Hannah Petersen Selected for Helmholtz Young Investigator program

In September Visiting Assistant Professor Hannah Petersen was selected by the Helmholtz Association in Germany to lead a Young Investigator Group. This program offers the possibility to young scientists within 2-6 years after having received their PhD degree to build their own research group. The funding over a 5-year period consists of a total sum of 1.25 million Euro (approximately $1.7M). The selection process is highly competitive. The candidates have to go through three rounds of interviews with presentations and external refereeing of the proposal. Only 20 awards were given in all areas of science covered by German national laboratories. Following a positive evaluation after 3-4 years the position will be continued as a permanent appointment (tenure-track). Petersen plans to develop a new theoretical description of heavy ion reactions in the future FAIR (Facility of Antiproton and Ion Research) energy regime. Since the new accelerator will be built adjacent to the current Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research (GSI) near Darmstadt, her group will be associated with GSI and positioned at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS). The Goethe University in Frankfurt will provide opportunities to teach and attract graduate students. It will also provide for a stimulating environment with the existing Helmholtz International Centre for FAIR that is part of the academic excellence initiative in the state of Hessen. Petersen's experience as a postdoc and Visiting Assistant Professor in the nuclear theory group at Duke will help her succeed in this new challenge. She will start the new position in Germany in Fall 2012.