Honorary award

Since 2010, ATSAF has been awarding a non-monetary Award for life’s work: “Veronica atsafii”.

This prize is awarded in recognition of the longstanding commitment to development-oriented agricultural research and, in particular, the outstanding commitment to the training and enthusiasm of young scientists.

The award is given to outstanding personalities who, despite their great commitment, have not typically been in the spotlight, but have rather worked ‘in the background’.


Thomas Hilger
From his doctorate in Gießen in 1991 until his retirement in 2021, Thomas Hilger worked in the “Tropical Crop Production” department at the University of Hohenheim. In addition to his secret passion “neglected crops” with special focus on “Acrocomia”, Thomas was particularly committed to the training of young scientists in the field of “development-oriented agricultural research”. In numerous projects in East and West Africa, Brazil, Thailand, Sumatra, and Vietnam, he was always involved in multinational and multidisciplinary teams, thus contributing to international understanding and the world view of young scientists in addition to scientific advancement. ATSAF e.V. honors his lifelong commitment to the next generation in development-oriented agricultural research.


Susanne Hermes
worked as coordinator of the international study program “Agricultural Sciences and Resource Conservation in the Tropics and Subtropics – ARTS” at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn until her retirement. ATSAF e.V. honors her with the Honorary Award for her special and long-standing commitment to international understanding and her outstanding dedication to the education and enthusiasm of young scientists.


Dr. Ann Waters-Bayer
is a Canadian-Dutch agricultural sociologist who is senior advisor to the international Prolinnova network promoting local innovation and farmer-led participatory research. In the 1980s, she worked as sociologist with the International Livestock Centre for Africa in Nigeria and with the German Institute for Tropical & Subtropical Agriculture (DITSL). From 1989–2014 she worked with ETC Foundation (Netherlands), initially with ILEIA (Information centre for Low-External-Input & sustainable Agriculture) and then with several programmes and networks facilitating participatory agricultural research and development to enhance local innovative capacities, e.g. Indigenous Soil & Water Conservation (ISWC), Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture (JOLISAA) and Prolinnova. With this honorary award, ATSAF e.V. honours her many years of commitment to development-oriented agricultural research – in particular her outstanding commitment to the equal involvement of smallholders in research projects as well as to the promotion of young scientists and international networking.


Marlene Diekmann

PD Dr. Marlene Diekmann
PhD and Habilitation in Plant Protection from the University of Bonn. After working abroad for ICARDA in Syria for many years, from 1999 to 2015 she was a consultant in the Advisory Service on Agricultural Research for Development (BEAF) at giz in Bonn, where she was mainly responsible for CGIAR’s technical strategy consulting according to development policy criteria and for promoting young talent (interns, diploma and doctoral students). From 2002 to 2015 she was a member of the steering committee of ATSAF e.V. With this honorary award, ATSAF honors Ms. Diekmann’s outstanding commitment in many areas of promoting young researchers and for networking German universities and research institutes with the CGIAR Centers, which has resulted in a wide range of research opportunities and career paths for young scientists.

 Veronica atsafii 2017

Dr. Diethard Mai†
Formerly Managing Director of the Tropenzentrum of the University of Göttingen (1986-2003). The award honors the exceptional achievements of Mr. Diethard Mai in establishing and expanding development-oriented agricultural research and education at the University of Göttingen. At the beginning of the 1990s, he was instrumental in establishing the first English-language Master’s program in Integrated Tropical Agriculture and Forestry Sciences in Germany.

Hans Hemann
Worked from 1976 to 2010 in the Department of Ecological Agricultural Sciences at the University of Kassel in Witzenhausen, since 2004 as Managing Director of the Tropenzentrums and Coordinator for International Studies. The prize honors his outstanding commitment to the enthusiasm, support and training of young scientists, his tireless support of foreign students during their study and research stays in Germany and his services to worldwide networking through international alumni work.

Dr. Holger Hindorf
Was a scientist in the seventies of the last century, most recently since 2002 academic director at the Institute for Plant Diseases at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. With this prize ATSAF e.V. honors Dr. Hindorf’s many years of commitment to development-oriented agricultural research – in particular his outstanding commitment to the training and enthusiasm of young scientists.