More than 20 experienced people from journalism, data science and project management form our team. Together we work for our goal: as an intermediary between science and journalism for strong and competent science journalism for the benefit of our society.
- Volker Stollorz has been managing director of SMC since its foundation in 2015.
- Marleen Halbach is the editorial director. Meik Bittkowski heads Research and Development at the SMC and has power of attorney.
- Our place of work and editorial office is Cologne. The non-profit organisation is based in Heidelberg.
- We work internationally together with our partner SMCs. We are all united by a charter. Each SMC works independently and has its own country-specific focus.
- Our work is made possible financially by the two shareholders and other sponsors. They have all guaranteed journalistic independence in our charter.
- A supervisory board controls and advises the SMC, an interdisciplinary advisory board supports the SMC with expertise.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-125C.V.
Volker Stollorz is the managing director of SMC. A passionate science journalist, he has been reporting at the sometimes difficult interface between science and society since 1991. After studying biology and philosophy at the University of Cologne and the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, Volker was involved in the launch of three science desks first-hand (ZEIT, Die Woche, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung). He is a long-standing member of the Association of German Science Journalists, WPK, and has won multiple awards for his print, online and radio reports.
Dr. Meik Bittkowski
Head of Research and Development
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-142C.V.
Meik Bittkowski is the project manager for research & development at SMC with special responsibility for the SMC Lab. He previously worked for Münster University Library as a digital services specialist and was involved in data journalism projects as a research assistant in the Scientific Databases and Visualization group at Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies. Meik studied philosophy and German in Oldenburg and Heidelberg as well as computer science at FernUniversität Hagen. He obtained his Ph.D. in Heidelberg with a dissertation on Robert Kane’s Natural Libertarianism.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-123C.V.
Marleen Halbach is the chief editor at SMC. After a degree in biology at the University of Hamburg, she studied science journalism at the TU Dortmund University. In this context she volunteered at SMC and worked as an editor for medicine and life sciences. Since June 2020 she has been managing the editorial office. As part of her training, she also worked as an intern at Deutschlandfunk in the editorial department Forschung aktuell and at Radio Wien, ORF in Austria. In 2021, she received a special prize from the Georg von Holtzbrinck Prize for Science Journalism on behalf of the editorial team.
Leiter strategische Entwicklung
Telefon: +49 221 888825-121C.V.
Franco Zotta verantwortet die Strategieentwicklung im SMC. Seit 2003 hat er in diversen Stiftungsprojekten Aus- und Weiterbildungsprogramme für Wissenschaftsjournalisten konzipiert und in der Zeit die wissenschaftsjournalistische Fachkonferenz "WissensWerte" entwickelt und etabliert. Vor dem Wechsel zum SMC war er Geschäftsführer der Wissenschaftspressekonferenz (WPK). Franco Zotta hat Philosophie in Münster studiert und bei der tageszeitung (taz) in Bremen volontiert und dort einige Jahre als Kulturredakteur gearbeitet.
Assistenz der Geschäftsführung
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-120C.V.
Martina Thomas ist als Assistenz der Geschäftsführung und für die Administration zuständig. Sie blickt zurück auf viel Erfahrung im Backoffice- & Assistenz Bereich und in der Projektarbeit. Sie hat sowohl in der freien Wirtschaft, im gemeinnützigen Bereich als auch im Öffentlichen Dienst gearbeitet.
Project Manager Software Development and DevOps
Telefon: +49 221 888825-141C.V.
Hendrik Adam works as a project manager for software development and DevOps for the SMC Lab. Already during his studies of applied information sciences at the Technical University of Cologne, he worked in a cooperation project between the TH Köln and the SMC and wrote his bachelor thesis on ways to improve the extraction of information from heterogeneous data. Previously, he worked in the field of IT security and IT forensics and supported companies in resolving IT security incidents.
Dr. Bernhard Armingeon
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-147C.V.
Bernhard Armingeon works as a software developer for the SMC Lab. He studied mathematics with a minor in philosophy and economics and worked as a student trainee at an IT consulting company. As a research assistant in the Algorithmic Geometry department at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, he developed algorithms for analysing motion data and received his PhD in summer 2020.
Laura Bahamón Jiménez
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-146C.V.
Laura Bahamón Jiménez works as a software developer for the SMC Lab. She studied economics at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn. In her Master's thesis, she proposed a random forest regression as an alternative targeting method of conditional cash transfer programmes and showed for the Colombian case that it is superior to the usual method. In the last year of her Master's degree, she worked as an assistant at the Fraunhofer Institute FIT in the area of microsimulation models.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-124C.V.
Hendrik Boldt is a visiting scientist at the TU Dortmund University and works in the SMC editorial office. There he is investigating the question of what science journalism in the humanities and social sciences might look like. Previously, he studied philosophy and economics in Bayreuth, as well as environmental economics at CAU Kiel. During his studies, he was at the SMC for an internship and wrote as a freelancer for the meta-magazine of the Science Press Conference.
Dr. Annegret Burkert
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-127C.V.
Annegret Burkert is the SMC's editor for medicine and life sciences. Following her biology studies at RWTH Aachen University, she completed her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne in the field of plant-microbe interaction/plant genetics, which was followed by several years of post-doctoral work in the same research area. In 2017, she switched to science communication and was in charge of press and public relations for the Max Planck Institutes for Biology of Ageing and for Metabolism Research for one and a half years.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-140C.V.
Lutz Dreesbach is a member of SMC’s scientific staff, working in the field of data science/Big Data (SMC Lab). He studied sociology, empirical social research and politics at the University of Cologne. As an undergraduate he worked, amongst others, for the WDR news desk, later becoming a free-lancer for the ARD Press Club. Most recently, he was employed by Deutsche Welle in Bonn as a web analyst in the Marketing and Media Research Department.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-128C.V.
Sönke Gäthke is a science editor for energy and technology at SMC. He started working as a journalist in 1995, initially in local radio and later as a science journalist for DLF, WDR, the BBC and the Economist. The role of social responsibility in science is his passion; his special interests include energy, transport, technology, digitisation and society. He prides himself on maintaining an independent approach and is fascinated by interconnections and historical lines of development. He has received numerous awards for his radio programmes, including the “UmweltMedienpreis” (Environmental Media Prize), awarded by the Deutsche Umwelthilfe, and the “Ernst-Schneider-Preis”, which is a journalism prize awarded by the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-148C.V.
Karin Hoehne works as a software developer for the SMC Lab. After completing her Industrial Design studies at the Bergische Universität - Gesamthochschule Wuppertal, she worked for several years in the private sector with a main focus on Internet technologies. During further studies in information processing, computer science and psychology at the University of Cologne, she worked as a research assistant for research projects with a focus on semantic data models. Following on from this, her subsequent activities in the private sector focused on issues relating to data engineering/data science, knowledge graphs and machine learning (AI).
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-133C.V.
Veronika Fritz ist beim SMC Redakteurin für Energie und Mobilität. Sie studierte Wissenschaftsjournalismus mit dem Schwerpunkt Physik an der TU Dortmund und volontierte in dem Rahmen beim RBB. Dort durchlief sie verschiedene Hörfunk-, Fernseh- und Onlineredaktionen. Beim anschließenden Geographie Studium in Augsburg beschäftigte sie sich mit aktuellen Konfliktthemen aus natur- und gesellschaftswissenschaftlicher Perspektive. Nebenbei arbeitete sie als freie Journalistin für die Sendung „Forschung aktuell“ des Deutschlandfunks und das Datenteam von Zeit Online.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-132C.V.
Philipp Jacobs is SMC's editor for medicine and life sciences. Born in Mönchengladbach, he moved to Cologne after graduating from high school. There he studied media communication and journalism. Before, after and admittedly also during his lectures, he wrote for the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger", a pharmacy newspaper and for the "Rheinische Post", where he also worked as a trainee. Most recently, he was deputy desk manager there. Before that, he was editor in the politics department for five years. His main topics were health policy and the Netherlands. As a fellow of the International Journalism Programmes (IJP), he worked for the Dutch daily newspaper "NRC Handelsblad" in Amsterdam and completed the German-Turkish Tandem Journalism Fellowship. He also completed the Digital Journalism Fellowship at the Hamburg Media School.
SMC Lab editorial staff-member
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-144C.V.
Lars Koppers works as a data scientist in the SMC Lab and is the contact person for data journalism there. He studied statistics with a focus on biometrics in Dortmund and subsequently conducted research on large media corpora as a research assistant at the "Dortmund Center for Data-Based Media Analysis". This was followed by three years as a KIT guest researcher at SMC. The focus here was on the development of a recommender system for preprint servers and the development of data-based reports for the SMC.
Iris Proff is SMC's editor for climate and environment. She studied cognitive science in Osnabrück and Amsterdam and worked during and after her studies as a freelance science journalist, among others for Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Perspective Daily, Tagesspiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung. She devoted herself especially to topics from brain research, psychology and artificial intelligence and increasingly dealt with developments in climate and environmental research. On the side, she worked in science communication at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-135C.V.
Charlotte Walther ist beim SMC Redakteurin für Medizin und Lebenswissenschaften. Sie studierte Psychologie in Gießen und Köln und arbeitete während des Masters als wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft am Lehrstuhl Sozial- und Medienpsychologie. Während dieser Zeit forschte sie im Bereich der Wissenschaftskommunikation, schrieb ihre Masterarbeit über die Vermittlung psychologischer Inhalte und absolvierte ein Praktikum beim SMC.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-134C.V.
Sophia Stölting works as an assistant editor at the Science Media Center. She previously studied science journalism at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences and science - media - communication at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. For editorial internships, she moved to Norway and Australia, among other places. Most recently, she worked on a campaign against plastic pollution in Ghana.
Camillo Sulzer works as a software developer in the SMC Lab. Already during his studies he was involved in a cooperation project with the TH Cologne and completed his practical semester at SMC. In his bachelor thesis, he dealt with the disambiguation of author names.
Yannik Venohr works as a software developer in the SMC Lab. He completed his geoscientific studies at RWTH Aachen University with a bachelor's thesis on geophysical modelling with Python. During his subsequent mathematical undergraduate studies, he worked as a software developer at the Chair of Freight Transport and Transport Logistics in Wuppertal. Among other things, he worked on the use of machine learning in mobility research and developed data visualisation tools for the BMDV. He is currently studying for a Master of Education with the subject combination mathematics and geography.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-122C.V.
Silvio Wenzel is a science editor for the environment and climate at SMC. He previously spent 13 years working freelance as a television science journalist, mostly writing for the WDR science programmes Quarks & Co., nano and Planet Wissen. Together with his colleagues in a team of writers, he won the Ludwig Bölkow Journalism Award and the ALEX Media Award for individual episodes of Quarks. He holds a degree in chemistry.
Telefon: +49 221 8888 25-126C.V.
Bastian Zimmermann works for the SMC as editor for all topics concerning technology and the digital world. During his time as a student of media studies at the University of Paderborn, he completed internships at the WissensWerte project office in Dortmund and the SMC. Since mid-2017, he has worked as a student assistant at the SMC, since the end of 2019 as an editor. He wrote his master's thesis on the use of propaganda in the Vietnam and Iraq wars.