The former President
The former office-holder Professor Dr. Walter Kröll
"The Helmholtz Association is changing. After all, only a flexible and learning research organisation will have any chance of asserting itself as a key focal point for research in Germany and as a global player in international research." This describes how Professor Kröll outlined the scope of his responsibilities. Prof. Kröll was president of the Helmholtz Association from its founding as a registered association in 2001 until the end of August 2005. His main responsibility related to steering the reforms of the Helmholtz Association. The gradual transition from centre-oriented to programme-oriented funding on the basis of strategic evaluation by internationally-distinguished experts constituted the core of this reform process.
Professor Dr. Walter Kröll (born in Waldbreitbach near Neuwied/Rhine in 1938) read mathematics and physics at the University of Bonn and gained his doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) in 1964. From 1967 onwards, he held professorships in theoretical physics at the Universities of Bochum, Essen and Marburg. His work areas are:
- theoretical plasma physics,
- conventional gas discharging plasmas,
- limitation of ionization energy,
- turbulent plasmas.
Professor Kröll served as the Founding Rector of the University/Comprehensive University of Essen from 1972 to 1979 and headed the Philipps-University Marburg as its President from 1979 to 1987. In 1987 he took over as Chairman of the Board at the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt - DLR). In addition to these functions, Professor Kröll has served on a number of national and international bodies. In these positions he was, inter alia, a Member of the Presidium of the Association of International Universities (AIU) from 1985 to 1990, Chairman of the Association of National Research Centres (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Großforschungseinrichtungen - AGF) from 1991 to 1993, the predecessor to the Helmholtz Association, Vice-President of the European Science Foundation (ESF) from 1994 to 1998, Chairman of the Association of European Research Establishments in Aeronautics (EREA) from 1996 to 1998 and Chairman of the German Delegation to the ESA Council from 1998 to 2001. In addition, Professor Kröll is a member of several supervisory and advisory bodies from the private business sector as well as of public research institutions.
Professor Kröll's services and contributions to research and research management have gained him numerous awards and distinctions at home and abroad. These include, in particular, the Honorary Doctorate of the Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo (Canada) and the Honorary Professorship of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA). NASA awarded him the Distinguished Civil Service Medal. Professor Kröll is a Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur and holder of the Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz.