From left: Wolfgang Hoderlein, President of the Regional Government of Upper Franconia and Chairman of the Oberfrankenstiftung (Upper Franconian Foundation) Wilhelm Wenning, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans-Peter Blossfeld, Erika Blossfeld, Dr. Günther Denzler, Andreas Starke, Green-Party Councilor and Member of Regional Authority Council Ulrike Heucken, and in the mirror: Eckhard Wiltsch, Executive Director of the Oberfrankenstiftung.
On December 14, 2012, the presentation of the Silver Medal of Honor of Upper Franconia to Professor Blossfeld took place in the old town hall’s Rococo room in Bamberg. Hosting the event, Mayor Andreas Starke welcomed Professor Blossfeld and his family as well as honoring guests from the fields of politics and science. The President of the Regional Authority of Upper Franconia, Dr. Günther Denzler, acknowledged Professor Blossfeld’s achievements in social science research and, especially, his role as a driving force for promoting Bamberg as a center of science and as Principal Investigator of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS).
NEPS: The currently largest social science project in Germany could only have been established in Bamberg because of the extremely rare connection of excellent intercommunication and outstanding scientific expertise embodied by Professor Blossfeld. In his words of thanks, Professor Blossfeld emphasized the importance of his colleagues in the establishment and continuity of NEPS and, furthermore, confessed his love for Upper Franconia of meanwhile 30 years, which had started with his attendance at the German Sociologists’ Annual Conference in Bamberg on the crisis of the labor society in 1982.
In spite of sharing the enthusiasm regarding the meaning of the NEPS throughout the scientific community, Member of the Regional Authority Council and Group Chairman Wolfgang Hoderlein who, alongside Mayor Starke had recommended Professor Blossfeld for this award, criticized the rather limited visibility of NEPS as a “beacon” among the general public, and particularly the public perception directly here in Bamberg.
With first results being generated from NEPS data that have recently been released in three Scientific Use Files – that is, data made available for scientific use to the entire scientific community – this visibility is clearly going to increase.