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Start of the Academic Year: University of Freiburg awards prizes for research, teaching, social commitment and start-up ideas

Awarded were University Teaching Award, 39 young scientist awards, Special Award for Student Involvement, Bertha Ottenstein Prize, Pfiffikus Award for Start-Up and the Alumni Award for Social Involvement

Freiburg, Oct 20, 2021

The University of Freiburg has awarded prizes for achievements in science and teaching, social commitment and start-up ideas: 39 prizes for the promotion of young researchers, the University Teaching Prize, the Special Prize for Outstanding Student Commitment, the Bertha Ottenstein Prize, the Pfiffikus Prize and the Alumni Prize. The award winners were honored by the Rector Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein during the opening of the Academic Year.

Young Scientist Awards

This year, the University of Freiburg has awarded 39 sponsorship prizes totaling 94,100 euros to 55 young scientists. The awards are given for outstanding research work on the recommendation of the respective faculty. Since 1989, private individuals and institutions have provided the university with a total of 2.7 million euros in funding for young scientists.

Freiburg Young Scientist Awards

Brochure of all young scientist awards (pdf) (in German)

University Teaching Award and special prize for outstanding student involvement

In 2021, the University of Freiburg will award the University Teaching Prize for Outstanding Achievement to Prof. Dr. Thomas Filk, Andreas Woitzik and Clara Fuchs from the Institute of Physics at the University of Freiburg for the lecture “Compact Advanced Theoretical Physics.” The prize money for this award is 10,000 euros. The special prize for outstanding student involvement, worth 500 euros, goes to Lukas Oettle as the initiator of the “benefit” project.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Filk, Andreas Woitzik, Clara Fuchs: Compact Advanced Theoretical Physics

With the lecture „Compact Advanced Theoretical Physics,“ Prof. Dr. Thomas Filk has developed and established a teaching concept specific to the teaching profession, a concept that has already resulted in a textbook. The focus of his lecture is on the future technical requirements of physics teaching in grammar schools, which is Filk’s response to the urgent social need for excellently trained physics teachers. The didactically chosen approaches can be partially adopted by learners in the school setting. The pandemic conditions in the 2020 summer semester were methodically cleverly and quickly absorbed by using the flipped classroom principle, the students tested the use of digital tools for their own later teaching and the proposed solutions of the exercises were accompanied by the assistants Clara Fuchs and Andreas Woitzik with video explanations and online question sessions. In addition to the methodological diversity and the didactic design, the extensive interaction with the students was mentioned repeatedly in event evaluations.

Lukas Oettle: beneFit

Lukas Oettle has developed target group-adapted sporting activities for the long-term unemployed and homeless as a health-promoting measure aimed at breaking the downward spiral of lacking health and making social reintegration more difficult. With his “benefit” project, the sports science student has succeeded in implementing an idea that can help improve the situation of the socially marginalized and stigmatized. Thanks to Oettle’s efforts in raising financial support, the project, which has a large following, was able to be set up during the Covid 19 pandemic. Oettle and his fellow students run the sports classes so that sports science students also benefit from the hands-on program.

Bertha Ottenstein Prize

The University of Freiburg annually announces the Bertha Ottenstein Prize, endowed with 5,000 EUR. This prize recognizes special initiatives in the field of women's advancement and gender equality work as well as outstanding scientific achievements in gender and diversity research. This year, the award was presented in equal parts, i.e. EUR 2,500 each, to Dr. Marion Mangelsdorf and Maria-Xenia Hardt at the opening of the Academic Year.

Dr. Marion Mangelsdorf: Dedication to Gender Studies

Dr. Marion Mangelsdorf was awarded the Bertha Ottenstein Prize, honoring her long-standing and multifaceted commitment to Gender Studies at the University of Freiburg. Mangelsdorf was instrumental in establishing the Center for Anthropology and Gender Studies (ZAG). She is very interested in finding new ways to generate enthusiasm for gender and diversity issues at the University of Freiburg across disciplines and disciplinary boundaries. In doing so, she is able to bring University members together in productive conversations about these concerns across disciplinary and class boundaries.

Center for Anthropology and Gender Studies

Maria-Xenia Hardt: Course on “Female Leadership”

Maria-Xenia Hardt offered the course “Female Leadership” in the 2020/21 winter semester at the University College Freiburg. The course dealt with the topic of "female leadership" in an interdisciplinary way, linking theory and practice. Hardt established a link between a digital teaching format with the content’s effectiveness in the thinking and lives of the students as well as in the public. The prize money will be used to further develop the course into an online accessible self-study program so that as many students as possible can engage with this important topic.

Pfiffikus Award for Start-up Ideas

The “Pfiffikus” Award for Start-up Ideas, provided by the Bildungsstiftung Rhenania Freiburg through the Stifterverband, is awarded by three faculties at the University of Freiburg for marketable business ideas of students and doctoral candidates from the fields of economics and behavioral sciences, medicine and technology. The prize is divided between two start-up projects and is endowed with a total of 3,500 euros and coaching by experienced tutors. The first prize goes to the team of the start-up project “PapSamurAI.” The researchers want to develop a portable Pap smear diagnostic system that will improve the early detection of cervical cancer. The second prize goes to a start-up project to develop and manufacture capacitively shielded Micro Electrical Mechanical System sensors and sensor systems. A new standardized manufacturing process for the sensors based on semiconductor technology should make it possible to produce different types of sensors with different measuring ranges in the same process cycle.

Alumni Award for Volunteer Work

The booster association Alumni Freiburg e.V. has awarded the Alumni Award for Social Involvement in the amount of 2,000 euros, half to a student and half to a student initiative. George Jogho studies psychology and is involved in many ways: He is a mentor in the University's “International Mentoring Program” and a mentor in the Studierendenwerk's international “Buddy Program.” He also volunteers in projects such as “Refudocs Freiburg e.V.” and “Refugium Freiburg.” There, he arranges appointments with specialists for refugees, supports psychiatrists during clearing talks, and participates in online vaccination awareness campaigns.

The goal of the non-profit association “Students Educate Students” is to connect disadvantaged children with students to create a basis for free tutoring. Alina Jäger and Alena Röhrig, students at the University of Freiburg, have launched a new branch of this association in Freiburg, which aims to provide more equal opportunities in the education system by offering free tutoring for children and young people from educationally disadvantaged and low-income families. Alumni Freiburg e.V. honors the group as a representative of the many other student initiatives that exist in this area at the University of Freiburg.

Booster Association Alumni Freiburg e.V.


Rebecca Gramm
Office of Public Relations and Alumni
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-97621

Prof. Dr. Thomas Filk
Institute of Physics
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-5803

Lukas Oettle

Dr. Marion Mangelsdorf
Center for Anthropology and Gender Studies
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-4216

Maria-Xenia Hardt
Tel.: 0176/50985338

Rudolf-Werner Dreier
Booster Association Alumni Freiburg e.V.

Annette Kollefrath-Persch
Office of University and Science Communications
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-8909