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Press Release No. 29 | 4 July 2019
Two New Vice Presidents for the DFG

Kerstin Schill succeeds Wolfgang Ertmer, Britta Siegmund succeeds Leena Bruckner-Tuderman / Frank Allgöwer re-elected

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has two new vice presidents. At its session during the DFG annual meeting at the University of Rostock on 3 July 2019, the DFG’s General Assembly elected Bremen-based computer scientist Professor Dr. Kerstin Schill and Berlin-based medical scientist Professor Dr. Britta Siegmund to the Executive Committee of the DFG, Germany’s largest research funding organisation and central self-governing body for the research community. Schill is replacing physicist Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ertmer from Hannover, while Siegmund succeeds medical scientist Prof. Dr. Leena Bruckner-Tuderman from Freiburg. In addition to the two new members, engineer Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Allgöwer was elected for a further term as vice president.

Kerstin Schill is a professor of informatics at the University of Bremen, where she leads the Institute of Cognitive Neuroinformatics. Since 2018, she has also been rector of the Hanse‐Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Delmenhorst. Schill was born in 1958 and studied engineering and computer science at Technische Universität München before going on to earn her doctorate in human biology at LMU Munich. At LMU, between 1993 and her appointment as professor in 2003, she worked at the Institute of Medical Psychology, firstly as a postdoctoral researcher and later as the leader of the Computational Intelligence research group. In Bremen, between 2010 and 2014 Schill was the spokesperson for a Research Training Group integrated in a CRC/Transregio, and since 2017 she has been the deputy spokesperson for a Collaborative Research Centre. Schill has been involved in academic self-governance since 2012, firstly as a member of the DFG review board for computer science, since 2014 as a Senator, and since 2018 as a member of the DFG Expert Commission on Sciences and Humanities in the Digital Age. In Bremen she has also served as Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Britta Siegmund, born in 1971, is a professor of medicine and director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Infectiology and Rheumatology at Charité in Berlin. Here she also heads the Medical Center for Gastroenterology, Nephrology and Metabolic Diseases. Siegmund studied medicine at Munich and Harvard. Between 2003 and 2007 she led a DFG-funded Emmy Noether independent junior research group at Charité, before working as a senior physician until 2012. In 2012 she was appointed a Heisenberg professor, and a year later she moved to her current position. For three years she served as the spokesperson for a Collaborative Research Centre and since 2018 she has been the co-spokesperson for a CRC/Transregio. She is also a member of the supervisory board for the Berlin Institute of Health, where she has led the Clinical Translational Science Platform (CTP) since 2019. Between 2016 and 2017, Siegmund was a member of the DFG review board for medicine. She has served as a member of the Senate and as the chair or a board member of various gastroenterology societies in Germany since 2017. She is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Frank Allgöwer directs the Institute for Systems Theory and Automatic Control at the University of Stuttgart. Born in 1962, he studied technical cybernetics and applied mathematics in Stuttgart and Los Angeles. After obtaining his doctorate in Stuttgart he worked for DuPont in Wilmington, USA, as an assistant professor for nonlinear systems at ETH Zurich and as a visiting professor at the University of California and the University of Newcastle, Australia. During his previous terms of office, Allgöwer was especially interested in interdisciplinary perspectives. He leads the Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research, a committee of the DFG and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and chairs the DFG’s NFDI Expert Committee (on national research data infrastructure). The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize recipient is also a member of the DFG’s Expert Commission on the Sciences and Humanities in the Digital Age. Allgöwer also served as a member of the jury for the Communicator Award, presented jointly by the DFG and the Stifterverband.

After the elections, the General Assembly bade farewell to the outgoing members of the Executive Committee with prolonged applause. Leena Bruckner-Tuderman, a member of the Executive Committee since 2012, was particularly involved in improving the basic framework for medical research during her time as vice president. As chair of the Permanent Senate Commission on Key Questions in Clinical Research, she played a key role in the development of basic recommendations in this field, the science-oriented development of clinicians at different career levels, and measures to facilitate the balance between research and clinical practice. In addition to her work on the commission, she was involved in international cooperation between research funding organisations. Wolfgang Ertmer, who became a member of the Executive Committee in 2013, was actively engaged during his time as vice president in the implementation and ongoing development of DFG funding programmes and also served as a member of the DFG Senate Committee on Strategic Planning. He was also strongly involved in international collaboration in Europe and represented the DFG at Science Europe. Ertmer resigned from office in July 2018 for personal reasons.

Together with DFG President Prof. Dr. Peter Strohschneider, the two new vice presidents Kerstin Schill and Britta Siegmund, and re-elected vice president Frank Allgöwer, the Executive Committee is made up of medical scientist Prof. Dr. Katja Becker, chemist Prof. Dr. Roland A. Fischer, English literature scholar Prof. Dr. Julika Griem, mathematician Prof. Dr. Marlis Hochbruck and jurist Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schön as vice presidents. Prof. Dr. Katja Becker will continue to serve on the Executive Committee until the end of the year, and on 1 January 2020 she will succeed Peter Strohschneider as the first female President of the DFG. The President of the Stifterverband, Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Barner, has an advisory role on the Executive Committee by virtue of his office. Together with the President, the Executive Committee develops the strategic and conceptual direction of the DFG.

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For more information about the members of the DFG Executive Committee, see