Luftbild RUB
Luftaufnahme der RUB

Members of the University Council

Four women and three men largely determine the fate of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum at this time. Heinrich Baßler, Dr. Ricarda Brandts, Dr. Klaus Engel, Birgit Fischer, Dr. Beate Konze-Thomas, Prof. Dr. Reto Weiler and Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal make up the new University Council of the RUB.

Birgit Fischer

former State Minister, Chief Executive of the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Chairman)


Birgit Fischer
Birgit Fischer

Degree in Educational Sciences at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

  • 1972-1977 Graduated with the academic title Dipl.-Pädagogin

Professional career

  • 1977 – 1980 Head of the Educational Division at Ev. Bildungswerk
  • 1980 – 1986 Unit manager Volkshochschule (community college)
  • 1986 – 1990 Equal opportunities officer for the city of Bochum
  • 1990 – 2007 Member of Parliament in the Federal State North Rhine-Westphalia
  • 1991 – 1998 Leader of the SPD parliamentary group in NRW
  • 1998 – 2002 Minister for Women, Youth, Family, Health Affairs
  • 2002 – 2005 Minister for Health, Social, Women, and Family Affairs
  • 2005 – 2006 Deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group in NRW
  • 2007 – 2010 Deputy Chairwoman at BARMER
  • 2010 – 2011 Chairwoman at BARMER GEK
  • Since 2011 Chief Executive of the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa)

Political career

  • 1982 – 1988 Deputy Chairwoman for the SPD MK branch
  • 1986 – 1990 Member of the SPD National Party Council
  • 1989 – 1999 Member of the SPD Branch Managing Board Bochum branch
  • 1990 – 1998 Chairwoman at the SPD party for the district Bochum-Mitte
  • 2001 – 201 1Member of the SPD executive board
  • 2001 – 2007 Deputy leader NRW-SPD
  • 2005 – 2007 President of the SPD executive board

Since 2008 Member of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum University Council

Dr Ricarda Brandts

President of the Constitutional Court and the Higher Administrative Court for the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster (Deputy Chairman)


Dr. Ricarda Brandts
Dr. Ricarda Brandts

Law degree at the University of Bielefeld and Ruhr-Universität Bochum

  • 1984 Second state exam in law

Professional career

  • 1984 – 1988 Research assistant at the Chair of Criminal Law, Criminal Trial Law and General Legal Theory at Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • 1988 Social jurisdiction judge at the Social Court Dortmund
  • 1990 Doctorate at Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • 1994 Judge at Superior State Social Court North Rhine-Westphalia
  • 1995 – 1997 Secondment to the Ministry of Labour, Integration and Social Affairs in North-Rhine Westphalia
  • 1997 President at the Social Court Dortmund
  • 2000 Vice President at the Superior State Social Court North Rhine-Westphalia in Essen
  • 2008 Judge at Federal Social Security Court in Kassel
  • 2010 President at the Superior State Social Court North Rhine-Westphalia in Essen
  • Since 2013 President of the Constitutional Court and the Higher Administrative Court for the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster

Dr Klaus Engel

former Chairman of the Board of Evonik Industries, Essen


Dr. Klaus Engel
Dr. Klaus Engel
  • 1984 doctorate at the Faculty of Chemistry at Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • 1984 – 2001 executive positions in Research & Development, Produc-tion, Sales and Strategic Planning at Chemische Werke Hüls in Marl, VEBA AG, Düsseldorf and Stinnes AG, Mül-heim an der Ruhr
  • 2001 - 2006 chairman of the board at Brenntag AG, the worldwide larg-est chemical distribution company in Mülheim an der Ruhr
  • 2006 position at RAG AG, Essen, and appointment as chairman of the board at Degussa AG, a predecessor company of Evonik Industries AG
  • 2009 to 2017 chairman of the board at Evonik Industries AG, Essen, one of the leading players in specialty chemicals worldwide, with 35000 members of staff and turnovers amounting to 15 billion euros.

Functions in industry and society (selection)

  • 2010-2012 president at Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) and vice president at Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI)
  • 2012 to 2017 member of the “International Business Leader Advisory Council” for the Mayor of Shanghai
  • since 2011 member of the Supervisory Board at National-Bank, Essen
  • since 2011 Boards of Trustees at Bonner Akademie für Forschung und Lehre praktischer Politik
  • private member of “Initiativkreises Ruhr”, Essen
  • honorary professor at Universität Duisburg- Essen


  • 2012 Fasel-Stiftung Award for Social Market Economy
  • 2014 Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

Heinrich Baßler

Dr Beate Konze-Thomas

former head of the department "Coordinated Programmes and Infrastructure" of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Bonn


Dr. Beate Konze-Thomas
Dr. Beate Konze-Thomas
  • 1969 - 1974 biology studies at Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • 1974 - 1977 doctorate at the Chair of Microbial Biology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, and simultaneously research assistant
  • 1977 - 1979 research associate, Michigan State University, grant by the German Research Foundation
  • 1979 - 1980 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Max von Pettenkofer-Institute for Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, Munich, academic research
  • 1980 - 2014 German Research Foundation, Bonn
  • 1980 - 2000 head of the Division of Medicine
  • 2000 - 2004 head of the Collaborative Research Centres Group
  • 2004 - 2014 head of the Department for Programme and Infrastructure Funding

Memberships, roles and functions

  • A number of publications in peer-reviewed academic journals from 1976 to 1984, e.g. Biophysical Journal, Eur. J. of Biochemistry and Mutation Research.
  • Numerous publications and lectures regarding research funding between 1984 and 2014.
  • Roles focusing on research funding, research management, quality management in research, promotion of early career researchers. Development of measures for the promotion of equal opportunities in academia.
  • Programme development: Collaborative Research Centres, Research Training Groups, supply of literature, large equipment programmes of DFG and of the Federal Government and the Federal States of Germany, funding programmes of the Excellence Initiative.
  • In the Excellence Initiative responsible for the first three requests for proposals and selection rounds in the funding programmes Cluster of Excellence and Graduate Schools. Supervision of the Grants Committee that decides on the funding in all funding programmes of the Excellence Initiative. Responsible for the application of funds and invoicing of approved funds in the three funding programmes.
  • International functions under the umbrella of the European Science Foundation, member of various Scientific Committees and Executive Groups in Medical Research Councils. Involvement in the establishment of European funding programmes, e.g. the European Research Council and the Global Research Council, focusing on Open Access.
  • After retirement: member of the University Council in Freiburg, appointed from 2015 to 2018. Advisory roles: promotion of early career researchers and Global Young Faculty, Mercur and Mercator Foundation, Essen, under the umbrella of the Excellence Strategy: advisor to the universities in Bochum, Freiburg, Würzburg and the Faculty of Medicine in Cologne.

Prof. Dr. Reto Weiler

Prof. Dr Hildegard Westphal

Workgroup leader Geoecology at the ZMT, professor for Geology of the Tropics at University of Bremen


Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal
Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal

Degrees in Geology, Geophysics and Paleontology at the Universities of Brisbane and Tübingen

  • 1995 – 1997 PhD student at GEOMAR Research Center for marine Geosciences, University of Kiel
  • 2004 Habilitation at University of Tübingen, venia legendi for Geology

Education and Career

  • 1998 – 1999 Post-Doctoral Research Associate at University of Miami, USA, Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
  • 1999 – 2003 Assistant professor at University of Hannover
  • 2003 – 2004 HWP-Grant of the State of Bavaria at University of Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • 2005 – 2010 Heisenberg-Grant of the German Science Foundation, University of Bremen
  • 2010 Chair for Sedimentology at University of Heidelberg
  • 2010 - 2020 Director of the Leibniz-Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) and professor for Geology of the Tropics at University of Bremen
  • Since 2020 Working group leader at the ZMT

Current extra- and interdisciplinary commitment (selected)

  • Since 2011 Scientific Vice-President of Leibniz Gemeinschaft
  • Since 2012 Member of the Board of Trustees of Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research, Geomar
  • Since 2013 Member of the Board of Governors of Jacobs University Bremen
  • Since 2014 Member of the Foundation Board of Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander König
  • Since 2016 Member of the University Council of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Awards and accolades

  • Hans-Cloos-Preis 2003 of the German Geological Society
  • Walter-Schall-Preis 2003 of the Society of naturalists of Württemberg
  • Albert-Maucher-Preis 2004 of the German Science Foundation (DFG)
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