First Prize for outstanding Science Communication

Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (idw) honours the best scientific press releases of the past year.

May 08, 2024

The jury for the idw Prize for Science Communication has declared that the best press release of the year 2023 was produced by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. The Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry was instrumental in the success that resulted in Mainz and Jena achieving first place with the press release "Afrikanischer Rauch über dem Amazonas” (African Smoke over the Amazon).

The Informationsdienst Wissenschaft prize recognizes press releases that demonstrate high craftsmanship, possess outstanding news value, and are scientifically relevant.

Jury member Magdalena Schaeffer (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) praises the release: "The headline and summary are concise, clearly convey the topic, and arouse curiosity. The main text is written in a clear and vivid manner. The description of the research process is rounded off with a view to future research questions."

Jury member Eva Stanzl (Wiener Tageszeitung) judges: "This press release has all the ingredients for a good science story, and is also clearly formulated: a fascinating but logical situation, which is brought to the point with all relevant information in the first paragraph before the background is explained in the second paragraph, followed by the uniqueness of the study approach, the method, the general relevance, and the benefits."

Susanne Benner, Head of Communication at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, comments on the win: "While the award is formally presented to Mainz, its recognition is equally merited by those in Jena and Munich. This achievement was the result of a collaborative effort, involving Iris Möbius from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and Peter Hergersberg from the Max Planck Society.”

Benner extends special gratitude to Dr. Bruna Holanda. Serving as the lead author of the paper published in "Nature Communications," the researcher carried out her remarkable research in part at the ATTO research station located in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.

Iris Möbius, Press and Public Relations Officer at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, is delighted with the jury's recognition as a career changer in science communication: "The award motivates me even more to continue on this path. And the demands for good science communication, especially in the field of climate research, will become more important in the future."

In total, 99 press offices submitted their press releases. Saarland University convinced the jury with "Das war wohl nix mit Generation X” (Probably not true for Generation X: Sociologist refutes popular assumptions about generations) and took second place. The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology e.V. Hans Knöll Institute was awarded third place with the announcement “Forschende erwecken Steinzeit-Moleküle wieder zum “Leben” (Researchers bring Stone Age molecules back to life.).

The Informationsdienst Wissenschaft distributes around 20,000 press releases annually from all fields of science. The idw places great value on quality. Therefore, since 2009, it has annually awarded the best quality press releases with the idw Prize.

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