To mark the 50th anniversary of its founding, the Universitätsgesellschaft Oldenburg (UGO) awarded not just one but two Awards for Excellent Research in 2022. The UGO Award for Excellent Research in the humanities, social and cultural sciences went to human geographer Dr. Jennifer Turner, while nutrition scientist Dr. Rebecca Diekmann received the UGO Award for Excellent Research in the natural sciences, mathematics and medicine. Both awards are endowed with 5,000 euros in prize money, The Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis and 2,000 euros in prize money went to economist Dr. Julia Tschersich.
UGO Award for Excellent Research
Dr Jennifer Turner has been a lecturer and researcher at the university’s Institute of Social Sciences since 2020. She heads the Crime and Carcerality research group. Her goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the functioning of systems of crime and carcerality and she is establishing a new branch of human geography in the process. Her work focuses primarily on spaces, practices and representations of incarceration. In addition to examining experiences of imprisonment she explores the “prison-military complex”, focusing on the intricate connections between prisons and the military and the extent to which prisons are embedded in military infrastructures and staffed by former military personnel. Before coming to Oldenburg, Turner was a Senior Lecturer in human geography at the University of Liverpool in the UK.
UGO Award for Excellent Research
Dr Rebecca Diekmann has been teaching and conducting research at the Department of Health Services Research since 2013, initially in Geriatrics and since 2016 in the Assistance Systems and Medical Device Technology section. Here she heads the Nutrition and Functionality in older adults research group, which since 2022 is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Diekmann and her team are working on an assistance system to help older people live independently for as long as possible. The system consists of a tablet-based app and automated training stations and is designed to encourage older people to eat an age-appropriate diet and improve or maintain their fitness levels. Before moving to Oldenburg, the nutritional scientist conducted research at the University of Bonn and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where she completed her doctorate in 2011.
UGO Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis
Dr Julia Tschersich's thesis focuses on initiatives that view seeds and plant varieties as commons. She examines how the activities of these initiatives in Germany, the Philippines and across the globe are influenced by factors such as intellectual property rights, seed laws, plant genetic resources and biodiversity. She also analyses how these seed initiatives, as "real utopias" within local communities, can contribute to the socio-ecological transformation of agricultural and food systems. Tschersich earned a Bachelor's degree in International Relations at the Technische Universität Dresden and a Master's degree in Sustainability Economics and Management at the University of Oldenburg. She is one of the founding members of the Oldenburg Food Council (Ernährungsrat Oldenburg) and Junior Assistant Professor of Transformative Governance and Democracy at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
For the selection committee, the "high societal relevance and interdisciplinary orientation" of the dissertation of Julia Tschersich stood out. In addition, a large extra-university engagement was highlighted. The jury voted unanimously to grant her with the doctoral award.