Spreading the Enthusiasm for Excellence in Research

“‘The intrinsic motivation of the researcher’ – that is what unites us,” asserted Dr. Christoph Sänger, quoting Goethe, at the Hans H. Ruthenberg-Graduate and the Josef G. Knoll European Science Award Ceremony on Friday. Sänger, who investigated small farmer dairy markets in Vietnam, was one of six young researchers who were lauded for the excellence, relevance, and social and scientific contribution of their Masters or Ph.D. theses.
Tropentag_2014_Day1_jpg025 Eva-Marie Meemken Receives a Hans H. Ruthenberg-Graduate-Award 2014 at Tropentag
As a young researcher myself, it is inspiring to see my peers taking on central problems of our time—like food security, climate change policy implementation, and child labor—and doing it well. They even had surprising results, like Elsa Matthus. In her Masters research on rice crop failure, she identified the unique gene sequences of rice plants that don’t die from iron toxicity in flooded rice paddies when others do. Her findings could help increase yields, prevent losses, and reduce shocks to small farmers, all major challenges to food security. So what’s next for these six young people of academic promise? Eva-Marie Meemken and Dorothee Bühler have hit the ground running, already having started their PhDs in Göttingen and Hannover, respectively. My hope for them is that they will continue to spread their enthusiasm for excellence in research, and in encouraging our generation to take on the problems of today, make the world better for tomorrow.


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