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Press Release No. 32 | 7 July 2021
Four New Members of the DFG Senate

General Assembly elects two female scholars and two male scholars to central academic body

The General Assembly of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) elected four new members to the Senate of the largest research funding organisation and central self-governing body of science and the humanities in Germany at its virtual Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 7 July 2021. Five Senate members were confirmed for another term. The Senate is the central academic body in which all matters of essential importance to the DFG are discussed and decided on, unless they are reserved for the Joint Committee.

Of the four newly filled Senate seats, two are in the humanities and social sciences and one each in the life sciences and natural sciences. A total of 20 female scholars now belong to the 39-member Senate.

The following four members were newly elected to the DFG Senate:

  • History: Professor Dr. Andreas Fahrmeir, University of Frankfurt/Main
  • Molecular Biology: Professor Dr. Annette Beck-Sickinger, University of Leipzig
  • Theoretical Physics: Professor Dr. Jan Plefka, HU Berlin
  • Economics: Professor Dr. Caren Sureth-Sloane, University of Paderborn

Retired from the Senate:

  • History: Professor Dr. Ute Daniel, TU Braunschweig
  • Molecular Biology: This seat was previously vacant.
  • Theoretical Physics: Professor Dr. Hartmut Löwen, University of Düsseldorf
  • Economics: Professor Dr. Dorothea Kübler, WZB Berlin

The following were elected for a further term of office:

  • Civil Engineering and Mechanics: Professor Dr. Matthias Brand, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • Clinical Medicine I: Professor Dr. Ansgar Lohse, University of Hamburg
  • Molecular Chemistry: Professor Dr. Tanja Weil, MPI for Polymer Research
  • Neuroscience: Professor Dr. Gereon R. Fink, University of Cologne
  • Systems Engineering: Professor Dr. Helge Ritter, University of Bielefeld

The Senate is responsible for all major decisions in research funding in the run-up to concrete funding decisions as well as for all major decisions regarding the organisation of the review, evaluation and decision-making process. The Senate also decides which review boards are to be formed and how they are to be structured.

The Senate has a total of 39 members. Of these, 36 are elected by the General Assembly; they are also the academic members of the Joint Committee. In addition, the Presidents of the German Rectors' Conference, the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities and the Max Planck Society are members of the Senate by virtue of their office. The Presidents of the Hermann von Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and the Fraunhofer Society as well as the Chair of the German Council of Science and Humanities are permanent guests of the Senate.

Further Information

Media contact:

A list of the members of the Senate and further information is available at:

This and all other press releases relating to the 2021 Virtual Annual General Meeting can also be found in a digital press kit at