The Bioeconomy Science Center has since 2014 granted the Supervision Award to young scientists among its members for outstanding achievements in supervising doctoral students. Since 2021, the €25,000 prize is awarded as the Christian Patermann Award and honors the founder of the knowledge-based bioeconomy in Europe. The namesake himself awarded this year's prize on May 11 jointly to Prof. Sandra Venghaus (RWTH Aachen University/Forschungszentrum Jülich) and Dr. Till Tiso (RWTH Aachen University).
Sandra Venghaus studied Environmental Science and Public Policy at Harvard University and was a DFG fellow in the Interdisciplinary Environmental History Research Training Group at the University of Göttingen before earning her doctorate at the University of Hannover's Institute of Marketing and Management in 2011. Further stations of her scientific career were the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, the University of Bielefeld and the Institute for Energy and Climate Research at Forschungszentrum Jülich, where she became group leader in the area of Systems Research and Technological Development in 2014. In 2021, she was appointed as an assistant professor for Decision Analysis and Socio-economic Evaluation at RWTH Aachen University.
Till Tiso studied bioprocess engineering at the University of Dortmund. From 2011 to 2016, he was a PhD student at the Institute of Applied Microbiology (IAMB) at RWTH Aachen University, with research stays at Imperial College London and CSIC Madrid, as well as international research collaborations in Canada, Brazil, and South Korea, for example. After his PhD, he became group leader at IAMB in 2016. His research interests include synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and recombinant production of secondary metabolites in various microorganisms.
Both award winners were nominated by doctoral students and by the heads of their institutes. Prof. Ingar Janzik quoted several times from the personal letters of support in her laudation. The letters for Sandra Venghaus highlighted the composition of her team, with doctoral students from economics, political science, engineering and mathematics. This, they said, reflects the interdisciplinary approach needed for research on the social transformation to a sustainable bioeconomy. It is complemented by the exchange with international partners in order to not only overcome disciplinary boundaries, but also to think in a global context. The letters of support for Till Tiso acknowledged the close cooperation with external partners from academia and industry in all doctoral projects, which leads doctoral students to work with experts from completely different fields - from process engineering to ecotoxicology and structural biology to social and economic sciences. Moreover, he supports the doctoral students in their participation in interdisciplinary conferences, workshops and summer schools.
Dr. Dr. h.c. Christian Patermann personally presented the award at this year's BioSC Forum. Christian Patermann was Head of the Research Directorate at the European Commission from 1996 to 2007 and was in charge of the concept of a "Knowledge-based Bioeconomy (KBBE)", which the Commission first formulated in 2005. From fall 2007 to 2014, he advised the North Rhine-Westphalian state government on the emerging future field of bioeconomy. From 2009 to 2012, he was a member of the first German Bioeconomy Council. He is the most important pioneer for the modern knowledge-based bioeconomy in Europe.