CITEC Researchers awarded for the best doctoral dissertations

The Universitätsgesellschaft Bielefeld (UGBi, Bielefeld University Society) has awarded its prizes for the best doctoral dissertations written at Bielefeld University. Among the prizewinners are three researchers from research groups at the Cluster of Excellence CITEC.

Dr. John Elvis Hagan, Jr., completed his doctoral studies in the “Neurocognition and Action – Biomechanics” research group, which is headed by Professor Dr. Thomas Schack and is part of the Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science at Bielefeld University. Dr. Hagan’s dissertation examined anxiety in competitive sports situations from a transactional perspective. For this, Hagan analyzed interactions in table tennis at the highest competitive levels in Ghana, among other scenarios. During his doctoral research, Hagan worked closely at the CITEC Graduate School with researchers from many different fields of study. After graduation, Hagan returned to the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, where he will teach and continue his research.

Dr. Anja Kristina Philippsen completed her doctoral studies in the “Applied Informatics” research group, which is headed by Professor Dr. Britta Wrede and is part of the Faculty of Technology at Bielefeld University. Philippsen developed and implemented a model that enables a computer to learn vowels and syllables the way in which children do so: by testing and evaluating acoustic feedback. While working on her dissertation, Philippsen collaborated with researchers from computer science, robotics and linguistics, and this interdisciplinary work was something she found to be invaluable. Thanks to CITEC’s cooperation with Osaka University, she was able to forge a strong connection with Japan  – where she has been working for the past year at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT).

Dr. Eduard Zell did his doctoral studies in the research group "Computer Graphics and Geometry Processing" headed by Professor Dr. Mario Botsch. In his dissertation, Zell examined the creation, animation, and perception of realistic and stylized faces. Algorithms were developed in order to transfer facial characteristics and expressions from one face to another, which formed the basis for a systemic dataset as well as several psychological experiments. During his doctoral studies, Eduard Zell valued modern  facilities and equipment offered by the Cluster of Excellence, as well as the high academic standards of his supervisor and the interdisciplinary work with other researchers. After a short stint at a start-up in Berlin, Zell is now doing a postdoc in Dublin, Ireland. In the medium term, he can imagine both founding a start-up company and pursuing an academic career.

The Bielefeld University Society honored the best doctoral dissertations written in 2018 from all faculties at Bielefeld University, as well as the Bielefeld School of Education. All dissertations were awarded the highest distinction of “summa cum laude.” One additional outstanding doctoral dissertation was also recognized this year in both the Faculty of Technology and the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.

The Bielefeld University Society has awarded its dissertation prizes since 1983. Each prizewinner is awarded 1,000 Euros, which is funded by individuals as well as renowned companies from the region of Ostwestfalen-Lippe.