FAU President re-elected

Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegge
Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger (Bild: FAU/Thomas Einberger)

Joachim Hornegger to stay in office as President for another six years

The University Council confirmed Prof. Hornegger’s presidency in an unanimous vote on Friday 4 December 2020. His new term of office will start on 1 April 2021. During the last six years, Hornegger has led FAU, Bavaria’s third largest university, on a path to success. He is credited with securing funding from the Bavarian state government for site development in Erlangen and Nuremberg, including a centre for humanities in both cities and the expansion of the Faculty of Engineering. FAU’s vision for the future: Best practice in online teaching, leading international research projects and a clear, attractive profile worldwide.

Science minister Bernd Sibler congratulated the current and future President of FAU: ‘Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger as President of FAU stands for ambition, foresight, innovative spirit, a willingness to change and visionary thinking. With his strong leadership, decisive action, and a clear vision for the issues that will be crucial in the future, he has significantly strengthened the reputation of one of Germany’s largest universities far beyond the state of Bavaria during his first term of office, with excellent results in international rankings, competitions across Germany for Collaborative Research Centres, expanding research facilities, high-profile appointments and collaboration with extramural research institutions. As part of a health hub, FAU is extremely important for the AI network in Bavaria. Prof. Dr. Hornegger has also worked closely with the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts to embark on a comprehensive programme of renovation and construction for FAU that will vastly improve the conditions for research and teaching at the university during the next few years. I am extremely pleased that Prof. Dr. Hornegger will be able to continue his highly successful work in Erlangen and Nuremberg for a further six years. With their dedication and expertise, leaders like Prof. Dr. Hornegger make a significant contribution to the high visibility, excellent reputation and attractiveness of Bavaria as a location for research. I would like to wish Prof. Dr. Hornegger every success for his second term of office!’

‘Professor Hornegger is an excellent choice. He is a passionate university lecturer and a researcher with an international reputation. He shows enormous personal commitment to the needs of young researchers. At the same time, he is familiar with the interests of business, top international universities and political stakeholders,’ says Roland Busch, Deputy CEO of Siemens AG and Chairman of the University Council. ‘Above all, he is passionate about FAU and the people who study, teach and research here – perhaps one of the most important qualities that a university president needs.’

‘It is an honour and pleasure to be able to lead this great university for another six years,’ says re-elected president Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger. ‘I would like to thank the University Council for the trust it places in me. During the last six years, I have done everything I can to further increase FAU’s reputation as a leading university all over the world and I will continue to put my heart and soul into it during the next six years. Above all, I will do everything I can to make the range of degree programmes at our FAU even more attractive and create a unique environment for research-oriented teaching to make FAU the first choice for students all over the world. It is my intention to attract even more top international researchers to our University so that we can raise our global visibility in research even further. Our young researchers are particularly important to me in this context, as we want to provide them with the support they need to have the best chances worldwide. My goal is also to boost the innovative force of our FAU and to work with leaders in innovation across the globe. Above all, I would like to continue making FAU a university where people enjoy studying, researching and teaching. A university we can be proud of.’


Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger studied computer science at FAU and gained his doctorate in 1996 with a thesis about statistical object modelling and recognition. After completing his doctoral degree, Hornegger was a visiting scientist from 1997 to 1998 at two top international universities: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and Stanford University. After his stay abroad, he went into industry, firstly as a developer at Siemens Medical Solutions, before becoming Head of Medical Imaging in the Angiography and X-ray Systems Sector in 2001 and Director of Imaging Systems Development in 2003. During his time at Siemens, Joachim Hornegger was a guest lecturer at the universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg (1998–1999), Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (2000) and Mannheim (2000–2003).

At the end of 2003, Hornegger returned to FAU as a researcher and lecturer when he was appointed as a Professor of Computer Science at the Faculty of Engineering. From 2009 to 2011, the expert for pattern recognition took on responsibilities in the administration of academic affairs as Speaker of the Computer Science department and as Vice Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. From October 2011 until becoming president on 1 April 2015, Hornegger was Vice President for Research at FAU.

Joachim Hornegger is married and has two children and lives with his family in Franconian Switzerland.

Facts about the presidential election

The president of FAU is elected every six years. Re-appointment is permitted. The presidential election is usually held in a University Council (UC) meeting attended in person. Due to the special circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the election date planned for July had to be rescheduled. The established election process had to be changed as it became clear that holding the election in person would not be possible. FAU amended its constitution accordingly with a UC resolution and with the agreement of the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts, enabling a legally-compliant postal vote.

This is how the postal vote was held:

  1. In an online meeting, the advisory committee in the UC viewed the received applications.
  2. The Chair of the UC and the Chair of the Senate then agreed on an election nomination.
  3. Both officially sent the election nomination to the UC as the election body.
  4. In a special meeting, the UC held a secret ballot to decide whether to accept or reject the nomination. The UC accepted the nomination and thus the postal vote proceedings could begin.
  5. After they were received by the Chancellor in his role as Returning Officer, the postal vote documents were securely stored in a sealed ballot box until the UC election meeting.
  6. During the UC meeting, all postal votes received within the deadline were counted by the Chancellor.
  7. As Joachim Hornegger was the only candidate, the number of yes votes was decisive for wining the election.
  8. After counting all the votes, the Chancellor as Returning Officer announced the results and asked the candidate whether he would accept the result of the vote. Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger accepted the election immediately, which candidates have to do in writing at the latest one week after the results.

Images to download

Images of the President for download are available at fau.de/presse

Further information

FAU Press Office
Phone +49 9131 8570229