Competition: Best teaching staff honoured

German Maritime Centre awards prizes for "Outstanding Academic Maritime Teaching”
27 September 2022

We received 52 nominations from students in academic maritime programmes for lecturers and professors who deliver particularly good academic maritime teaching. The three winners were selected by a jury and the prizes were presented yesterday evening by Claus Brandt, managing director of the German Maritime Centre, at the renowned Bremen Shipping Congress. Seven of the students accepted the invitation to attend the award ceremony.

“With the award, the German Maritime Centre wants to increase the visibility of the maritime industry and honour lecturers. The commitment of the lecturers is crucial, and there are a lot of them, as the many submissions show,” said Claus Brandt at the award ceremony in the Audimax theatre at Bremen University of Applied Sciences’ Flughafendamm campus.

In her video message, Susanne Bowen, state secretary in the Ministry of Science, Culture, Federal and European Affairs of the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, said: “In view of demographic changes and international competition, the maritime industry in Germany is facing major challenges in training qualified skilled workers. Teaching is therefore an elementary factor for the maritime sector and to ensure innovation and competitiveness as well as growth and employment.”

The jury consisted of representatives of the Permanent Working Group of the Coastal States for Maritime Education (StAK) and Claus Brandt from the German Maritime Centre.

In their speeches, the members of the jury emphasised that the task of making a good and reasonable selection of award winners from the considerable number of nominations was a lovely but difficult one. It was a lovely task, because on the one hand, it was a pleasure to see how many committed and innovative teachers are active at all participating teaching locations. And it was difficult, because this very fact did not always make it easy to decide on a final selection. Especially at a time of skilled worker shortages, dedicated role models are needed to attract young people to a future in a maritime occupation across the boundaries of gender and social background.

Prof. Dr. Ilknur Colmorn was awarded 1st prize. She is professor of maritime navigation and digitalisation and lecturer and head of the Ship Management – Nautical Sciences programme at Bremen University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Nature and Technology. After graduating from university, she went to sea as a first officer. For her, choosing nautical science was the best decision of her life. “Shipping is what holds the world economy together at its core. For this, we need well-trained navigators now and in the future. Our programme is the only one that is taught in English. It’s truly international.”

In his laudatory speech, Kristian Josteit (Department 21 – Universities at the Senator for Science and Ports of the Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen) explained the jury’s selection. They were extremely impressed by the award winner’s career and by her scientific and practical expertise, which the students had made very clear in their nominations. They wrote: “Professor Colmorn has succeeded in distinguishing herself as a great lecturer and programme director, despite her male-dominated field, due to her great skills, will and professionalism. She is very committed to her students, is available to answer any questions and is always willing to help.

The 2nd prize went to Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Rasmus Brandt, Flensburg University of Applied Sciences, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering and Maritime Technologies, Ship Technology.   Brandt went to sea for a long time and often worked with young people in education and training during that time. He says: “I see students as colleagues of the future. The special thing about the profession of captain or chief engineer is keeping a complex ship under control and managing a structure consisting of technology and crew members. Training on one of the most modern ship simulators in Europe is an excellent basis for a professional future.”

Dr Sigrid Meyer (Department of Shipping at the Ministry of Economics and Innovation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg) conveyed the jury’s congratulations. They were very impressed by the combination of practice and teaching and the professional and emphatic transmission of these to the students. Brandt’s students say: “Mr Brandt is a real asset to the degree programme. He has himself worked in many different and interesting areas of shipping and studied at Flensburg, like us. As a result, he meets the students on an equal footing and only imparts knowledge that is relevant to practice, which will also help you in your later professional life on board.”

The 3rd prize was awarded to Daniel-André Dücker, research assistant at the Institute of Mechanics and Marine Technology at Hamburg University of Technology (TU Hamburg).  The scientist lectures and researches in the field of mobile underwater robotics. He wants to inspire young scientists to enter the maritime sector: “We fly to the moon and other planets, but underwater life, many thousands of metres below the earth, is largely unexplored. This offers the opportunity for many exciting experiments.”

In the jury’s statement, Christoph Schiene (head of the Department of Higher Education Development, Quality Assurance, Teacher Training in the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture) said they were very impressed by the award winner’s commitment, which shows that there is no need to worry about the next generation of academics in this field. He succeeds in getting the students excited about underwater technology and robotics and motivating them intensively. His students say about him: “Daniel-André Dücker and his team offer an exciting and varied course on current topics with direct practical relevance. Varied with multi-faceted and exciting tasks; with experiments on topics such as underwater localisation, for which the participants had to find their own solutions and try them out.”

The nominations came from ten universities in the federal states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Press contact:
Dr. Regine Klose-Wolf
Head of Communications
+49 40 9999 698 -51
+49 1590 189 1929

Short films (in German) were made about the award winners, which you can watch on our YouTube channel.

Pictures: © Ann Gabrysch

From left to right: Daniel-André Dücker (TU Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Ilknur Colmorn (HS Bremen), Rasmus Brandt (HS Flensburg), Claus Brandt (German Maritime Centre)

The award winners (centre) with the laudators Dr. Sigrid Meyer, Christoph Schiene, Kristian Josteit (right) and Claus Brandt (left) as well as the winners of the tickets raffled among the participating students.