News Release

DFG to present geosciences prizes at GeoFrankfurt 2014

Albert Maucher Prize to be awarded to Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons, Bernd Rendel Prize to Hay-tham El Atfy and Mandy Freund

Grant and Award Announcement

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

This news release is available in German.

On 23 September 2014 the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will present two geosciences prizes, the Albert Maucher Prize and the Bernd Rendel Prize, at GeoFrankfurt 2014 in Frankfurt am Main. Dr. Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons will receive the 2014 Albert Maucher Prize for her work on luminescence dating, while the 2014 Bernd Rendel Prize will be presented to meteorologist Mandy Freund and paleoclimatologist Haytham El Atfy, who have contributed in very different ways to our understanding of climate history. GeoFrankfurt 2014 is organised by four academic societies: the Deutsche Ge-ophysikalische Gesellschaft (German Geophysical Society), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften (German Society for Geosciences), the Geologische Vereinigung (Ger-man Geological Society) and the Paläontologische Gesellschaft (German Paleontological Society).

The Albert Maucher Prize, which is worth €10,000, was established by geologist Albert Maucher, who was supported by the DFG during the early part of his scientific career. In ac-cordance with his wishes, the prize is presented in recognition of outstanding research by early career researchers. Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons joined the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig in 2010. Her research interests focus on environmental change and human-environment interactions.

Profile: Dr. Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig

In her research, Fitzsimmons examines the question of how arid and loess regions have changed over the last 2.6 million years, the so-called Quaternary period. In her field research she seeks to enhance our understanding of the history of environmental change and its im-pact on human beings. In particular, she applies the techniques of luminescence dating. Her work has taken her to the central Australian desert dunefields, the Willandra Lakes Region UNESCO World Heritage Area and the Eurasian loess belt in Romania and Kazakhstan. The Australian-born researcher's versatility is demonstrated by the fact that she holds both a BSc in earth sciences and a diploma in German from the University of Melbourne, which she studied for in parallel. After completing her degree she obtained her doctorate from the Aus-tralian National University in Canberra, where she also worked as a postdoctoral researcher. She joined the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in 2010.

The Bernd Rendel Prize is presented to early career researchers who have made important and original contributions to basic geosciences research before obtaining their doctorates. Both of this year's winners will receive €1000 for research purposes. The prizes are funded by proceeds from the Bernd Rendel Foundation managed by the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany.


Mandy Freund, University of Melbourne

Meterologist Mandy Freund, who obtained her MSc from the Free University of Berlin in 2013, is also interested in the study and modelling of climate history, but her research focuses on periods of flood and drought. Her diploma thesis at FU Berlin and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), a Helmholtz Centre, was entitled "European Drought Reconstruction of the Past 400 Years: An Isotope-Climate Network Approach". Freund is still at the outset of her scientific career, having begun her doctorate at the University of Mel-bourne in 2014.

Haytham El Atfy, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt and Senckenberg Research Institute, Frankfurt

Haytham El Atfy's research work focuses on palynology, the scientific analysis of pollen, which gives us clues about past climate developments. El Atfy began his scientific training at Mansoura University in Egypt, where he graduated with an excellent master's thesis in 2008. In 2011 he began his doctorate with a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Ser-vice (DAAD) in Frankfurt, where he is currently finishing his dissertation on "Palynology and Organic Geochemistry of the Miocene Deposits: Source Rock Evaluation and Paleoenviron-mental / Paleoclimatic Interpretation, Gulf of Suez, Egypt".


Further Information

For more information about the Albert Maucher Prize and this year's winner, please visit:

For more information about the Bernd Rendel Prize and this year's winners, please visit:

Contact at DFG Head Office:

Dr. Kristian Remes, Physics, Mathematics and Geosciences Division, Tel. +49 228 885-2012,

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