RWTH Podcast “Krautnah” Recognized for Bringing Science to the Public




David Spencer

Doctoral Candidate


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In the 2020/21 Science Year, the regularly held German university competition was looking for excellent ideas on sharing knowledge about the bioeconomy.


David Spencer, Caspar Langenbach, and Laura Merx were honored for their Krautnah podcast – the name being a pun on the German term “hautnah,” which means to experience something up close, in this case, herbs or plants. The podcast is produced at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants at RWTH Aachen University and has now been downloaded more than 15,000 times. In 20 episodes so far, the Aachen team has interviewed experts on varied topics in plant research and breeding, agriculture, biotechnology, and sustainability.

From among the many students and early-career researchers who had developed creative and innovative communication ideas for their research topics in the bioeconomy field, the RWTH team was able to win over the jury in the 2020/21 Bioeconomy Science Year competition with their particular concept. Five projects received a certificate because they are able to communicate the social significance of their research to a broad public particularly well and also encourage social debate about their research topic.

The award was presented at the virtually held closing event of the 2020/21 Science Year by Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Professor Günter M. Ziegler from the “Science in Dialogue” steering committee.