CV Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons


2016 Habilitation, Faculty for Physics and Geosciences, University of Leipzig, Dissertation title: Addressing the challenge of reconstructing palaeoenvironments in studies of human-environmental interactions

2003 - 2007 PhD, Quaternary Geology, Australian National University (ANU), Thesis title: The late Quaternary history of aridity in the Strzelecki and Tirari Desert dunefields, South Australia

1998 - 2002 Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Melbourne, Thesis title: The dynamics of longitudinal and transverse dunes in the Strzelecki Desert, South Australia

1998 - 2001 Diploma of Modern Languages (German), University of Melbourne

Professional Experience

Dec 2016 Max Planck Research Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany

2017 Junior Faculty, Max Planck Graduate College

2017 Associated Researcher, Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for evolutionary AnthropologyAssociated Researcher, Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for evolutionary Anthropology

2016 Privatdozentin, Institute for Geography, University of Leipzig, Germany

2010 – 2016 Junior Researcher, Luminescence dating group leader, Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

2007 – 2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, Luminescence Dating Laboratory Manager, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

2007 Research Assistant, Australian Research Council Network “OZPACS: Recent human impact on Australian ecosystems”, Research School of Physics and Engineering, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

2006 – 2007 Research Assistant, Luminescence Dating Laboratory, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

2004 Full time volunteer, Sunseed Desert Technology, Almería, Spain


2018 Hans-Bobek-Prize für Geographie, Österreichisch Geographische Gesellschaft (ÖGG), EUR 2000

2014 Albert Maucher-Preis für Geowissenschaften, DFG. EUR 10 000.

2007 Director’s Prize for Scientific Communication, Australian National University

2007 Student Travel Prize, Australasian Quaternary Association

2006 Student Award, Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Environments & Mineral Exploration

Professional Service

Speaker (elected): for Max Planck Research Group Leaders, CPT Division of the Max Planck Society (2019-2020)
Deputy Speaker
from June 2020-
Ombuswoman (elected):
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (2017-2020)
: Journal of Palaeolithic Archaeology (2017-), Quaternary Australasia (2007-2015)
Executive Committee: Australasian Quaternary Association (2007-2015) <
Steering Committees: INTIMATE (Integrating Ice Core, Marine and Terrestrial Records; 2014-); Palaeolakes of the arid southern hemisphere INQUA Focus Group (2016-)
Minerva FemmeNet (Max Planck Society; 2017-)
Professional Societies
: European Geosciences Union, Verband der Geographen an Deutschen Hochschulen, DEUQUA, Arbeitskreis Geoachäologie, Arbeitskreis Geomorphologie
European Society for Human Evolution, Australasian Quaternay Association

Graduate student supervision

Current students
2019- BSc Felix Hettwer (MPI/University of Mainz): Palaeoclimate reconstruction in loess using stable isotopes in sedimentary carbonates

2019- MSc Maike Nowatzki (MPI/University of Tübingen): Automated GIS mapping of aeolian landforms in the Central Asian piedmont

2018- PhD Alexandra Engström Johansson (MPI/University of Mainz): Quantitative palaeoclimate reconstruction in Central Asian loess archives using organic geochemistry

2017- PhD Aditi Dave (MPI/University of Mainz): Geochronology and age model generation of loess archives along the Central Asian piedmont

Completed students

2018  PhD Nina Doerschner (MPI/University of Leiden): Chronology and environmental context of archaeological sites, Morocco

2012   PhD Anja Guhl (MPI/University of Leipzig): Addressing the challenges of dating archaeological sites, Jonzac, France

2010    PhD Tegan Smith (ANU/co-supervised): Palaeoenvironment and landscape evolution at Lake Mulurulu, NSW

Practicum supervision

2019   Yao Zhang, PhD (Lanzhou University), 3 months
   Maike Nowatzki, MSc (University of Tübingen), 3 months
2018   Kristina Reetz, MSc (University of Mainz), 3 months
2018   Christian Laag, MSc (University of Bayreuth), 6 weeks
2017   Yue Li, PhD (Chinese Academy of Sciences Xi’an), 5 months
2017   Johannes Albert, PhD (University of Mainz), 5 months

Teaching (overview)

•    16 years’ teaching experience at all levels (undergraduate, MSc and PhD)
•    Privatdozentin, Institut für Geographie, Universität Leipzig
•    Teaching at 5 universities and graduate schools in Australia and Germany

  • Institut für Geographie/Institut für Geowissenschaften, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz
  • Institut für Geographie, Universität Leipzig
  • Leipzig School of Human Origins
  • Geographisches Institut, Universität zu Köln
  • School of Geology (later Earth and Marine Sciences), Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University

•    Course „Steps into academic teaching“, ProLehre Medien und Didaktik, 2019
•    Training course in academic teaching, ANU Science Communication Division, 2005
•    Teaching in both English and German

Research Funding

Total funding awarded: EUR >3 400 000

As Primary Investigator:

2019-2020 Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. AUD 100 000.
2017-2021 Max Planck Research Group. EUR 2 000 000.
2017-2019 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Sachbeihilfe. EUR 258 000.
2012-2013 DFG International Cooperation Grant. EUR 8 300.
2010-2013 Australian Research Council Discovery Project. AUD 406 000.
2010-2012 Max Planck Society seed funding. EUR 24 500.
2007 Australian National University College of Science. AUD 8 600.

As Partner Investigator/Senior Scientist:

2017-2018 German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). EUR 104 000.
2016-2018 National Science Foundation (USA). USD 228 000.
2016-2017 International Quaternary Association (INQUA) Focus Group (Southern Hemisphere Assessment of Palaeoenvironments). EUR 8000.
2016-2017 International Quaternary Association (INQUA) Focus Group (Palaeolakes of the Arid Southern Hemisphere). EUR 3500.
2012-2014 National Science Foundation (USA). USD 169 000.
2011-2013 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project. AUD 360 000.

Media coverage and scientific communication

2019 Scientific Advisor, BBC natural history documentary “One planet seven worlds”
2018 Television Interview, German popular science show “Quarks und Co”, WDR
2015 Media interest in response to Fitzsimmons et al. (2015) PLOS ONE; The Australian (national newspaper) p.3, 18.6.2015; Other Australian papers (selection): The Age; Sydney Morning Herald; Brisbane Times. Kurier (Austria); Global Times (China), Shanghai Daily (China)
2013 Media interest in response to Fitzsimmons et al. (2013) PLOS ONE; “Zeugen der Super-Eruption” Leipziger Volkszeitung, 25.7.2013
2009 Radio Interview for Willandra Lakes Project, ABC Mildura-Swan Hill
2007-2009 Regular radio presenter, Fuzzy Logic Science Radio Show, Canberra 2XX FM

Research Grants and Funding

2003-2007 Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Environments and Mineral Exploration (CRC LEME): Postgraduate research funding. AUD 34 000.
2007-2009 ANU Luminescence Dating Laboratory Commercial Income: Income from commercial samples, under my direction. AUD 136 300.

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