Helmholtz President Otmar D. Wiestler re-elected for a second term

The Senate of the Helmholtz Association has re-elected the incumbent President of Germany’s largest research organization, Otmar D. Wiestler, for a second term. He will remain in office until August 2025.

“I am honored and delighted to hold this wonderful position for a further five years,” says Otmar D. Wiestler. “The Association has developed in a very positive way since I took office in September 2015. It conducts top-level research into major challenges and across all research fields. Nevertheless, we are facing huge tasks, which we must tackle boldly.” The digitalization of science, business, and society, for example, climate change, preventive medicine, fundamental questions of physics, and new mobility concepts are important areas, both at a national and international level, where research must provide answers. “With our 19 excellent research centers, we are in a position to approach these great challenges in a systemic, multidisciplinary, and sustainable way,” says Wiestler.

The Senate, which is made up of external members, is the central body of the Helmholtz Association alongside the Assembly of Members. The members of the Senate are representatives of Federal and State authorities, of parliament and research organizations, as well as public figures from science and industry who are elected for three years. At the suggestion of the Assembly of Members, which recommended the renewal of his term on June 18, the Senate today re-elected the President for a further five years.

Otmar D. Wiestler was born in Freiburg (Breisgau, Germany) on November 6, 1956. After completing his medical studies at the University of Freiburg, he obtained his Doctorate in Medicine in 1984 (summa cum laude). Between 1984 and 1987, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Pathology at the University of California in San Diego, USA. He then changed to the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland for five years, where he qualified as a university lecturer in pathology. In 1992 the University of Bonn appointed him as Professor of Neuropathology and Director of the Institute of Neuropathology, where he helped establish a large neuroscientific research center. Between January 2004 and August 2015, Otmar Wiestler, in his capacity as Chairman of the Executive Board and Scientific Director, headed the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg (DKFZ), which is one of the world’s leading institutions for cancer research. He has been President of the Helmholtz Association since September 2015. His first term of office runs until August 2020. Following his re-election, Otmar D. Wiestler will remain in office until August 2025.

Helmholtz contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science, and the economy through top-level scientific achievements in six Research Fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Matter, and Aeronautics, Space, and Transport. With more than 40,000 employees at 19 Research Centers and an annual budget of around 4.7 billion euros, Helmholtz is the largest scientific organization in Germany. Its work is rooted in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894).

June 26, 2019

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