AvH Research Award for Excellence Chair Maria Kanakidou

Professor Maria Kanakidou – one of the Excellence Chairs at the University of Bremen – was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, with a prize of € 60,000, at the prizewinners’ symposium in Bamberg. She works at the University of Bremen together with her host Professor Mihalis Vrekoussis

Professor Kanakidou had already been selected for the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Award in 2019. It was supposed to be officially awarded in 2020. However, due to the pandemic, this event was postponed and now it has finally taken place.

Maria Kanakidou chooses the Laboratory for Modeling and Observation of the Earth System (LAMOS) for her research stays associated with the award, headed by Professor Mihalis Vrekoussis, whose laboratory is located at the Institute of Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen and works closely with the MARUM Cluster of Excellence. Mihalis Vrekoussis has also been hosting Maria Kanakidou in the University’s Excellence Chair program since 2020.

Close Cooperation with the University on Two Levels

The fact that the top researcher maintains a close relationship with the University of Bremen on two levels shows just how attractive the university is for her – recipients of the Humboldt Research Award are free to choose the institution where they carry out their research. Her presenting speech reads as follows: “Maria Kanakidou is a leading international scientist known for her cutting-edge research in atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemical cycles and climate. Her innovative studies have fostered international cooperation in research on volatile organic compounds, organic substances containing oxygen, including organic nitrates, chlorofluorocarbons, organic aerosols, and nutrients. During her stay in Germany, the prizewinner will study the effects of air pollution on the health and climate of the oceans.”

Maria Kanakidou is Professor of Computational Environmental Chemistry and Director of the Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory (ECPL) at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Crete. As an Excellence Professor at the University of Bremen, she contributes to research into climate change and environmental pollution with the aim of evaluating the effects of anthropogenic emissions on the climate and ecosystems within the earth’s system in a carbon- and nitrogen-based economy.

Together with host Professor Mihalis Vrekoussis (IUP and MARUM) and Professors John P. Burrows and Justus Notholt (both IUP) – providing satellite and ground-based remote sensing observations – Maria Kanakidou develops and uses a unique modeling framework that combines traditional and modern modeling tools with earth observation data products. In doing so, they are driving forward the optimization of estimates of surface fluxes, i.e., the emission or deposition of greenhouse gases and other climate-relevant pollutants. These are needed for the assessment of their effects on the climate and ecosystems, using earth system models.


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