Personalia | GFZ Executive Director Stefan Schwartze appointed Helmholtz Vice-President

Dr. Stefan Schwartze, Administrative Executive Director of the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences (picture: GFZ)

Since 1 January 2019, Stefan Schwartze, Administrative Executive Director of the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, has taken on the role of Administrative Vice-President of the Helmholtz Association. As one of a total of eight vice-presidents, Schwartze looks forward to promoting increased cross-centre cooperation during his term of office, especially in digitalisation, and shall furthermore advocate for the lifting of the budget freeze imposed by the Bundestag. The term of office shall initially be two years with the option of re-election.

Stefan Schwartze says: "As one of two representatives of the Administrative Board of Directors, I am pleased to be able to join my colleague, Heike Graßmann, from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in the Helmholtz Association's Executive Committee as of this year. I will gladly contribute the experience I have gained since the start of programme-oriented funding at the BMBF and as a board member at two Helmholtz Centres".

Stefan Schwartze has a doctorate in law. He was born in Wuppertal in 1966, is married and has three children. In 2003, he became an Administrative Board member of the Foundation Board of the MDC in Berlin-Buch. In 2008 he was appointed Vice-President Administration and Finance of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster. Schwartze has been the Administrative Executive Director of the GFZ since 1 December 2011.

The Executive Committee of the Helmholtz Association includes eight vice-presidents in addition to the President and the Managing Director. The vice-presidents support, advise and represent the president in the fulfilment of his duties, which include implementing the programme-oriented funding system and coordinating the development of programmes across research fields and developing the Association's overall strategy. Each of the Helmholtz Association's six research fields is represented by a vice-president who is responsible for its coordination; in addition, there are two vice-presidents from the centres' administrative bodies.

First and foremost, it is important to prepare the forthcoming strategic evaluation of the research programmes for the fourth period of programme-oriented funding starting in 2021, and as Schwartze explains: "The Research Field Earth and Environment is entering the next funding period for the first time with a joint programme 'The Changing Earth - Sustaining our Future'. We will ensure that cross-centre cooperation in science functions well and that the necessary coordination processes can take place as easily as possible."

One of Stefan Schwartze's goals is to further advance digitalisation in the Helmholtz Association: "In science management, we will also use synergies between the centres for this purpose. The GFZ will be involved in cooperation in this research area and in the entire Helmholtz Association."

According to Schwartze, a particular challenge is the ban on 25 percent of the operating funds of all Helmholtz Centres imposed by the Budget Committee of the Bundestag for the year 2019: "Here, I will work together with all colleagues to ensure that the ban on funds is lifted as quickly as possible and does not lead to collateral damage in the scientific community.” (ph)

Further information:
- The Executive Committee of the Helmholtz Association 
- Program-Oriented Funding at the Helmholtz Association 

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