Press Release 087/2021

Erna Scheffler Sponsorship Award for KIT Researchers

Awards of the Karlsruhe Soroptimist Club Go to Dr. Gabriela Molinar and Leona Schmidt-Speicher – Ceremony on October 15, 2021 at the Federal Constitutional Court
The award winners Dr. Gabriela Molinar (left) and Leona Schmidt-Speicher. (Photos: private, KIT)
The award winners Dr. Gabriela Molinar (left) and Leona Schmidt-Speicher. (Photos: private, KIT)

The 2021 Erna Scheffler Sponsorship Award goes to the engineers Dr. Gabriela Molinar and Leona Schmidt-Speicher from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). For the thirteenth time, the Karlsruhe Soroptimist Club confers this award for extraordinary scientific achievements to young female scientists of KIT.

The award that is granted every two years is endowed with EUR 5,000 and split up into a prize for a doctoral thesis and a prize for a master’s thesis. “I am very happy for these two young researchers. With their research, they have decisively contributed to solving socially relevant problems,” says Professor Oliver Kraft, KIT Vice-President for Research. “Young scientists in particular give KIT new life, impetus, and new ideas for research, academic education, and innovation.”

This year’s prize for a doctoral thesis goes to Dr. Gabriela Molinar for her work on “Machine Learning Tool for Transmission Capacity Forecasting of Overhead Lines Based on Distributed Weather Data“ written at KIT’s Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV). She presents a system to increase power transmission and to optimize transmission capacity of overhead lines. She uses so-called overhead line monitoring and artificial intelligence to support transmission of wind-based power from Northern Germany to the South. “The system forecasts the transmission capacity of overhead lines for 48 hours. With this, the efficiency of the power production plan of conventional power plants can be improved by ten percent,” Molinar says. “Hence, the system represents an important contribution to the energy transition.”

This year’s Erna Scheffler Sponsorship Award for a Master’s Thesis goes to Leona Schmidt-Speicher for her work entitled “Production, Investigation, and Parameterization of Bactericidal Nanostructures with Titanium and Silicon Used as Examples.” Schmidt-Speicher wrote her thesis at the Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT). To prevent inflammation as a result of new implants, special layers on the implant surface release antibiotics. “However, more and more pathogens are resistant to antibiotics and only few substances are newly developed. This increasingly leads to inflammations in the tissue surrounding the implants,” Schmidt-Speicher says. Her research on bactericidal nanostructures on titanium and silicon represents an important contribution to improving permanent anchoring of medical implants and preventing implant losses by bacterial inflammations.

The Award Ceremony is not open to the public

About the Karlsruhe Soroptimist Club

Soroptimist International (SI) is the largest service organization of socio-politically active working women worldwide. SI was founded in Oakland, California/USA, in 1921 and today has more than 75,000 members in 133 countries and territories in the world. In Germany, 214 clubs with more than 6,500 members exist. The Karlsruhe Soroptimist Club was founded in 1963 by its founding President Dr. Erna Scheffler. Today, the Karlsruhe Club has about 40 members representing various professions and activities. Soroptimists are committed to improving the legal, social, and professional status of women as well as to high ethical values, human rights for all, equality, development, and peace. In a number of projects on the international, national, and local levels, SI provides financial, ideational, and personal help and grants scholarships. The name of the service organization comes from the Latin “sorores ad optimum” and means “sisters wishing the best.”

Further information:

Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 10,000 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,800 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

ase, 06.10.2021

Monika Landgraf
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