Six young scientists awarded the Helmholtz Doctoral Prize 2018

“I am delighted to be able to recognize six brilliant young scientists for their achievements by awarding them this year’s Helmholtz Doctoral Prize,” says Otmar D. Wiestler, President of the Helmholtz Association. “They excelled in their doctoral studies. This award is intended to encourage them to continue pursuing their scientific careers.”

The Helmholtz President formally presented the prize during the “Helmholtz Horizons” symposium at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. The six awardees had been selected from a total of 18 applicants. The prize money for the young talented researchers consists of a one-time payment of 5,000 euros and monthly payments of 2,000 euros over six months for a research visit abroad. “I very much hope that the prize winners will be able to use these funds to further hone their scientific excellence,” says Wiestler.

Three women are among the six awardees. “I am particularly happy about this,” says Wiestler. “It is part of our mission to provide the best support possible to talented women to further their scientific career.” The Helmholtz Doctoral Prize has been conferred since 2013. A total of 35 highly talented young scientists have received the award thus far.

The six prize winners in 2018 are:

 Research field Energy
Dr. Ing. Antoine B. Jacquey, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Antoine Jacquey’s work has contributed greatly to improving numerical descriptions of the physical conditions in geological reservoirs. The decisive improvement was his development of new tools that three-dimensionally observe both the heterogeneities below the surface caused by geological factors and the physical processes taking place there.

 Research field Earth and Environment
Dr. Sinikka Lennartz, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
In her thesis, Sinikka Lennartz has investigated marine emissions of climate-relevant sulfur gases and found that these sulfur emissions are lower than previously assumed. Their results help to integrate ocean emissions into climate models more efficiently and to improve climate forecasts.

 Research field Health
Dr. Ann-Christin Baranski, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
Ann-Christin Baranski focused her work on the development of a very promising medication for bimodal imaging and robot-assisted removal of primary tumors and prostate cancer metastases that is suitable for direct clinical use.

 Research field Aeronautics, Space, and Transport
Dr. Ing. Daniel Leidner, German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Daniel Leidner thesis involved the improvement of the cognitive abilities of service robots so that they can perform their assigned tasks independently. Robots like „Rollin‘ Justin“ are thus transformed from mere tools into full-fledged work colleagues. These systems are to be used, among other things, in future space missions.

 Research field Matter
Dr. Oleg Gorobtsov, DESY German electron synchrotron
Oleg Gorobtsov’s thesis involved the development of novel concepts for harnessing the coherence of hard X-rays. He used an extremely original approach to show how these concepts could be used in the X-ray range to analyze data and develop new kinds of instruments.

 Research field Key Technologies
Dr. Ing. Alexandra Amherd Hidalgo, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research
Alexandra Amherd Hidalgo’s work provided new insights into the use of titanium alloys and their powder processing of such alloys. The studies she conducted made a significant contribution to the potential use of a cost-saving production technology for highly stressed components used in industries such as aeronautics and medicine.
For more information about the prize winners, please visit

Helmholtz contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science, and the economy through top-level scientific achievements in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Matter, and Aeronautics, Space, and Transport. With more than 39,000 employees at 18 Research Centers and an annual budget of around 4.5 billion euros, Helmholtz is the largest scientific organization in Germany. Its work is rooted in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894).

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