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Triple Winner – One State Teaching Award and Two Postdoc Awards Go to the University of Potsdam

A group of people at an award ceremony
View of the stage at the state teaching award ceremony
View of the stage at the postdoctoral award ceremony
View of the stage at the postdoctoral award ceremony
Photo : MWFK
The winners of the State Teaching and the Postdoc Awards.
Photo : MWFK
View of the stage at the State Teaching Award ceremony, 2nd from right: Dr. Daniela Mertzen
Photo : MWFK
View of the stage at the State Teaching Award ceremony. Center: Dr. Enikő Ladányi
Photo : MWFK
View of the stage at the State Teaching Award ceremony. Center: Dr. Ugur Öztürk.

The two Postdoc Awards of the state of Brandenburg and one of the 2023 State Teaching Awards went to the University of Potsdam: Psycholinguist Dr. Enikő Ladányi received the award in the arts, humanities, and social sciences category for her research into children's language development, while engineer Dr. Ugur Öztürk received the award in the natural sciences and engineering category for his work on calculating landslide risks. Brandenburg's Minister of Science Dr. Manja Schüle confers the awards, each worth 20,000 euros, to scholars and scientists who have published outstanding research results shortly after completing their doctorate. In addition, the certificate course "Research Data Management for Students", organized by the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, the University of Potsdam, and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, received the 10,000-euro State Teaching Award for excellent university teaching in Brandenburg.

Dr. Ugur Öztürk, who works at the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Geography, was reco gnized for his publication entitled "How climate change and un-planned urban sprawl bring more landslides" in the leading research journal "Nature". In it, he describes his new model-based solution that can be used to integrate man-made landscape changes and climate change into a simulation of slope stability in order to predict landslide risks. "Every year, an average of 4,500 people worldwide lose their lives due to landslides, a risk that will continue to rise in the future due to two growing trends – climate change and increased urbanization," says the award winner. "For the article, we investigated modeling solutions to help quantify the increasing hazard and risk. This can inform and support local and international stakeholders in the mitigation of these devastating effects."

Dr. Enikő Ladányi from the Department of Linguistics received the Postdoc Award for her research project entitled "REGRAMM: Relationships of receptive grammar acquisition with musical rhythm processing and executive functions". In it, she examines the relationship between musical rhythm processing and language development, taking into account executive functions. Setting goals or priorities, controlling attention, regulating impulses and emotions or even just starting actions in a targeted manner – these are all executive functions. "Behavioral tests have shown that people who have a good command of executive functions also perform better in other language tests," explains Enikő Ladányi. Studies on the importance of our sense of musical rhythms point in the same direction. "Recognizing and distinguishing different rhythms, even tapping certain rhythms – people who can do this well also perform better in grammatical tests than others," says the researcher. "This raises the exciting question: Are grammatical understanding and a sense of rhythm directly linked to one another?" Or do both – independently of each other – depend on how well the executive functions are developed? Enikő Ladányi is investigating this in her current research project as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow. "If we can identify the processes that are of particular importance for grammar acquisition, we can improve our language acquisition models," says the cognitive scientist. This is not only important for the further development of language theory, she adds, but could also benefit those who have problems with language acquisition in the long term.

The 11th State Teaching Award was held under the motto "Open Educational Resources in Higher Education". Of the 23 proposals submitted by the institutions of higher education, three received awards. The award-winning certificate course “Research Data Management for Students” is a cooperation project between teaching staff from the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (FHP), the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) and the University of Potsdam (UP), under the direction of Prof. Heike Neuroth (FHP), Dr. Jens Mittelbach (BTU) and Dr. Daniela Mertzen (UP). The course was developed as a one-week online spring school for students and is dedicated to topics such as Theoretical Introduction to Research Data Management (RDM), Metadata Standards, Data Management Plans, Technical Research Data Infrastructures and Tools, Research Data Publications, and much more. The special feature: All course materials were published as Open Educational Resources (OER) in a freely accessible format on the Zenodo research data repository. They can be viewed there by interested parties or used for teaching purposes.

“Of course, it is a challenge for students not to lose interest in the topic of research data management during a one-week online course,” says Dr. Daniela Mertzen. “Our varied and interactive concept, which includes gamification elements, practical exercises, and ethical discussions, for example, gives us, the teaching staff, the necessary support right up to the last minute on late Friday afternoons.”

Further information:
On Dr. Enikő Ladányi’s paper (German only):
On Dr. Ugur Öztürk’s research:
On the certificate course "Research Data Management for Students” (German only ):

2023_125_Eniko_Ladanyi_Photo_Tobias_Hopfgarten: Dr. Enikő Ladányi Photo: Tobias Hopfgarten
2023_125_Ugur_Oeztuerk_Foto_Vera_Oeztuerk: Dr. Ugur Öztürk. Photo: Vera Öztürk

Dr. Enikő Ladányi, Department of Linguistics
Phone: +49 331 977-203156
E-mail: eniko.ladanyiuni-potsdamde

Dr. Ugur Öztürk, Institute of Environmental Science and Geography
Phone: +49 331 977-223232
E-mail: ugur.oeztuerkuni-potsdamde
Dr. Daniela Mertzen, University Library
E-mail: daniela.mertzenuni-potsdamde
Media information 29-11-2023 / No. 125