Dr Addisu Fekadu wins Josef G Knoll European Science Award 2020


The Foundation Fiat Panis in its 12th August, 2020, press release issued at Ulm, Germany, stated that its biennial Josef G Knoll European Science Award 2020 is awarded to 3 praiseworthy researchers, AMU’s researcher and lecturer, Dr Addisu Fekadu, who did PhD from KU Keuven, Belgium; followed by Zambian Dr Thomas Daum, University of Hohenheim and Dr Arndt Feuerbacher of Humboldt University of Berlin.

The award carries a citation and cash prize of € 10,000 each that will be conferred on all winners in a ceremony to be held at University of Hohenheim on September 9, 2020. On the occasion, along with two other winners, Dr Addisu will be sharing his two most important results of research work to the award jury and audience that made great contribution to food security in Ethiopia.

Dr Addisu Fekadu’s PhD thesis – ‘‘Optimization of Enset fermentation: Physicochemical and microbial dynamics and development of starter cultures’’ has been adjudged best in Europe. His research on Enset has the microbiological processes during the fermentation that will make a significant contribution to food security is a great example of how science can improve in Ethiopia, the diet of the rural population, the press release further stated.

Other 2 winners, a Zambian, Dr Thomas Daum, University of Hohenheim and German scholar, Dr Arndt Feuerbacher of Humboldt University of Berlin, were awarded for their path-breaking PhD thesis such as ‘‘The potential of Smartphone apps to collect self-recorded data in agricultural households’’ & ‘‘Economy-wide modeling of seasonal labor and natural resource policies” which termed as most innovative that are to make great contributions in the lives of poor population of respective study areas.

Reacting to this award the winner, Dr Addisu Fekadu, said, actually, I was recommended by my Belgium promoter, Prof. Leen Vamcampenhout and other members of KU Leuven where I did PhD in Engineering Technology in 2019, to apply for this award and I applied and forthwith I received the notification about my selection from Fiat Panis Foundation as being one of the winners for 2020 that literally floored me.

And having been declared winner of this prestigious received; I am flooded with congratulatory messages from all across. Especially, my Belgium promoter and other at KU Leuven lauded my research ability and congratulated for the same. My heart goes to members of KU Leuven’s Lab4food Team who have had lion’s share in my achievement, Dr Addisu exclaimed.

Responding to this recognition, he said, ‘‘I am humbled and feel absolutely proud of it for it will encourage my other colleagues in Arba Minch University.’’ He also attributed the credit of his success to the people of Gamo highland in Ethiopia for their contribution as they were part of his research that was conducted in his country.

AMU President, Dr Damtew Darza, vice presidents and entire AMU community shower their blessings upon the winner; his parents are also overwhelmed with this amazing acknowledgment of his researching ability and intent for the welfare of poor people.

His future plan is first to finalize ongoing PhD research on Enset processing technology and would like to go for post-doctoral studies which probably will be on value addition to Enset food products in Belgium. Later he is also planning to invent the technology that will hasten injeera’s dilatory fermentation process (3days) and curtail it down to 2 to 3 hours for the general mass, he added.

Fiat Panis Foundation, a non-profit organization funds research endeavors; it initiates and promotes innovative research projects in university-based agricultural and nutritional research that are suitable for contributing to improving the nutritional situation in the southern hemisphere and alleviating effects of hunger and poverty. It also supports young academics who are dealing with the solution for hunger.

Named after Professor Dr Josef G Knoll, the pioneer of developing countries related agricultural science in Germany, the prize is worth a maximum of € 30,000 that’s divided among at the most three winners (at least € 10,000 per winner.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)