Dr. Heike Brandstädter. Image: Franzis von Stechow

Managing director retires

14 years after its foundation, the Research School Chemical Biology at the University of Konstanz will appoint a new director: The long-standing managing director, Dr Heike Brandstädter, retired on 28 February 2022.

Her departure also marks a renewal of the entire leadership team: For the first time, the spokespersons of the Research School, Professor Andreas Marx and Professor Martin Scheffner, did not stand for election in November 2021. The new spokespersons are chemist Professor Jörg Hartig and biologist Professor Erika Isono. There will also be a new managing director.

Excellent doctoral training
Heike Brandstädter moved from Hamburg to Lake Constance in 2008. Shortly before, the interdisciplinary Research School had received a grant approval in the context of the German Excellence Initiative. This approval was one of the three pillars for the distinction of the University of Konstanz as a University of Excellence. Heike Brandstädter set up the award-winning Research School and, following this example, structured two new graduate schools in the participating departments: the Graduate School of Biological Sciences and the Graduate School Chemistry, of which she also became the managing director.

During her time, the application for continuation was successfully approved and the Research School Chemical Biology can now look back on a total funding period of twelve years. Under her leadership, the Research School also contributed to the acquisition of the Collaborative Research Centres SFB 969 and SFB 1214. Finally, the positive evaluation of the Research School secured its continued funding through the state of Baden-Württemberg for many years to come. 

National and international presence and networks
The goals for the graduate and research schools were ambitious: attracting excellent doctoral researchers, designing a discipline-specific as well as interdisciplinary training programme, coordinating the curriculum and marketing the programme worldwide. As an expert networker, Heike Brandstädter presented and represented the graduate schools at international conferences and on national committees. With her expertise, she was highly in demand as a speaker, but was also active in many ways in non-university committees: as a reviewer for the Helmholtz Association (HGF), as a mentor with the German University Association of Advanced Graduate Training (UniWiND/GUAT), as an advisor with the international research marketing of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). At the University of Konstanz, she contributed to strategic developments in the areas of communication and marketing as well as transfer. Through her acquisition of further funding, numerous scholarships and material resources for international doctoral researchers could be financed. She was particularly committed to communicating highly specialized research topics in chemical biology to the public in Konstanz. For example, she initiated the exhibition and lecture project "Life Sciences: Bilder des Lebens" (images of life) and presented the public conference "Wo endet der Mensch?" (where does man end?). Heike Brandstädter was committed to also teaching doctoral researchers interdisciplinary topics such as "Ethics in research".

Key facts:

  • The long-standing managing director of the Research School Chemical Biology, Dr Heike Brandstädter, retires on 28 February 2022.
  • Heike Brandstädter was the sole managing director of the Research School Chemical Biology, the Graduate School Biological Sciences and the Graduate School Chemistry since 2008.
  • In November 2021, the founders and previous spokespersons, Andreas Marx and Martin Scheffner, handed over to Jörg Hartig and Erika Isono.
  • Contact: chembiol@uni.kn
  • Image: (copyright Franzis von Stechow)