Press Release No. 55 | December 21, 2021

Community Prize: Six Concepts Receive Award for International Research Marketing

New competition format under the BMBF initiative “Research in Germany” with an online vote for the first time / Approximately 350 people voted / Award to be presented next year

New competition format under the BMBF initiative “Research in Germany” with an online vote for the first time / Approximately 350 people voted / Award to be presented next year

As a partner organisation of the “Research in Germany” initiative, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) awards the newly established Community Prize for international research marketing to six project ideas. The Leuphana University of Lüneburg, the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technology (IPHT), the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), the TU Dresden in cooperation with the University of Würzburg, the University of Jena and the University of Leipzig each receive €20,000 prize money for the implementation of their research marketing concepts. An award ceremony will be held next year; details will be provided at a later date.

The Community Prize is a new competition format under the BMBF initiative "Research in Germany" that combines competition and cooperation. People involved in academic administration and research at HEIs and non-HEIs in Germany can apply for prize money to fund project ideas in the area of international research marketing and take part in an online vote to select the best ideas put forward by other institutions. The aim of the competition is to enhance the international visibility and networking of German universities and research institutions.

In this year’s first round of the Community Prize, all competition entries were presented in the form of short video clips on a digital voting platform. The most innovative and impressive ideas were selected by the community by means of an online vote. In this case, the community consisted of almost 500 individuals at German higher education and research institutions who had registered on the platform based on the fact that their work is relates to internationalisation or international research marketing. Around 350 people from this group took part in the vote.

The award-winning concepts in detail:

With its project idea “Pull marketing with the first verified GIPHY brand channel run by a German university”, Leuphana University of Lüneburg seeks to use GIFs (“Graphics Interchange Format”) as a promising low-budget marketing tool in digital research marketing. Using a verified GIPHY channel, over 50 GIFs are to be developed, tested and optimised in three GIPHY collections dedicated to achieving the goals of inter-national research marketing. These include animations that convey research results in an appealing manner, and GIFs that provide an authentic representation of a research location. Leuphana’s entire national and international network will be able to access the GIF content via smartphones and apps.

The Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technology (Leibniz-IPHT) aims to use the superhero comic “Lasergirl in search of extraterrestrial life” to show how researchers across national borders are working to-gether to develop light-based solutions for space exploration. In the planned comic adventure, Lasergirl embarks on a journey to Mars to detect and provide evidence of extraterrestrial life with the help of her technological equipment – thereby achieving the scientific goals of the European Mars mission ExoMars. This is based on the use of a Raman laser spectrometer which was investigated with the participation of Leibniz IPHT for the ExoMars mission in 2022. The science comic is to be published for the launch of the ExoMars mission in September 2022 and will also reach out to talented academics in other countries so as to raise international awareness of Jena as an optics hub and Leibniz-IPHT.

Based on the project idea “Virtual Photonics Escape Room: finding out about top-level German research in the hunt for Dr. Dark”, the Max Planck School of Photonics at the University of Jena (MPSP) aims to sustainably inform talented early career physicists around the world about research in various fields of pho-tonics at 16 German research institutions. In order to reach the early career target group of (potential) international doctoral candidates, a gamification approach is pursued using a virtual photonics escape room: a small team of players is “locked” in a room and has to solve tricky puzzles together to get out. The puzzles relate to the research being conducted at the Max Planck School of Photonics.

More than 40 percent of the academic staff at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin have an international background. The “Back to the Roots Lab” concept is designed to enable around 20 of these international academic experts to actively engage as ambassadors for the “Research in and with Germany” campaign. They are to initiate research marketing measures and implement these independently. The “Back to the Roots Lab” seeks to enable those interested to gain an authentic insight into the various academic career opportunities available in Germany.

The already successful mobile game Katze Q - ein Quanten-Adventure (“Cat Q – a Quantum Adventure”) created by the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat at TU Dresden and the University of Würzburg was published in German and English in October 2021. The game transforms details of quantum physics into a digi-tal game environment: Anyone solving a certain puzzle earns a bonus app, which can then be used to pose a question to the researchers at the Cluster of Excellence. Using the funding from the Community Prize, these questions will be answered in YouTube videos from January 2022 onwards – in keeping with the motto of the Year of Science 2022, “Questions asked”. The aim is to arouse interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with a focus on physics, thereby raising the visibility of study and career options in Germany as an attractive research location.

The Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe) at the University of Leipzig is a member of CrossArea e. V., a worldwide network in the field of global and area studies. The participating research institutions are working to develop a variety of blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, open educational re-sources and numerous other formats on the subject of current global social issues. In order to make this body of digital knowledge more accessible and clearly organised, the “Cross Area” portal is to be created as a centralised location in the digital sphere. Its aim will be to use the various formats to address a broader, diverse target group so as to raise the profile of all participating institutions and enhance knowledge trans-fer.

The Community Prize forms part of the “Research in Germany” initiative, which presents Germany as an attractive location for research and innovation within a worldwide context and creates a forum for international dialogue and cooperation. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research initiated “Research in Germany” in 2006 and is providing funding for the current project phase. The initiative is jointly imple-mented by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the DFG, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the DLR Project Management Agency.

Further Information

Media contact:

  • DFG Press and Public Relations
    Tel. +49 228 885-2109

For more information on the Community Prize, see:

Further information on the “Research in Germany” initiative:

Contact at the DFG Head Office: