Bernd Rendel Prize 2017: DFG recognizes early career achievements in the Earth sciences


Three researchers at the start of their careers in the earth sciences will receive the Bernd Rendel Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG) this year for their multifaceted and original research in the earth sciences. Jaayke Lynn Fiege, whose doctoral thesis at the universities of Hanover and Michigan focuses on mineral deposit geochemistry, Sinikka Tina Lennartz from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, who is completing her doctorate on the quantification and impact of marine emissions of climate-related trace gases, and Sebastian Sippel, who is carrying out research in the field of geoecology at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena as part of his doctorate, were singled out by the jury from the 16 applications submitted. They will each receive €1,500 for scientific purposes from the Bernd Rendel Foundation, which is administered by the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany. The aim of the prize money is to enable the prizewinners to participate in international conferences and meetings. The 2017 Bernd Rendel Prize will be presented on 25 September as part of the annual meeting of the German Geological Society (DGGV) in Bremen.

Profiles of the prize-winners:

Jaayke Lynn Fiege (28), Institute for Mineralogy, Leibniz University of Hanover

Jaayke Lynn Fiege is being awarded the 2017 Bernd Rendel Prize for her exceptional achievements in the area of mineral deposit geochemistry. After completing her degree in earth sciences at the University of Hanover, she commenced her doctorate in 2013 and shortly thereafter, with funding from a DAAD scholarship, went to the University of Michigan, where she worked with renowned mineral deposits researcher, Prof. Dr. Adam Simon. During that time Fiege developed a new model for the formation of the globally significant Kiruna-type iron ore deposits. The results of those studies, as well as those of her Master's thesis, were published in internationally recognised journals. In the course of her research work, Fiege cooperated with the American Museum of Natural History, and in 2017 she received confirmation of a doctoral scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Fund.

Sinikka Tina Lennartz (30), GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

Since 2013 as part of her doctorate at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Sinikka Tina Lennartz has been researching the release of sulphurous gases, which are believed to play a critical role in the climate but have been investigated only minimally to date. The jury was impressed by Lennartz' high degree of academic independence, which she has developed since completing her geoecology degree at the universities of Tübingen and Braunschweig. She is the first author of three publications and is also co-author of three additional papers – one of which appeared in the renowned journal "Nature Climate Change". In addition, she has developed a new method for the quantification of sulphuric gas emissions, and herself obtained the funds required for the measurement device needed. According to the jury, Lennartz possesses a broad range of skills, from method development through data acquisition on board research ships to the application of regional and global model simulations. The award of the Bernd Rendel Prize 2017 recognises these skills.

Sebastian Sippel (29), Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena

Sebastian Sippel completed his degree in geoecology at the University of Bayreuth in parallel with earning a Master of Science in Oxford in the subject area of "Environmental Change and Management" as part of a study visit abroad. Since 2014 he has been undertaking his doctorate in Jena and Zurich on the question of how extreme climate events impact on geoecological processes, in particular the interactions between biosphere and atmosphere. That is to say, he is examining the question whether increasing extreme events may have an effect on the global carbon cycle. Sippel is being awarded the Bernd Rendel Prize 2017 for his outstanding works in the area of geoecology, which are based both on observations and model results. The jury was impressed by the fact that he was not afraid to challenge established approaches. For example, he proved in one of his nine first-author publications in outstanding journals that a series of early studies systematically overestimated the increase in temperature extremes.

The DFG has been awarding the Bernd Rendel Prize since 2002. The prize was named in honour of geology student Bernd Rendel, who died at a young age, and whose family donated the prize money. The prize money is administered by the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany and is awarded each year for academic purposes to prizewinners who have graduated but not yet been awarded their doctorates. The amount of the award is dependent on foundation income.


Further Information

Media contact: DFG Press and Public Relations, Tel. +49 228 885-2109, [email protected]

For more information about the Bernd Rendel Prize and the winners, please visit:

DFG programme contact: Dr. Ismene Seeberg-Elverfeldt, Geosciences division, Tel. +49 228 885-2825, [email protected]

Media Contact

Magdalena Schaeffer
[email protected]

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