ASciNA Chapter Updates

Bridges vol. 41, October 2014 / ASciNA Chapter Updates

2014 ASciNA Awards  

The Austrian Scientists and Scholars in Northern America (ASciNA) and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research (BMWFW) presented the 2014 ASciNA Awards to Sonja Schmid, Mariella Gruber-Filbin and Simon Gröblacher. These prizes – €10.000 for the "Young Principal Investigator" and €7.500 for the "Young Scientists"– were awarded to scientists for outstanding publications within the last 12 months at North American research facilities in the two categories of "Young Principal Investigator" and "Young Scientist." This year awards went to three scientists who have worked for many years in North America and have had work presented in numerous publications. The award was presented by the Ministry of Science, Research and Economics on October 11, 2014 following OSTA's "Austrian Research and Innovation Talk" in Boston.

In the category "Young Principal Investigator" Sonja Schmid, Assistant Professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VirginiaTech), was recognized for her upcoming book through MIT Press, "The Pre-History of the Soviet Chernobyl Nuclear Industry." A graduate of Vienna University and Cornell University, researcher Sonja Schmid has spent the last 6 years in the Washington DC area at the VirginiaTech Department of Science and Technology in Society. Her research focuses on science and technology policy, risk analysis, energy policy and nuclear proliferation.

In the category "Young Scientist" Mariella Gruber-Filbin and Simon Gröblacher both received honors. Mariella Gruber-Filbin, a Post-Doc at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, received her doctorate in 2004 sub auspiciis praesidentis at the Medical University Graz. Her research on brain tumors has already led to an international multi-center study and could represent a breakthrough in the treatment of malignant tumors in children and adults. Simon Gröblacher was formerly a Post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and will compete in the Netherlands in November as an assistant professor at the University of Delft. A graduate of the University of Vienna, he has worked with quantum optomechanics and published in Nature on the subject of "squeezed light" opening up new possibilities for precise optical tools. 


This past summer, the ASciNA Greater Boston members met for a Sommerfest in July and held a lecture by Lukas Landegger in September to discuss his work as a researcher in the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. The chapter is also gearing up for the October Austrian Researchers and Innovators Talk (ARIT) meeting in Boston. The group meets the second Thursday of every month for a brief lecture from one of the participating members about his or her work.

Washington, DC

ASciNA DC members will gather on October 2 at 7 p.m. to hear Hanna Knaus’s lecture on Novel Therapeutic Strategies for Acute Leukemia – Beyond Chemotherapy. In addition to that program, the chapter meets the first Tuesday of every month for a lunch social. Past events from the summer included the ASciNA Greater DC BBQ and visit to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

For more information on chapter events, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America (ASciNA) is an independent association established in 2002 with local chapters founded throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. ASciNA aims to support Austrian scientists and researchers in North America as well as Austrians who have returned from North America to Austria or Germany.