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German Scientists Receive First Cottrell-Fulbright Awards

Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (left) and Dr. Rolf Hoffmann, Executive Director of the German-American Fulbright Commission (right) presenting Dr. Olalla Vázquez (second from the right) and Dr. Sebastian Slama (second from the left) with the Cottrell-Fulbright Award

Berlin, March 21, 2016. Excellence in research and teaching: With the Cottrell-Fulbright Award, the German-American Fulbright Commission has launched a unique program within the German educational system. In its first year, two young scientists will receive funding for a combined research and teaching project. During a Fulbright ceremony in March, the Awards were officially conferred by Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The first two Cottrell-Fulbright Scholars are the chemist Dr. Olalla Vázquez from the University of Marburg and the physicist Dr. Sebastian Slama from the University of Tübingen. Their project proposals on “EpiTools: chemical tools for unravelling molecular epigenetic mechanisms” (Vázquez) and “Dipole-Dipole interactions of Rubidium atoms close to nanofiber tips in home-built vapor cells” (Slama) were especially convincing as they showed a successful combination of research and teaching – with a particular focus on innovative methods to motivate students and get them involved early on in their respective fields.

The Cottrell-Fulbright Award is based on the prestigious Cottrell Award by the U.S.-based Research Corporation for Science Advancement. Since its inception in 1994, it has been conferred to outstanding “teacher-scholars” in the natural sciences – thus far with a focus on the American science community. The Cottrell-Fulbright Award emulates this successful concept and adds a transatlantic, intercultural perspective: Beginning in July 2016, awardees will receive funding of 63,000 € for a three-year project that combines innovative research and teaching approaches. The Award also includes travel funds of 5,000 € to participate in the annual Cottrell Scholar Conferences in Tucson, Arizona. Through the funding and the conference participation combined, the Award makes an important contribution to research and teaching within the German educational system while at the same time intensifying transatlantic science exchange. Funds are made available by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The German-American Fulbright Commission fosters academic and cultural exchange between Germany and the United States of America. The largest and most varied of the Fulbright programs worldwide, the German-American Fulbright Program has sponsored over 45,000 Germans and Americans since its inception in 1952. Among its diverse target groups are students, teaching assistants, scholars, university administrators, educational experts, teachers, and journalists.

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