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Press Release No. 30 | 11 July 2018
Bernd Rendel Prize 2018: DFG Recognises Early Career Achievements in the Earth Sciences

Award to be presented at GeoBonn 2018, 2–6 September in Bonn

Two young researchers at the start of their careers in the earth sciences are to receive the 2018 Bernd Rendel Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG) for their multifaceted and original research. Michael Förster, a doctoral student at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and Janina Kleemann, a research assistant at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, both made a strong impression on the jury. They will each receive €1,500 from the Bernd Rendel Foundation administered by the Stifterverband (Donors’ Association). The aim of the prize money is to enable the prizewinners to participate in international conferences and meetings. The prize will be awarded during GeoBonn 2018, a conference organised by Germany’s major earth sciences organisations and due to take place between 2 and 6 September in Bonn.

Michael Förster (31) is to receive the Bernd Rendel Prize for his outstanding achievements in geochemistry. He studied geology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, graduating with top marks, and in 2016 joined the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He is working on a PhD thesis on ‘Earth’s Deep Nitrogen Cycle’, investigating the geochemical behaviour of nitrogen in deep rocks and magma. Förster has published in the internationally respected journal Chemical Geology, among others. The jury commented: “Even at this relatively early stage, Förster has a number of impressive scientific achievements to his credit, demonstrating an exceptional ability and degree of scientific independence.”

Janina Kleemann (33) has been working on her doctoral dissertation at the universities of Bonn and Halle since 2013. In her dissertation, she has drawn up an extensive analysis in the form of an expert-supported evaluation of possible climate and land use scenarios for northern Ghana. The results will help to counteract the negative impacts of land use change and reduce poverty and food insecurity in low-income, densely populated countries and regions such as the area she is studying. Kleemann studied landscape ecology and nature conservation at the University of Greifswald, after which she spent two years as a research assistant for the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adaptive Land Use (WASCAL). She intends to use the prize money to fund communication activities with local communities in northern Ghana.

The DFG has presented the Bernd Rendel Prize annually since 2002 to earth sciences graduates who have not yet completed their doctorates for scientific purposes such as enabling them to attend international conferences and meetings. The prize fund is administered by the Stifterverband and the amount of the award is dependent on foundation income. The prize was named in honour of geology student Bernd Rendel, who died at a young age and whose family donated the prize money.

Further information

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