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Press Release No. 30 | 6 July 2016
Two New Vice-Presidents – One Male, One Female – for the DFG

Roland A. Fischer replaces Michael Famulok; Julika Griem takes over from Peter Funke / Wolfgang Ertmer re-elected for a further four years

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has two new Vice-Presidents. At its session during the DFG annual meeting at the University of Mainz on Wednesday, 6 July 2016, the DFG’s General Assembly elected Munich-based chemist Professor Dr. Roland A. Fischer and Frankfurt-based literary scholar Professor Dr. Julika Griem to the Executive Committee of the DFG, Germany's largest research funding organisation and central self-governing organisation for the research community. Fischer will take over from Bonn-based biochemist Professor Dr. Michael Famulok; Griem will succeed Münster-based ancient historian Professor Dr. Peter Funke. Vice-President and experimental physicist Professor Dr. Wolfgang Ertmer has been re-elected for a further four years alongside the two new members.

Roland A. Fischer has been Chair of Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich since January 2016. Prior to this, he was Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) between 1997 and 2015. Born in 1961, Fischer studied at the Technical University of Munich, where he also obtained his doctorate and completed his habilitation after spending time as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California. Visiting professorships then took him to Mumbai and Kyoto. Fischer showed his support for collaboration between natural sciences, humanities and social sciences as the initiator and Head of the Alfried Krupp School Laboratory at the RUB and in a project by the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany (Stiftverband). This interdisciplinary orientation was also reflected in his role as Speaker of Ruhr University Research School as this graduate school combined all scientific disciplines. Fischer is the coordinator of a DFG Priority Programme. Since 2012 he has shown his support for academic self-governance as a member of the Senate Committee on Collaborative Research Centres. He had previously shown his commitment to this subject in his role as Vice-Rector for Teaching Affairs at the RUB from 2000 to 2002.

Julika Griem, born in 1963, is Professor of English Literature at the Goethe University Frankfurt. Griem studied English and German Literature at the universities in Freiburg im Breisgau and Amherst, Massachusetts. After obtaining her doctorate at the University of Freiburg, she completed her habilitation on the topic of “Monkey Business. Apes as Figures of Anthropological and Aesthetic Reflection 1800–2000” (available only in German) at the University of Stuttgart. Between 2005 and 2012 she worked as Professor of English Literature at the TU Darmstadt. Griem has been a committed member of the selection committee for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize of the DFG since 2012 and member of the DFG review board for literary studies since 2015. She has been a member of the Strategy Commission of the German Council of Science and Humanities and the Excellence Initiative Grants Committee of the DFG since 2014.

She has been the Head of the “Schreibszene Frankfurt” graduate research group, which is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, since March 2016. Between 2006 and 2012, she was a member of the DFG Research Training Group entitled “Topologies of Technology” at the TU Darmstadt.

Wolfgang Ertmer, who was born in 1949, has held a professorship for experimental physics at the University of Hanover since 1994. He was previously at the University of Bonn where he also studied physics and completed his doctorate and his habilitation; he has frequently undertaken research visits to the USA, several times as a DFG fellow. Professor Ertmer’s core research areas are atomic physics, quantum optics and laser cooling. In recognition of his work, he received the DFG’s Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 1997. Ertmer is a member of the DFG Senate Committee on Strategic Planning. Since assuming the role of Vice-President in 2013, he has provided important stimuli regarding the implementation and development of the DFG funding programmes. He has also been heavily involved in international collaboration, particularly across the continent, and represented the DFG at Science Europe.

After the elections, the General Assembly said goodbye to the outgoing members of the Executive Committee with prolonged applause. Michael Famulok, who had been a member of the Executive Committee since 2013, has made considerable advances in the widely respected statement on the opportunities and risks of genome editing as Chair of the Permanent Senate Commission on Genetic Research of the DFG. At international level, the Leibniz prizewinner contributed his considerable experience in his role as the Chair of the Joint Committee of the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (SGC) and on the Joint Advisory Committee with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) as the Indian partner organisation. Peter Funke, a member of the Executive Committee since 2010, has shown his absolute commitment to the issues in humanities and social sciences, for instance the so-called minor disciplines and their development in a rapidly changing international research landscape with particular regard to the specific situation of the early career researchers in these subjects. As a member of the DFG Senate Committee on Strategic Planning and the German-Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP), he also focused on science policy in a number of ways.

Together with DFG President Professor Dr. Peter Strohschneider in addition to Vice-Presidents Fischer (newly elected), Griem (newly elected) and Ertmer (re-elected for a second term), the other Vice-Presidents on the Executive Committee are engineer Professor Dr.-Ing. Frank Allgöwer, molecular biologist Professor Dr. Katja Becker, medical scientist Professor Dr. Leena Kaarina Bruckner-Tuderman, mathematician Professor Dr. Marlis Hochbruck and jurist Professor Dr. Wolfgang Schön. The President of the Stiftverband, Professor Dr. Andreas Barner, has an advisory role on the Executive Committee by virtue of his office. The Secretary General of the DFG, Dorothee Dzwonnek, also participates in meetings of the Executive Committee in an advisory capacity. Together with the President, the Executive Committee develops the strategic and conceptual orientation of the DFG.

Further Information

Media contact:

  • DFG Press and Public Relations,
    Tel. +49 228 885-2109,
    presse@dfg.de

For more information about the members of the DFG Executive Committee, please go to