Jump to main navigation Skip to Content

DFG Logo: back to Homepage Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

banner: Kopfbereich DFG2020 Logo - englisch Because research matters

Press Release No. 54 | 3 September 2007
"One of the Most Highly Regarded Research Managers in Germany"

The DFG's Secretary General Retires

Respected, influential, persistent, determined, energetic and resolute - these were the most commonly cited attributes of the outgoing Secretary General of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), Dr. Reinhard Grunwald, who retired this Monday. At a farewell ceremony held at the Redoute in Bonn, attended by 150 invited guests, representatives of the German federal government, the German states, German universities and the international scientific community paid tribute to Grunwald's achievements over the eleven years he spent at the helm of the DFG's Head Office.

Andreas Storm, a Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, described Grunwald as one of the most highly regarded and influential research managers in Germany, who is also held in high esteem internationally. He applied his heart and mind to the modernisation of the German research system. In Storm's opinion, the way in which the Excellence Initiative was administered over the last few years was his masterpiece.

The Secretary General of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK), Professor Erich Thies, highlighted the fact that Grunwald, in his role as the "soft-spoken general," had made a decisive difference to science and research, in terms of both quality and quantity. It was, he said, with Grunwald's help that the DFG had become what it is today. On behalf of the members of the DFG, Professor Christoph Markschies, President of the Humboldt University in Berlin, paid tribute to Grunwald as a person who had made a significant contribution to fundamentally improving the structure, scope and sustainability of German research funding. The country's universities are, he said, very much obliged to him for his resolute commitment to duty.

For the great majority of Reinhard Grunwald's time in office, he and Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, who was President of the DFG from 1998 until the end of 2006, constituted the DFG's Executive Board. In a very personal speech, Winnacker, who is now Secretary General of the European Research Council (ERC), underlined the milestones of the outgoing Secretary General's time in office, including the system evaluation of the DFG and the Max Planck Society and the resulting reorganisation of the internal structure at the DFG's Head Office; the issues of scientific misconduct, which posed challenges and placed strains on the procedural lawyer; the introduction of the review board system, which ushered in new standards for the DFG's peer review system; the changes to the DFG's statutes; and the significant internationalisation of the DFG's activities. He also oversaw the switch to ElektrA, the electronic proposal processing system.

During Grunwald's term of office, the DFG's budget doubled and the number of employees grew from 600 to 800.

The President of the DFG, Professor Matthias Kleiner, made a special point of welcoming the DFG's new Secretary General Ms. Dorothee Dzwonnek, in his welcoming speech. In her speech, Ms. Dzwonnek emphasised her view that the DFG's ultimate goal should be to base its evaluation and peer review processes solely on quality-driven criteria. With a passion for science, the courage to be patient, but also to face change, the strength to ensure transparency, and the support of good advisors and interested parties, she hopes to contribute to a further improvement in the German scientific landscape in the years ahead.

Grunwald himself, in his brief word of thanks, described the success attributed to him as the result of many years of team work, saying "you do indeed need the right trainer, but the goals are scored by others".

Further Information

Pictures of the farewell ceremony are available online at: