Dissertation Awards

Honouring of outstanding dissertations

Leuphana University of Lüneburg confers up to five Dissertation Awards each year to honour outstanding achievements amongst former doctoral candidates at Leuphana. The Dissertation Awards recognise outstanding research work submitted and defended by doctoral candidates at one of Leuphana's five schools within one academic year. The Dissertation Awards appreciate the remarkable academic achievements of the university's academics and give the winners visible recognition for their future careers. With the support of the Leuphana Förderkreis e.V., the Leuphana Dissertation Awards are endowed with EUR 1,000 per award.

Award ceremony

Graduate Celebration 2023 ©Leuphana/Marvin Sokolis
Winners of the Dissertation Awards 2023 with President Sascha Spoun and Vice President Simone Abels, responsible for the Graduate School

The 2023 Dissertation Awards were conferred during the graduation ceremony on 25 November 2023 in the Audimax of Leuphana's central building. On this occasion, eight awards were conferred once to compensate for the corona-related postponement of the year 2022.

The award ceremony was followed by an informal get-together with representatives of the Förderkreis Leuphana Universität e.V. and the Graduate School, during which the award winners had the opportunity to give a brief thematic insight into their dissertations or research topics in a 3-minute pitch format.

Current award winners

Dr. Felix Kortmann

Leuphana University of Lüneburg confers the Leuphana Dissertation Award to Dr. Felix Kortmann for his dissertation entitled "Detecting and Assessing Road Damages for Autonomous Driving Utilizing Conventional Vehicle Sensors".

Felix Kortmann completed his doctorate at the School of Management and Technology and has made a substantial contribution to the further development of autonomous driving with his dissertation. By transferring innovative methods from the field of AI-supported image recognition to the problem of road unevenness detection, he was able to develop considerable potential for the realisation of prototypes and the further development of autonomous vehicles. With the innovative methods of his interdisciplinary doctoral project, Mr Kortmann has also attracted international attention, for example at the leading Big Data conference.

Dr. Liza Mattutat

Leuphana University of Lüneburg confers the Leuphana Dissertation Award to Dr.in Liza Mattutat for her dissertation entitled "Emanzipation und Gewalt. Feministische Rechtskritik mit Marx, Derrida und Deleuze".

Liza Mattutat completed her doctorate at the School of Culture and Society and her dissertation, which was written at the DFG Research Training Group "Cultures of Critique", makes an extraordinary contribution to new forms of critical practice in cultural studies. Ms Mattutat's excellent work, which is dedicated to the question of what implications arise from a philosophical critique of law for concrete political practice and specifically for (queer) feminist struggles, is equally impressive due to its philosophical weight and its wealth of material. It convinces through its clear structure and the cleverly thought-out pairing of concrete legal problems with critiques of the law.

Dr. Laura Medrow-Grahl

Leuphana University of Lüneburg confers the Leuphana Dissertation Award to Dr.in Laura Medrow-Grahl for her dissertation entitled "Flow und Imaginative Bildung: Exemplarische Unterrichtsstudien im Kontext kunstvermittelnder Künstlerischer Forschung".

Laura Medrow-Grahl completed her doctorate at the School of Education and her dissertation is an exceptional work on art didactics that deals with cultural studies and pedagogical-psychological theories as well as current practices in contemporary art. The combination of her own innovative teaching practice with the elaborate theoretical reflection and reconstruction testifies to the outstanding quality of the dissertation, with which Ms Medrow-Grahl makes clear the explosive nature of both the specialist discourse and the current social discussion about education and digitality.

Dr. Marie Weiß

Leuphana University of Lüneburg confers the Leuphana Dissertation Award to Dr.in Marie Weiß for her dissertation entitled "How to embed sustainability in the core of higher education institutions: Drivers of, barriers to, & patterns behind the implementation processes of sustainability curricula".

Marie Weiß completed her doctorate at the School of Sustainability. Her dissertation is positioned at the interface of sustainability science and educational science by investigating how sustainability curricula can be implemented and established in universities. With her work, Ms Weiß addresses a highly topical and relevant but previously theoretical discourse in the sustainability sciences and thus breaks new empirical ground. Through extensive empirical diligence, she creates an excellent contribution with a solution-orientated approach geared towards transdisciplinary impact.

Dr. Lars Döpking

Leuphana University of Lüneburg confers the Leuphana Dissertation Award to Dr. Lars Döpking for his dissertation entitled "Fiskalisierte Herrschaft. Transformationen des italienischen Steuerstaates, 1946-2018".

Lars Döpking completed his doctorate at the School of Culture and Society. With his dissertation, he presents an extraordinary attempt to conceptualise a "sociology of the tax state" and apply it to a historical case study using the example of Italy between 1946 and 2018. Mr Döpking's work impresses with its triad of theoretical depth, clear programme and empirical richness of detail. Based on an impressive wealth of material, the work engages in very well-founded theoretical debates and thus closes a research gap in sociology.

Dr. Sebastian Merkel

Leuphana University of Lüneburg confers the Leuphana Dissertation Award to Dr. Sebastian Merkel for his dissertation entitled "Die Kapitalgesellschaft als Verrichtungsgehilfe - Die Haftung der Muttergesellschaft für die konzernangehörige Tochtergesellschaft nach § 831 Abs. 1 BGB".

Sebastian Merkel completed his doctorate at the School of Public Affairs. His dissertation shows possibilities for a standardised classification of group companies as vicarious agents of their parent company within the meaning of § 831 BGB. Methodologically, Mr Merkel follows classical dogmatic jurisprudence, but also includes further comparative legal considerations on common law and impresses with the intellectual precision and clarity of the legal theses presented.

Dr. Isabell Tenner

Leuphana University of Lüneburg confers the Leuphana Dissertation Award to Dr.in Isabell Tenner for her dissertation entitled "Can the Crowd Save the World? An Empirical Analysis of Investment-Based Crowdfunding and Sustainability".

Isabelle Tenner completed her doctorate at the School of Sustainability. Her dissertation is characterised by a visionary approach to the potential contribution of crowdfunding as an innovative form of financing to sustainable development. Her research has already been published to an above-average extent in specialist journals and makes independent, innovative contributions to the further development of the research field. The wide variety of quantitative research methods chosen should also be emphasised, which contributes to her outstanding expertise on crowdfunding and sustainability.

Dr. Sebastian Thiery

Leuphana University of Lüneburg confers the Leuphana Dissertation Award to Dr. Sebastian Thiery for his dissertation entitled "Grundlagenanalyse der wirkmediengestützten inkrementellen Blechumformung zur konvexen Formgebung".

Sebastian Thiery completed his doctorate at the School of Management and Technology. His dissertation is an outstanding example of innovative research in engineering, in which a novel process variant of incremental sheet forming (ISF) is developed. Through a systematic design of experiments and their evaluation, Mr Thiery has succeeded in making an excellent contribution to the state of research in the field of ISF and in-depth research into its practical applicability. In doing so, Mr Thiery demonstrates a unique understanding of the underlying physical mechanisms.

Nomination and selection procedure

The nomination of persons who have defended an outstanding dissertation and completed their doctorate summa cum laude during the nomination period to be considered is carried out by the deans' offices of the schools. Nominations are based on the criteria set by the faculty associations.

The best nominations from the deans' offices form the basis for the decision to award the Leuphana Dissertation Awards. In a qualitative selection meeting between the research deans of the schools and the Vice President of the Graduate School, an agreement is reached on the conferring of the awards.


Graduate School
Dissertation Awards
Universitätsallee 1, C14
21335 Lüneburg