Great honor for promotion of young scientists in German polar research | Polarjournal
More and more young scientists are devoting their work to the polar regions. Because the Arctic and Antarctic are still full of mysteries for the understanding of our planet. That is why the targeted promotion of young talent is very important. Image: M. Tekmann, AWI

The increased media and social interest in the polar regions can be explained not least by the greater research interest. Thanks to new technical possibilities and a better understanding of the importance of the Arctic and Antarctic, more and more projects are carried out. This, in turn, requires more ealry career scientists, who then also have to be prepared accordingly. This year, the German Society for Polar Research DGP honored two people who have dedicated themselves to supporting and promoting Polar early career scientists.

One award goes to Dr. Gerlis Fugmann of the International Arctic Science Committee IASC for her support and international networking of young researchers, the DGP writes in a press release. She is the first female to receive the “Carl Weyprecht Medal” awarded by the DGP. Gerlis Fugmann explains: “This is a great honor for young scientists in polar research. Because with this medal, a big step forward is made in the promotion of young scientists. And it is also a great honor and recognition for me personally, because on the one hand I am the first woman to receive this award. And on the other hand, so far I have worked more in the background of APECS (Association of Polar Early Career Scientists). The medal shows that this work is definitely noticed and recognized.”

The two DGP award winners, Dr. Gerlis Fugmann (2nd from right) and Prof. Hugues Lantuilt (right) together with representatives of the DGP (Prof. Dr. Bernhard Diekmann (l), Dr. Heidemarie Kassens (3rd from right), Prof. Dr. Cornelia Spiegel-Behnke (3rd from left) and the Brandenburg Minister for Science, Research and Culture Dr. Manja Schüle (2nd from left). Image: Bernhard Diekmann, DGP

The second prize winner, Professor Hugues Lantuilt from the University of Potsdam, also received the medal for his commitment to promoting young scientists in polar research. He founded the “Permafrost Young Researchers Network” and leads a Helmholtz Young Researchers Group at AWI Potsdam on “Arctic Coastal Erosion”. He, too, is very pleased about this award and the recognition for young scientists in the field of polar research, “even though we ourselves no longer belong to the ranks of young scientists,” he said with a smile during his acceptance speech on the occasion of the award ceremony at the international polar meeting in early May. But both awardees believe that networking among young scientists is one of the most important aspects for early career scientists in polar research. Both were also long-time members of APECS, the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists, helping to establish an international platform for young scientists in polar research. APECS is an international and interdisciplinary organization that brings together 29 national committees and provides young researchers with a network and assistance in their careers in polar science.

The Carl Weyprecht Medal is awarded by the German Society for Polar Research for outstanding achievements in polar research. It is dedicated to Carl Weyprecht, the German polar explorer and geophysicist whose Arctic expedition in 1872-74 with Julius Payer led, among other things, to the discovery of Franz-Josef-Land. Image: DGP

The Carl Weyprecht Medal is awarded by the DGP to individuals who have made special contributions in connection with polar sciences. The medal is not awarded every year, but irregularly. The first award was given to the French polar explorer Paul-Émile Victor in 1967. The medal is named and dedicated to the German polar explorer Carl Weyprecht. Together with Julius Payer, he had led the Austro-Hungarian North Pole expedition (Tegethoff expedition) in 1872-74, which discovered and mapped parts of the Franz Josef Land archipelago north of Russia. Based on the experiences of Weyprecht and Payer, the International Polar Years were initiated, in the course of which APECS was founded in 2007/08. The award to Dr. Fugmann and Professor Lantuilt thus closes the circle again.

Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

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