Supporting early career researchers with awards

Kiel University confers EmpowerMINT awards for theses



Kiel University's new EmpowerMINT award aims to honour particular achievements by female students and female graduates in Mathematics, IT, Natural Sciences and Technology (known as the MINT subjects). This is because the proportion of women studying these fields is far below 50 percent. The award and prize money of €500 for a Bachelor's thesis and €750 for a Master's thesis are intended to create clear incentives for continuing on with an academic career in this sector. Funding will be provided for the awards, four in total, for a Bachelor's and Master's thesis from the Faculty of Engineering (TF) and a Bachelor's and Master's thesis from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (MNF) under the Programme for Women Professors III of the Federal Government and the federal states (Länder). A further two awards will be funded by the MNF. “The EmpowerMINT awards are an important recognition of outstanding research by six Kiel-based young female researchers. Promoting local talent through a competition for the best researchers is something that benefits everyone,” said Professor Nele Matz-Lück, Kiel University’s Vice-President for international affairs, young researchers, equality and diversity.

The first to receive this award were:


Potrait photo of Patricia Fuchs.
© Vera Hinz, Fotografie Schenk

TF/Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Bachelor's thesis: “Entwicklung und Implementierung einer magnetischen Herzachsenbestimmung” (development and implementation of a magnetic heart axis regulation)

Portrait photo of Maren Dworschak.
© Maren Dworschak

MNF/Experimental and Applied Physics, Master's thesis: “Minimalinvasive Extraktion zur Ex-situ-Analyse von Nanopartikeln aus reaktiven Plasmen” (minimally invasive extraction for ex situ analysis of nanoparticles from reactive plasma)

(Kopie 3)

Portrait photo of Margarethe Hauck.
© Florian Rasch

TF/Materials Science, Master's thesis: “Conductive, microchannelled 3D hydrogel networks as scaffold material for tissue engineering”

Patricia Fuchs

“I am interested in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology because you can combine mathematics, logic and creative solutions for practical and innovative applications. Beyond the theory, there is a direct link to real life situations. This is exactly what I was able to show in my Bachelor's thesis based on a topic from medical diagnostics.”



Maren Dworschak

“Plasma physics was always one of the most interesting parts of physics for me because it is applied in space research, technology and even medicine. Physics is an exciting subject and conveys knowledge about the basic phenomena of nature. In my opinion, studying a MINT subject requires curiosity and the ability to think logically, neither of which are gender-specific.”



Margarethe Hauck

“Materials Science provides a very diverse, interdisciplinary field of research offering a broad range of different areas of application. What I personally find particularly exciting is the field of biomaterials and their use in medicine. This is why I co-developed a biocompatible, conductive hydrogel for my Master’s thesis and I am currently researching new implant materials for local treatment of brain disorders in the research training group (RTG) ‘Materials for Brain’. What I like most about this is solving medical questions with materials science approaches and at the same time expanding my horizons through lively exchange with other research fields. I am convinced that MINT offers a broad spectrum of opportunities and can be recommended to anyone who likes the natural sciences and technology and wants to help shape the future.”


Portrait photo of Jana Scheffler.
© Jana Scheffler

MNF/Geosciences, Bachelor's thesis: “First compositional characterization of the three youngest volcaniclastic layers in distal core M155/14, south of Fogo, Cape Verdes”

© Fotostudio Renard

MNF/Physical Chemistry, Bachelor's thesis: “Femtosekunden-zeitaufgelöste Spektroskopie von Salicylsäuremethylester nach elektronischer Anregung” (femtosecond time-resolved spectroscopy of methyl salicylate after electronic excitation)

Potrait photo of Franziska Reiser.
© Studioline

MNF/Statistical Physics, Bachelor's thesis: “Stopping power in Graphen-Nanoclustern im Rahmen des G1-G2-Schemas” (stopping power in graphene nanoclusters within the G1-G2 diagram)

Janne Scheffler

“I have always found volcanoes, earthquakes and natural disasters really exciting! Above all else, however, it was my trip to New Zealand that made me keen enough to choose this subject for my degree. During my Bachelor's degree programme I had the opportunity to be part of the scientific crew onboard a German research vessel. This made me even more fascinated with the specialist fields of volcanology, sedimentology and geophysics. I was given one of the sediment cores to work on for my Bachelor's thesis and so I had the opportunity to be involved in the project from the outset. That was extremely motivating! MINT is a very exciting and wide-ranging field of study. It will play a major role in the future, too. Especially when it comes to tackling current social challenges like climate change, the innovative strength of MINT will be the driving force behind progress in basic research.”


Jorunn Fuchs

“I find that there is a lot to discover and learn in MINT and my specialist field of Chemistry and this is why I became interested in the MINT subjects from an early age. While still at school, I decided to choose Chemistry as my major subject and then embarked on a Chemistry degree. What I find great and important about the Chemistry degree is that it not only teaches you the theory, but provides a lot of hands-on experience through the practical experiments. I wrote my Bachelor's thesis in Physical Chemistry because I not only find performing syntheses exciting but also enjoy investigating the behaviour of the molecules that are produced.”



Franziska Reiser

“I was already interested in Mathematics, Physics and Information Technology when I was at school. I chose a Physics degree because it incorporates aspects from all these fields and it turned out to be the right decision for me. A Physics degree is very interesting and varied thanks to its combination of theoretical and practical work. For this reason, I can recommend it to anyone interested in the subject, especially women (as they are under-represented in this field).”


The students and graduates were able to apply themselves but could also be nominated by supervisors. Alongside the specialist quality of the thesis, the selection committee made up of members from the faculties applied additional criteria to their award decisions. For instance, the innovative character of the content or methods used and the student's involvement in social or university policy were also taken into consideration.

The awards will be conferred on an annual basis, the next application deadline is 2 May 2022.

More information is available here: