Andreas Hirsch newly appointed to the Executive Board

Prof. Dr. Andreas Hirsch
Image: FAU/Boris Mijat

Chemist to follow Friedrich Paulsen as VP People

From 1 February, Prof. Dr. Andreas Hirsch will become the new Vice President People at FAU. A vast majority of the University Council at FAU voted for the 61 year old chemist in a postal ballot. Hirsch will take over from the medical expert Prof. Dr. Friedrich Pausen, who did not stand for another term of office.

Hirsch is one of most well-known and respected figures in his subject area. As Chair of Organic Chemistry II, he is one of only a handful of FAU scientists to have received two prestigious ERC advanced grants from the European Research Council (ERC). He is the speaker of collaborative research centre 953 ‘Synthetic Carbon Allotropes’ and the Graduate School Molecular Science (GSMS), as well as a research coordinator at the Engineering of Advanced Materials cluster at FAU, that is funded by the Excellence Initiative. In addition, Hirsch is also speaker of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Molecular Materials (ICMM) and the Institute of Advanced Materials and Processes in Fürth.

Research into graphene and black phosphorous

One aspect of Hirsch’s research involves investigating graphene, a carbon with a structure formed from layers of a honeycomb lattice with the thickness of one atom which has very unusual properties: it is transparent, very lightweight, extremely hard and has a much higher tensile strength than steel. Graphene is therefore thought to have a high potential for future technologies. It may end up being used in the computers of the future, in photovoltaics or even in medical applications. One of his significant discoveries involved creating hydrated graphene that has hydrogen storing properties.

The chemist is also fascinated by black phosphorous: as a risk-free variant of the highly flammable white phosphorous it is regarded as another ‘wonder material’. Properties such as excellent electrical conductivity in a transparent material can be improved even further by combining it with other molecular groups such as polymers. Andreas Hirsch hopes to find new areas of application for black phosphorous. It could prove particularly useful for developing new, more powerful batteries that could replace the lithium-ion batteries currently used in laptops, smartphones, or even electric vehicles.

Focus on the next generation of researchers

As Vice President People, Andreas Hirsch is particularly keen to support young researchers. ‘With its wide spectrum of subjects, FAU is the ideal ecosystem for interdisciplinary research and innovative ideas. In my position as Vice President People, I would like to offer everyone at FAU the opportunity to use and develop their strengths and talents, whether whilst studying, in research or in a role supporting research.  In this way, we as a university can have an impact on society and work together to tackle the major challenges of our time.’

FAU President Joachim Hornegger is pleased to welcome the experienced researcher to the position of Vice President. ‘I am very happy that Andreas Hirsch has agreed to take on this responsible position. I am well aware that it is always a challenge for a top researcher to take on an official position on the Executive Board whilst still juggling their own research. We at FAU obviously hope to benefit from both his roles. Over his long scientific career, Andreas Hirsch has gained an insight into the various status groups at a university, and is aware of their concerns. I am sure that he will be an outstanding and attentive point of contact for all members of FAU, from students to young researchers, and from professors to administrative staff. I look forward to working with him.’

At the same time, the President thanked the former Vice President People Prof. Dr. Friedrich Paulsen. ‘As Vice President People, Friedrich Paulsen designed and implemented many valuable projects at FAU during his five year term of office. They have made our university a better place, a place where people enjoy learning, carrying out research and working. His intense commitment to encouraging young researchers, especially our postdoctoral researchers, made him very popular. His intensive efforts to promote equality, diversity and tolerance have also had an extremely positive effect on FAU as a whole. In recognition of his dedication, I would like to sincerely thank Friedrich Paulsen both personally and on behalf of the entire Executive Board.’

Further information

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