburg Prize

The Otto Warburg Chemistry Foundation serves to promote research and teaching in chemistry at the University of Bayreuth, and to present chemistry to the public. To this end, the Foundation, together with the alumni association of the Chemistry Department (CSG e.V.) and the Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences at the University of Bayreuth, awards prizes each year to the best graduates in the field of chemistry.

Markus Petermichl - Best promotionHide
Markus Petermichl

Apprecition of achievement

In his doctoral thesis (summa cum laude) on "Flexible synthetic approaches to bioactive O- and N-glycosylated 3-acyltetramic acids from marine sponges - first synthesis of aurantoside G, ancorinoside A, and methyl-ancorinoside D", Dr Markus Petermichl developed the first efficient synthetic routes for the particularly potent classes of glycosylated 3-acyltetramic acids at the Organic Chemistry research group. These are produced by marine sponges of the species Theonella and Ancorina, and represent a structural motif frequently found in nature. Natural products from marine organisms exhibit a wide range of biological activity and can have antibiotic, antiviral, and even cytotoxic effects. However, their study and optimisation for medical purposes is hampered by their limited accessibility. As a result, 3-acyl-tetramic acids have become a frequently studied structural motif, especially in the course of the last few decades. Structurally, they are "composite natural products" of amino acids, sugars, and polyketides. The linkage and protecting group strategies developed by Markus Petermichl represent a considerable methodological advance in the field of synthesis of complicated, highly polar organic molecules, and are likely to be widely used in the future.    
Based on his results, which have been published in Angewandte Chemie and other renowned journals, targeted structural variations for pharmacological optimisation have become possible. Dr. Markus Petermichl was himself involved in such studies in cooperation with the Helmholtz Institute for Infection Research in Braunschweig among other partners.         
He deserves recognition from the University because he has been able to pass on his extensive theoretical knowledge and practical skills to students in many practical courses and get them excited about the art of "making molecules".

Curriculum vitae highlights

Dr Markus Petermichl, born in Regensburg in 1988, completed his bachelor's degree in chemistry at the University of Bayreuth. From 2012 to 2015, he successfully completed a Master's degree in natural and active substance chemistry. From 2015 to 2018, he was a staff member at the Organic Chemistry research group of the University of Bayreuth and produced several publications. He completed his dissertation with "summa cum laude" at the beginning of 2019 and took up a position as expert in chemical analysis in quality control at the pharmaceutical supplier "Vetter Pharma".

In addition to his work, he enjoys a variety of outdoor sports and is an active member of several clubs.

Other awarded graduates:

  • Best graduate Natural Products & Drug Chemistry (M.Sc.) - Laura Treiber
  • Best graduate Materials Chemistry & Catalysis (M.Sc.) - Sebastian Weiß
  • Best graduate Polymer Science (M.Sc.) - Thomas Tran
  • Best graduate Chemistry (B.Sc.) - Nicolas Müller
Gruppenbild der Preisträger des Preises der Otto-Warburg-Stiftung 2020
Instead of at the President's Dinner, Professor Dr. Ulrike Wanitzek (University Medal) and Heribert Trunk (Honorary Senator) were honoured at the 2020 dies academicus.

University Medal

Prof. Dr. Ulrike WanitzekHide
Ulrike Wanitzek

The University of Bayreuth awards its University Medal to Professor Dr. Ulrike Wanitzek.

The lawyer Ulrike Wanitzek came to the University of Bayreuth in the early eighties. It must have been love at first sight, because she stayed until her retirement in 2020.

A lot has happened in these almost 40 years. Very early on in her academic career, Ulrike Wanitzek discovered her passion for Africa. At the time, Ulrike Wanitzek was the only female legal scholar to be involved in the Institute for African Studies. It is thanks to her persistent networking that a strong interdisciplinary dialogue on the topic of "Africa" has developed over the years. Today, the "Africa Multiple" Cluster of Excellence continues to profit from her work in building up this dialogue.

But Ulrike Wanitzek made a difference not just in-house, but also outwardly. Through her work, she linked herself and her colleagues internationally, thereby extending the University of Bayreuth’s worldwide reach. Her core project was the Tanzanian-German Centre for Eastern African Legal Studies - a joint project between the University of Dar-es-Salaam and the University of Bayreuth. TGCL is a unique centre of expertise for East African legal studies. There, young people receive a legal education of the highest quality. Many graduates have qualified into leading positions such as judges or state secretaries. Ulrike Wanitzek has put a lot of energy, heart, and soul into the establishment and successful development of TGCL: writing applications, filing renewal applications, managing the project. In total she raised more than 4 million Euros in funding for TGCL, especially from DAAD. Without a doubt, TGCL has been her life's work.

Ulrike Wanitzek is "Mother of TGCL". This is what her fellow scholars call her. This nickname is partly due to her role in the founding of TGCL. Indeed, it was she who conceived the idea of TGCL in the first place. And it was she who led TGCL from its inception until her retirement. Yet there is one more reason why she is called "Mother of TGCL", namely her personality. It is her cordial nature that has moulded individuals into a team. It is her ability to keep a cool head even in stressful, challenging situations. It is her considerate attitude, caring for and inspiring her team. And it is the fact that she sees more in her fellow human beings than just "the project manager" or "the researcher". Ulrike Wanitzek sees the whole person.

Today she is awarded the University Medal for her pioneering work in the field of African studies, for her commitment to the welfare of the University of Bayreuth, and for her lifetime achievement.

Honorary Senator

Heribert TrunkHide
Heribert Trunk

The University of Bayreuth awards the title of Honorary Senator to Heribert Trunk. Heribert Trunk is a true Upper Franconian. And he is a doer! Even at a young age, the man from Bamberg set a course for founding his own company. And successfully so: The Bilog Service Group is one of the most innovative service providers in the logistics industry. However, Heribert Trunk not only applies his entrepreneurial knowledge and tireless energy to his own company, but to much more. For example, for many years as President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Upper Franconia Bayreuth, or as founder of the "Chance Jugend" foundation, which is committed to preparing young people for their professional futures. For his outstanding commitment, among other tokens of recognition, he has received the Federal Cross of Merit.

Heribert Trunk is not only a doer, he is also a networker. Through his countless contacts, he has built up an enormous network spanning the most diverse fields. It is this network that enables him to pursue his core concern: Promoting cooperation between business, politics, and science.

The official starting point of the fruitful relationship between the University of Bayreuth and Heribert Trunk was 12 July 2013: The day Heribert Trunk agreed to chair the then newly founded Board of Trustees of the University of Bayreuth. The Board of Trustees advises the University on all strategic issues and establishes a close network of relationships with business, the community, and the region. Under the trend-setting leadership of Heribert Trunk, the members, all of whom are from outside the University, contribute significantly to the further development of the University.

But Heribert Trunk's creative energy extends beyond the Board of Trustees, for the benefit of the University of Bayreuth and the entire region.

In spring 2014, for example. The Bavarian state government, then still under Minister President Horst Seehofer, created the "Northern Bavaria Plan" - a plan to create more jobs in order to halt population decline in the region. It is thanks to Heribert Trunk's careful cultivation of contacts that investment in the sciences also became part of the Northern Bavaria Plan. This saw the birth of the Bavarian Polymer Institute at the universities of Bayreuth, Würzburg, and Erlangen-Nuremberg, which has since become an institution in the field of materials research.

Heribert Trunk achieved another feat two years later when British American Tobacco announced the end of production in Bayreuth. Many fell into a state of shock. Not Heribert Trunk! As President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, he quickly set up a round table, which included the City of Bayreuth, the Upper Franconian Chamber of Crafts, and the University of Bayreuth. Together, the four comrades-in-arms developed a structural programme for the Bayreuth economic region. The core of the structural programme was to make the region more innovative - through the targeted promotion of start-ups by the City and the University. What was a bold idea at the time is now a tangible reality: The City is creating a Regional Innovation Centre, and the University of Bayreuth has established an Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which is now part of the Bavarian High-Tech Agenda.

The University of Bayreuth owes Heribert Trunk a great debt of gratitude for his energetic commitment, and awards him the title of Honorary Senator.

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