29 June 2014

Interview with Karolina Stanislawska (winner of the Harry Otten Prize in 2013) by Tanja Cegnar (member of the Harry Otten Foundation Board)

Hello, Karolina, and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for the Harry Otten Prize web site. To start off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself

Hello Tanja. I am 27 years old and I come from Poland. My professional background is computer science, but I was also studying geosciences for some years in parallel. This was my idea for a career path, to have a good technical background and some insight into another domain that interested me and which could be a good field for potential applications. And luckily I manage to do it that way so far. Since 2009 I have been working at various R&D projects, such as estimation of real-time people movements in the city of Amsterdam based on mobile phone activity, or development of software to enhance point weather forecasts in complex terrain in Iceland. I was also employed as a researcher in the Finnish Meteorological Institute, where one of my most interesting experiences was working on a code for automated measurements at a remote station in Finnish Lapland. Currently I am based in Wroclaw, Poland and I do a remote work for the aforementioned employers in Iceland (where I continue my previous work) and in Finland where I do my own project of implementing bio-inspired computing (genetic programming, which was my specialty within computer science) to modeling some processes in the Arctic. After I won the prize, I got also involved in a short-term project at MeteoGroup to estimate social media answer to certain weather events. 

When and why did you develop the idea of using social media in meteorology? 

The idea appeared several months before I heard about the Harry Otten Prize. In fact it was a combination of all pieces of my professional experience. I was a programmer working at a meteorological institute in Helsinki, but only several months earlier I took part in a research on the role of social media in detecting extraordinary events in the Netherlands. All those areas were very appealing, however they were completely unrelated. As I was at that time thinking a lot about my career path, combining everything that was interesting to me was the “ideal case”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for the further course of events) I didn't find anyone who was doing this type of research. 

What made you decide to apply for the Harry Otten Prize? 

I found the announcement about the prize on my work email. I had not taken part in any competition for many years and around that time some of my friends have been successful in some of their domains. That made me think I should maybe also try, to see how such a competition goes. After seeing the “example ideas” on HOP website, I wasn't really convinced that my idea is something that could go through the first round, but I tried not to think about it and just write down my thoughts. 

What does this prize mean for you? 

Choosing a “unique” career such as I chose sometimes puts you into doubt, making you feel that you don't really fit to any ”standard” workplace. You feel for yourself that what you do is good, but as there are no people who go this way, it is hard to find a job that would really satisfy you. Being granted the prize made me understand that the path I took makes sense and convinced me again that I shouldn't be abandoning it. After all, I prefer the adventure rather than sitting in the same office for 20 years! 

What tips would you give other potential applicants thinking of entering the competition? 

I would like to especially encourage non-meteorologists who see some solution from their field which can be applied to meteorology. This is how we can make the science go forward, by paying more attention to convergence of different domains and seeking solutions where they were never sought before. And besides that, I would like to encourage everyone to stop thinking that their idea isn't good enough. Don't worry if no one from your surroundings sees a point in it. It is probably because it is just something that nobody thought of before! The more ideas we have, the more interesting the competition becomes and even if your idea isn't the winning one, you get a lot of feedback that might give you more courage to implement your idea in the future. 

If it is not a secret, what have you done with the award? 

It is still with me. I decided to invest it in self development, but I was too busy with regular work last months and I didn't have time to plan anything concrete. 

What are you looking for in terms of career development? Anything else you want to say? 

As always, I am looking for more of interesting projects where I can share my experience and learn new things. After combining social media and meteorology, now it is the time to combine Arctic weather research and bio-inspired computing. Let's see what comes next - I am open to everything new, innovative and never-done-before! 

(Karolina may be contacted by e-mail at karolina.stanislawska@gmail.com)

23 June 2014

Harry Otten Prize at the Meteorological Technology World Expo

During the Meteorological Technology World Expo 21-23 October 2014 in Brussels, information about the Harry Otten Prize can be found in stand 6025 which is next to the meeting point. In this stand flyers and application forms will be available to all participants of the Expo.

The Board of the Harry Otten Prize Foundation would like to thank the organizers of the Expo for this opportunity to bring the Harry Otten Prize to the attention of the broad audience of the Expo.

23 June 2014

Welcome Leo Kroon

We are very pleased to announce that Leo Kroon has begun serving as a new Board member on 1 June 2014. Leo works for Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and is a lecturer in meteorology of the Meteorology and Air Quality department. He recently finished his service as editor-in-chief of "Meteorologica", the quarterly journal of the Dutch meteorological society NVBM (Nederlandse Vereniging voor de Bevordering van de Meteorologie), after holding this position for more than 10 years. Before that he was president of the NVBM for a period of three years.

Leo brings a broad experience with the university and forecasting communities. Leo brings financial and administrative expertise to the Board as well as extensive experience in education.


11 February 2014 Passing of Hans Reiff

The Board of the Harry Otten Foundation regrets to announce that our Chairman, Hans Reiff, passed away on 28 January, 2014 after a sudden illness.  Hans was a remarkable man and leader of the Harry Otten Foundation since its beginning in 2011.  We will miss his leadership and kind and friendly personality, and extend our very best wishes to his family and colleagues.

1 January 2014

Farewell Jill, Welcome Tanja

Due to personal circumstances, one of our founding Board Member Jill Peeters resigned from the Harry Otten Foundation Board of Directors on 31 December, 2013. Jill was a valuable link between the Board and the public broadcasting community. She was always full of enthusiasm and stimulated the Board with new ideas. As a jury member for the Harry Otten Prize, she often provided valuable and unique perspectives on the proposals being considered for the prize. The Board wishes her continued success in her career at VTM, the Flemish Commercial Television Station where she works.

We are extremely pleased to announce the new Board member, Tanja Cegnar, who will begin serving on 1 January 2014. Tanja works for the Slovenian Environment Agency, which incorporates also the Slovenian Meteorological Office. She presents the weather at the national television station in Slovenia. For many years she has coordinated the activities of the media team of the European Meteorological Society. She brings wide experience with the environmental and weather forecasting and broadcasting communities, and she will help the Board with the publicity that needs to be generated for the prize.

11 September 2013

Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology awarded for the first time

Idea to use “Social media for meteorological prediction and information” receives 25,000 Euro

The Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology has been awarded for the first time during the Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society currently taking place in Reading (UK). Harry Otten announced that the jury has decided that Karolina Stanisławska with her idea “Social media for meteorological prediction and information” has won the prize which is endowed with 25,000 Euro.

The idea “Social media for meteorological prediction and information” proposed by Karolina Stanisławska is about constructing a meteorological system based on the information extracted exclusively from social media content. The system would be a service providing crowdsourced information about actual weather conditions, identification of hazardous weather events and reaction of people to weather information.

Karolina was born in Poland and graduated in computer science at the Poznań University of Technology in 2011. She is currently working as a researcher in climate modelling and greenhouse gases topics for the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and as a programmer for improving point forecasts for Institute of Meteorological Research (IMR) in Iceland.

The winner of the prize has been selected out of three finalists. The other two finalists received 2,500 Euro for the following ideas:

The “Global Weather Alliance - the WeatherShare service - wxshare.org” presented by Karl H. Eggestad is a free and open video and audio clip and image material service specifically targeted for the worldwide weather broadcasting community.

“Forecasting and Mapping Ice Thickness for Ice Skating on Natural Lakes and Canals” presented by Gert-Jan Steeneveld, Bert Heusinkveld and Kevin Damman aims at improving the quantitative forecasting of ice growth and communicating this in a fast way to the general public.

Overall the jury has received 19 applications for the prize mainly from different European countries and the USA. The Harry Otten Prize is awarded every two years. More information including the full abstracts of the finalists is available on this website.

Hans Reiff, Chairman of the jury: “Karolina’s idea is highly innovative with significant potential benefits to society.  These benefits include both use of people to provide weather data and information to meteorologists through the social media as well as information on how society reacts to weather information and forecasts from meteorologists.“

Harry Otten, Founder of the Harry Otten Foundation: “I am delighted that the Prize has been awarded to such an innovative proposal. I hope that the Prize helps to put her idea into practice.“

Pictures from the EMS Annual Meeting 2013 - Awards Ceremony

Harry Otten and the winner of the Harry Otten Prize 2013, Karolina Stanislawska
Harry Otten introducing the ideas of the three finalists
The three finalists, Karolina Stanislawska, Karl Eggestad and Gert-Jan Steeneveld together with Harry Otten

11 June 2013

The jury has selected the finalists for the 2013 prize round. They will present their idea at the Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society (EMS) on 10th of September 2013 in Reading. There will be a special session for these presentations at 16.30 in room 102. The finalists are:

  • KH Eggestad: Global Weather Alliance - the WeatherShare service - wxshare.org (Abstract)
  • K Stanisławska: Social media for meteorological prediction and information (Abstract)
  • GJ Steeneveld, B Heusinkveld, and K Damman: Forecasting and Mapping Ice Thickness for Ice Skating on Natural Lakes and Canals (Abstract)

After the presentations the jury will make a decision about the prize winner. The prize will be handed over during the awards ceremony of the EMS Meeting on 11 September 2013. 


10 March 2013

The submission deadline to send applications for the 2013 Harry Otten Prize has passed on March 15th 2013. The jury thanks all participants and is now evaluating the proposals. For more information about the further steps please consult the timeline.

15 October 2012

Applications to win the price can now be sent through this website. The application form will be available until 10 March 2013.

12 September 2012

At the EMS Annual Meeting in Lodz it was announced that the jury decided to have no prize winner this round. However, there were two honorable mentions and a presentation on what the jury understands as innovative ideas.

Pictures from the EMS Annual Meeting 2012 - Awards Ceremony

Chairman Hans Reiff introducing the Harry Otten Prize
Harry Otten presenting the Honorary Mentions
Vice Chairman Richard Anthes talking about innovation and guidance for applications.

15 January 2012

The submission deadline to file applications for the Harry Otten Prize has passed on January 15th 2012. Within four months 12 applications were received. The jury thanks all participants and is now evaluating the proposals.

15 September 2011

Applications to win the price can now be sent through this website. The application form will be available until 15 January 2012.

12 September 2011

The Harry Otten Prize is introduced within the Opening Ceremony of the ECAM / EMS 2011 conference in Berlin by Hans Reiff, chairman of the board of the Harry Otten Foundation. You can see the introduction in a video stream, starting at 1:30.

19 June 2011

The final rules of contest and guidance of which ideas could won the prize have been published on the website. Applications are possible from September 2011 onwards.

13 May 2011

During the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Meteo Consult and the retirement of Harry Otten the Foundation and the Harry Otten Prize were announced.

12 May 2011

The board of the Harry Otten Foundation has met in Wageningen, The Netherlands for its first meeting. Many decisions have been made about the detailed rules of partipication.