Ausgezeichnet (von links): Daniel Ortiz, Dr. Anna Schwachula und Philipp Kenkel haben den „CAMPUS PREIS: Forschen für nachhaltige Zukunft“ erhalten |  Foto: Jan Meier, ZMT

10.05.2019 | One young researcher and two master’s graduates have received this year’s “CAMPUS PREIS: Forschen für nachhaltige Zukunft.” The jury honored Dr. Anna Schwachula for her dissertation. Daniel Ortiz and Philipp Kenkel each received prizes for their master’s theses.

The CAMPUS PREIS honors outstanding theses written on the Bremen campus that are thematically dedicated to the sustainable use of resources as well as the protection of the environment, the climate, and the oceans. Since 2016, the award has been presented once a year by the KELLNER & STOLL – STIFTUNG FÜR KLIMA UND UMWELT, the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), the University of Bremen, and the alumni association of the University of Bremen. The award is endowed with a total of 3,000 euros. This year, the doctoral thesis was awarded 1,500 euros, and the two master’s graduates each received 750 euros. The award ceremony took place on the evening of May 9, 2019, at ZMT.

Does Germany Pursue Sustainable Research Policies?

In her doctoral thesis, Dr. Anna Schwachula analyzes German research policy in the field of sustainability research, in particular the cooperation between Germany and developing or emerging countries. Her work focuses on South America. Based on qualitative empirical data, the social scientist inquires about the orientation of the funding policy of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and its orientation toward sustainability goals, as well as the basis for decision-making, the people involved, and the effects of policy. The work shows that a technical and business-driven understanding of sustainability prevails in research policy. From the perspective of global sustainable development, this understanding does not go far enough. Against the backdrop of the analysis, Anna Schwachula makes recommendations for a research policy of characterized by partnership and cooperation for mutual benefit that is oriented toward the goals of sustainable global development. The award was presented at the ZMT by Professor Andreas Breiter, Vice President for Research at the University of Bremen, who praised the recipient: “The work offers a critical examination of the current funding policy. It reveals that the concrete effects of the sustainability research funded by the BMBF do not satisfy the claim formulated by the researchers themselves.” Professor Hildegard Westphal, jury member and Scientific Director of the ZMT praised: “In her work, Anna Schwachula goes beyond scientific studies to show where there is scope for action that policymakers and policy-advising experts can use to advance a research policy based on sustainability approaches.” The work was supervised by Professor Anna-Katharina Hornidge from Faculty 8 of the University of Bremen and Head of the Department of Social Sciences at the ZMT.

Investigating the Management of Protected Coral Reef Areas

For his master’s thesis, Daniel Ortiz studied the impact of different management practices of protected marine areas in North Sulawesi in Indonesia, and he spoke with numerous players in the area to do so. For the marine ecologist, the focus of his consideration is not only the standardized counting and monitoring of individual algae, fish, or coral species; in fact, Ortiz pursues the so-called resilience approach in his work, which involves looking at the entire reef system and its resilience. “Instead of the onetime observation of individual parameters, Daniel Ortiz is concerned with the processes in the reef,” said Reiner Stoll from the Bremen-based KELLNER & STOLL – STIFTUNG FÜR KLIMA UND UMWELT in his presenting speech. “Here we see an important aspect of sustainability that the prizewinner is introducing into the monitoring process for the first time.” Another surprising result of the work was that Ortiz attested that the areas jointly managed by the neighbors were in better condition than Bunaken National Marine Park. The master’s thesis resulted from the interdisciplinary research project REPICORE, under the direction of Dr. Sebastian Ferse, at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT). The results of the studies were shared with local partners, communicated in the affected areas, and published in scientific papers.

A “Navigation System” for CO2-Free Energy Sources

Philipp Kenkel’s master’s thesis dealt with resilient energy systems of the future. He is thus part of a research unit at the University of Bremen that was founded by Professor Stefan Gößling-Reisemann, who passed away in 2018. Kenkel has developed a kind of navigation system: a structural model in which different technical facilities can be connected and networked in such a way that CO2-free energy sources – in this case biofuels – can be produced and a cycle created. It was important not to develop anything that would compete with food production. In concrete terms, the master’s graduate worked on a process model in which two biorefineries used algae and wheat straw as starting materials. CO2 and wastewater are also used as input materials to produce biofuels. The master’s thesis was supervised by Edwin Zondervan, professor of process systems engineering at the University of Bremen. “In his master’s thesis, Philipp Kenkel developed a sophisticated, visionary cycle concept for the production of biofuels without climate-damaging waste. Thus his work corresponds to the desired ideal of sustainability,” says Michael Wolff from the alumni association of the University of Bremen during the award ceremony.

Doctoral Thesis Was Initiator of Political Discussion

“We were very impressed by the results of Dr. Anna Schwachula’s doctorate,” said the host of the evening, Dr. Rita Kellner-Stoll from the foundation of the same name and a member of the jury. “You’ve encouraged our organizing team to organize a political discussion at the ZMT for the award ceremony.” Fritz Habekuß, editor of the weekly newspaper “DIE ZEIT” and member of the jury, spoke about the subject of research for a sustainable future as a challenge for science and politics with Susanne Grobien (CDU), Nima Pirooznia (Alliance 90/The Green Party), Katharina Riebe (SPD), and Miriam Strunge (DIE LINKE). All four are currently candidates for the Bremen Parliament.

Bremen-based companies ADLER Solar, REETEC, and ecolo – Agentur für Ökologie und Kommunikation support the CAMPUS PREIS as sponsors.

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