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Funding for Four Junior Professors

The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science selected four highly promising young scientists from Heidelberg University for its Junior Professor Programme. The junior professors Dr Yana Vaynzof (organic electronics), Dr Bernhard Höfle (geoinformatics), Dr Jonas Dovern (macroeconomics) and Dr Giulio Pagonis (German as a foreign language philology) will receive financial support for their research projects. The grants ranged between 100,000 and 150,000 euros for a period of three years. The funding programme aims to support outstanding new research projects and thereby contribute to better working conditions.

In her project, Prof. Vaynzof will investigate technological developments in the field of ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy and how they can apply to organic photovoltaic research. Central questions will include energy loss in organic solar cells which reduce the open-circuit voltage and thus determine the efficiency of these components. The new technology currently in development can be applied to a wide range of other electronic components such as organic LEDs and field-effect transistors in order to understand restrictions to their performance. Yana Vaynzof is an instructor and researcher at the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics.

Professor Höfle's project will concentrate on computer-assisted environmental monitoring, to be implemented in four dimensions and near real time. The goal is to develop a new scientific basis as well as geoinformatic techniques in 3D laser scanning for round-the-clock monitoring of the earth's surface. This monitoring focuses on natural hazards such as landslides and the continuous observation of crop populations in precision agriculture and seed breeding. Professor Höfle will collaborate with the University of Idaho, Vienna University and the Julius Kühn Institute for Crop and Soil Science in Braunschweig. Bernhard Höfle works at the Institute of Geography and is a board member of the Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE).

In his project, Professor Dovern will engage with the effects of recession on production potential in national economies. His main focus will be on measurement technique enhancement and the question of whether specific economic policies can mitigate long-term recession effects. Conventional macroeconomic models currently treat the dynamics of business cycles and long-term growth rates for national economies as separate entities for analysis, a fact which supplied the initial impetus for the project. However, experiences in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008–10 have shown that in some cases, countries cannot fully recover from a serious economic blow. Jonas Dovern is a member of the Alfred Weber Institute for Economics.

Professor Pagonis's research will involve a long-term study examining the acquisition of German as a second language by so-called "lateral entrants". His project will centre on immigrant children, aged six to eight at the time they start primary school in Stuttgart, who take part in a special programme where they receive extra language support. The children's language progress will be recorded in detail over the course of a year. The results for the children's language learning strategies and sequences are expected to provide a practical reference point to chart realistic progress for other children learning under similar conditions. Giulio Pagonis is an instructor and researcher at the Institute of German as a Foreign Language Philology.

The Junior Professor Programme was first announced in 2005. It provides funding for research projects by junior professors at universities, art and music academies, as well as teacher training colleges in the German Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. Grants range up to 150,000 euros. The universities are required to provide additional funding for these projects, at least 15 per cent of the grant total, to signalise their commitment to junior professors. The selection process follows a two-stage approach. Written evaluations from review board members are required for each proposal. An interdisciplinary selection committee composed of experienced professors is responsible for the final decision regarding acceptance into the programme.


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Latest Revision: 2016-01-29
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