Postgraduate scholarship

Since 2018 the ScienceCampus Halle has been awarding postgraduate scholarships for "bridging support" to doctoral students of WCH members. Up to three months will be funded with 9,000 EUR.

If you are interested, you can contact the WCH-coordinator Dr.Anne-Laure Tissier.


WCH scholarship holder honored with the 2017 Hans H. Ruthenberg Graduate Award

Ulrike Beukert was one of the two winners of the 2017 Hans H. Ruthenberg Graduate Award. On September 20, 2017 she received the award for her successful master’s thesis “Genome-based Identification of Heterotic Patterns in Rice”, which she wrote at the Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben at the end of her studies in crop science at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). The prize is endowed with a total of 7,500 euros. As part of her master’s thesis, Ulrike Beukert identified optimal parental line combinations for the development of hybrid rice seed based on the sophisticated biostatistical analysis of yield and gene marker data. In doing so she has made an important contribution to the increase in the resource-efficient production of one of the world’s most important staple foods. With the conferral of the Hans H. Ruthenberg Graduate Award, Ulrike Beukert’s outstanding achievements have been honored for the second time. Due to her excellent grades, she received a scholarship during her studies from Bayer CropScience AG, IPK and MLU at the initiative of the ScienceCampus Halle. “The distinction of the master’s thesis shows that the targeted support of young researchers motivates excellent students to contribute their scientific abilities to tackling global challenges such as food security,” says Prof. Jochen Reif, Head of the Breeding Research Division at IPK. Jochen Reif, also a recipient of the Hans H. Ruthenberg Graduate Award, scientifically supervised the master’s thesis alongside Prof. Klaus Pillen, spokesperson for the ScienceCampus Halle and professor of plant breeding at MLU. Ulrike Beukert will continue her scientific career at the Julius Kühn Institute in Quedlinburg in the field of resistance research and stress tolerance.


Second WCH scholarship awared to UFZ

Prof. Dr. Ludger Wessjohann, Apeksha Chandrashekar and Prof. Dr. Bruno Bühler

In 2017 the WCH gave its bioeconomy scholarship for highly gifted students to the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). Professor Bruno Bühler, UFZ’s representative in the directorate of the WCH, selected Ms Apeksha Chandrashekar from all of the other applicants due to her academic performance and qualifications. The 25-year-old is in the process of obtaining her master’s degree in pharmaceutical and industrial biotechnology at Martin Luther University. The scholarship will now allow her to do a research internship at UFZ to study the production of new and high-value plant substances.

The WCH scholarship corresponds to the highest BAföG rate and is awarded for a maximum of six months irrespective of income levels and nationality. Ms Chandrashekar will start her research internship on 1 May 2017.

Last year the WCH scholarship was awarded to Ms Christin Mannewitz from Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle. The textile design student studied the potential of using plant-based (waste) materials in the production of materials, and experimented with straw as a way to produce paper. Ms Mannewitz presented the results in her master’s thesis “Bio, Ökonomie und die Hoffnung aus Stroh Gold zu machen” and at numerous trade fairs, for example at the 2017 Heimtextil Exhibition in Frankfurt am Main.


Second Round of Grants from KWS and Syngenta

From left to right: Dr. Christopher J. Basten (Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc.Durham, USA), Leonhard Sommer (scholarship holder), Dr. Monika Spiller (Syngenta Seeds GmbH, Bad Salzuflen), Prof. Klaus Pillen (University Halle)

For the second consecutive time two agricultural science students at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg received industry scholarships acquired by the WCH. Ms Maria Umann was one of three young scientists to receive the Ferdinand von Lochow scholarship from KWS GETREIDE. Mr Leonhard Sommer was awarded a scholarship by Syngenta Seeds GmbH.

The scholarship for gifted students awarded by Syngenta Seeds GmbH will fund Mr Leonhard Sommer’s entire two-year master’s studies, which are in agricultural sciences with an emphasis on agricultural land use. The scholarship corresponds to the highest BAföG rate and also includes a two-month trainee programme in a company, and a master’s thesis supervised by Professor Jochen C. Reif (IPK Gatersleben) and Professor Klaus Pillen (MLU Halle).

Ms Maria Umann is working on a master’s degree in agricultural sciences with an emphasis on agricultural land use, and will receive 500 euros a month for one year. The key component of the KWS scholarship is a ten-week internship at one of KWS’s locations worldwide. In addition to fostering practice and orientation for talent in agriculture, KWS aims to promote entrepreneurial spirit in young junior scientists through its scholarship.

“Many people at my university now know this scholarship. That’s why I was even happier to get onto the shortlist,” explains Umann. She is convinced that plant breeding will also play an important role in the future. One thing is certain for her and for Thea Mi Weiss (University of Hohenheim) and Christopher Schuldt (University of Osnabrück), who also received the award: they want to contribute.

Since 2013 master’s scholarships have been regularly awarded under the umbrella of the ScienceCampus Halle to promote young scientists. The financial incentive from industry is meant to get students interested in the concerns of the plant-based bioeconomy.


First own WCH-grant awarded

Christin Mannewitz: WCH-Scholarship (Foto: Markus Scholz)

The natural science and economic research network ScienceCampus Halle - Plant-Based Bioeconomy (WCH) promotes from 1st November 2015 the student Christin Mannewitz of the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle. The student in textile design examines the potential of plant (waste) for the development of new materials and had already produced in first attempts compostable bags from agricultural waste. For six months she will receive for the realization of her Master's thesis monthly the BAföG maximum rate.

With her bachelor thesis Christin Mannewitz had developed an own material which has enough strength to make bags or similar products. She is using the technique of papermaking from different plant waste such as straw or rhubarb and asparagus peelings. Based on these results the experiments for papermaking are now being further developed. The analysis of the experimental use of the material in terms of aesthetics, stability and processing is paramount. According to a circular economy, more detailed experiments are carried out in terms of durability and coatings. The theoretical analysis of the work deals with bioeconomy, its necessity and criticism.

Against the backdrop of increasingly scarce resources, it is among other things necessary, to improve the extensive utilization of all parts of plants to provide plant-based, healthy food and products for the world's population. One of the aims of the WCH, a association of experts in the field of plant, agricultural, economic and social sciences and biotechnology sponsored by Saxony-Anhalt and the Leibniz Association, is to strengthen the teaching in this area and to work transdisciplinary. At the initiative of the WCH three industrial scholarships for Master Students of Crop Sciences of the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg have been raised. The grant for the project of the Burg-student is the first scholarship specially awarded by the WCH.



Not just a delicate plant: Sponsorship of young scientists in plant breeding

Jochen Reif, Norman Philipp, Klaus Pillen, Gunther Stiewe (left to right)
Jochen Reif, Norman Philipp, Klaus Pillen, Gunther Stiewe (left to right)

The Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Syngenta Seeds GmbH have issued a scholarship to support students of the master program Crop Plant Sciences. As the first scholar Norman Philipp is pleased about the financial support for his two-year master program.

Philipp has distinguished himself during his undergraduate studies of Agricultural Sciences at the MLU by outstanding achievements in the field of plant breeding. He was selected, after a nomination by the Chair of Plant Breeding, Prof. Dr. Klaus Pillen, and an application process by Syngenta. The scholarship is equivalent to the maximum rate of the German Federal Law on Support in Education (BAföG). It also includes a two-month internship as well as a master thesis in collaboration with Syngenta. Based in Bad Salzuflen Syngenta Seeds is one of the world's leading plant breeding companies.

Pillen, is the speaker of the ScienceCampus Halle – Plant Based BioEconomy (WCH) and has set himself the goal to strengthen the teaching and training of students in the field of plant-based bioeconomy. With the aid of this financial incentive he wants to arouse the interest of students for the concerns of the bioeconomy. Numerous companies in the field of plant breeding are based in Saxony-Anhalt. Therefore a great demand for young and competent scientists in the fields of plant breeding and bioeconomy is given.

It is planned to arrange the sponsorship on a long-term base and to issue the scholarship with Syngenta regularly. In addition, the current scholarship may be exemplary for further research and teaching cooperations of the MLU with the bioeconomy industry in Saxony-Anhalt.