Jena's Team wins Science Battle

JenAlumni Newsletter

Winter 2022/2023
Jena's Team wins Science Battle
Image: Jens Meyer (University of Jena)

News in brief

The University of Jena is among the best 20 universities in Germany

In the current university ranking by "Times Higher Education" (THE), the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena was able to further improve its position and is now ranked 20th among German universities. Of the more than 1,600 international universities included in THE's ranking, the university reached 189th place, making the University of Jena the only East German comprehensive university among the best 200 universities worldwide. To the rankingExternal link

Jena's team wins the Science Battle

How do birds know how to build the perfect nest? Why do we dream but can't remember all our dreams when we wake up? On 30 September, four teams of researchers from different universities competed in the EC2U Science Battle at the University of Jena to find the best and most entertaining answers to these and other questions. The Jena team consisted of (Photo, from right) philosopher Prof. Matthias Perkams, psychologist Dr Jürgen Kaufmann, microbiologist Dr Katrin Fröhlich, geomicrobiologist Rachael Akinyede, physician Paulina Fuentes Zacarías, and physicist and computer scientist Felix Wechsler. After a close head-to-head race, the host team from the University of Jena was able to extend its narrow lead over the competition from the universities of Coimbra (Portugal), Iaşi (Romania) and Salamanca (Spain). Jena will now compete against Pavia, the 2021 winner, in September next year. The EC2U Alliance is an association of seven European universities, including the University of Jena. To the recording of the Science BattleExternal link

University of Jena among the top 10 German universities for start-ups

Jena is the uncrowned start-up capital in Thuringia and Germany-wide the University of Jena is now one of the top 10 start-up universities, as a new ranking shows. At seventh place, it even outshines large Universities of Excellence. This can only be achieved with innovative researchers in combination with a suitable infrastructure and numerous support services for founders as well as a suitable strategy. At the University, the transfer processes are centrally bundled by the "Service Centre for Research and Transfer" (SFT). Its start-up service accompanies around five to ten corporations from the university environment into self-employment every year. The foundations for this were laid early on in Jena. Interdisciplinary teaching on start-up topics and advice from the idea to internationalisation are part of the wide range of services for potential founders. Learn more de

New Senckenberg Institute is coming to Jena

The Senckenberg Society for Nature Research will establish a new institute in Jena together with the Friedrich Schiller University. Thanks to additional funding, the society will be able to implement its expansion project "Anthropocene Biodiversity Loss" with a focus on Collectomics, Biodiversity Genomics and Solutions Labs. The research and protection of biodiversity is at the centre of the project. The new institute will be established in the Collectomics module. Here Senckenberg will expand its collections into digital research platforms and link collection data with global data on the Earth system. The Herbarium Haussknecht at the University of Jena with its approximately 3.5 million plant specimens will also be linked to this. Learn more de

New building of the Helmholtz Institute Jena officially opened

After two and a half years of construction, the new research building of the Helmholtz Institute Jena (HIJ) at the Fröbelstieg site was officially opened on 3 November. The institute, which works closely with the physics department at the University of Jena, has new office and laboratory space on around 550 square metres of floor space. In the so-called target room – a laboratory hidden underground in the slope of the site – the Helmholtz Institute will in future conduct important laser experiments with increased radiation protection requirements. The Weimar based architectural firm Osterwold°Schmidt carried out the planning in cooperation with Impuls-Landschaftsarchitektur. The costs of around 8.9 million euros were covered by the state of Thuringia. Learn moreExternal link

Jena in the final of the competition for the Future Centre

Jena has reached the next round in the competition for the "Future Center for European Transformation and German Unity". The jury of the selection committee has decided to admit the application of the city and the university for the final round and to visit Jena. "After we prevailed throughout Thuringia in the first step and received the support of the state government, this is the next important milestone, which we have earned thanks to the hard work of the entire application team, but also thanks to the overwhelming and excellent support of our partners from academia, civil society, business and industry," says a delighted Lord Mayor Dr Thomas Nitzsche. University President Prof. Walter Rosenthal says: "We are looking forward to presenting the jury with our established interdisciplinary transformation research, on which the Future Center in Jena can build. With our international networking and Eastern European expertise, we can contribute significantly to the success of this ambitious project." Learn moreExternal link

Learning with quantum computers

In the summer semester of 2022, students and doctoral candidates at the University of Jena for the first time had the opportunity to simulate experiments on a quantum computer in the laboratory course "Experimental Quantum Technologies" at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics (IOF). The first commercial quantum computer "IBM QSystemOne" was used for this purpose. Dr Falk Eilenberger and Dr Frank Setzpfandt from the University of Jena led the course. The aim was to make quantum physics understandable and to demonstrate it in concrete examples. Due to the high demand for the course, it will be offered again this winter semester. Learn moreExternal link

IT industry endows e-commerce professorship

On 14 September, an endowment agreement for the new "W3 Professorship for Business Informatics, esp. E-Commerce and Digital Business" was signed. Ten Jena companies from the digital sector are participating in the endowed professorship, which is also supported by the Thuringian Ministry of Science. The new professorship is intended to help anchor the topic of e-commerce and digital business more firmly in the curriculum of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. The companies donated a high six-figure sum to support the establishment of the new business informatics professorship over five years. Follow-up funding by the University is guaranteed. Learn more de

Research Magazin LICHTGEDANKEN

You can read about the latest research findings in the current online edition of LICHTGEDANKEN on the subject of glass as a material and glass research at the University of Jena.


University Manager and Research Spokesperson of the year 2022

University President Prof. Walter Rosenthal is “University Manager of the Year 2022”. The physician, who has been in office in Jena since 2014, received the annual award from the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” and the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development for the strategic reorientation of the University he initiated and the focus of research on important topics for the future. The entire region benefits from the successful development of the University under his leadership, the jury said. In addition, the jury named further criteria that led to the awarding of the title to Prof. Rosenthal, saying that the President had driven forward the structural development of the University and made sustainability a top priority. Learn more

Head of Communications and Marketing Katja Bär has been voted Research Spokesperson of the Year 2022 in the German-speaking world. She received the most votes in the category “Universities & Research Institutes” in the online election, which is awarded by the German communications associations BdKom (Bundesverband der Kommunikatoren – Federal Association of Communicators), DPRG (Deutsche Public Relations Gesellschaft – German Public Relations Society) and GPRA (Gesellschaft der führenden PR- und Kommunikationsagenturen – Society of leading PR and communications agencies). Bär's exemplary science communication and her contribution to the quality discourse in the industry were honoured. Katja Bär moved from Mannheim to the University of Jena in 2019 and has also been vice-president of the Federal Association of University Communication since last year. Learn more

New members of the University Supervisory Board

The University Supervisory Board has three new members: the Secretary General of the Max Planck Society, Dr Simone Schwanitz, the former Chancellor of the University of Cologne, Dr Michael Stückradt, and the Managing Director of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the University of Jena, Dr Kristina von Rhein. The new members were elected by the Senate and confirmed by the Thuringian Ministry of Science. Their term of office is four years. The University Supervisory Board mainly makes recommendations on profile building and setting priorities in research and teaching, as well as on the further development of the range of study programmes. Learn more de

Two university scientists among the world's most cited researchers

The bioinformatician Prof. Bas E. Dutilh and the physician Prof. Andreas Hochhaus are among the world's most cited scientists in their field. This is confirmed by the current ranking "Highly Cited Researchers 2022", published by Clarivate Analytics.

Dutilh holds an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship at the University of Jena and is a member of the Cluster of Excellence "Balance of the Microverse", where he combines his work on virus discovery with his line of research on modelling the microbiome. The bioinformatician is known for using Big Data in his research and works on systems where abundant data is available, like the microbiomes of oceans and humans.

At the University Hospital Jena, Hochhaus researches molecular mechanisms of haematological diseases as well as principles of action of new substance classes for the treatment of leukaemia. In recent years, research results on the use of innovative drugs for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia have attracted particular interest. Learn more

Nobel Peace Prize: Memorial co-founder is visiting professor in Jena

This year's Nobel Peace Prize goes in equal parts to the lawyer Ales Bialiatski (Belarus), the Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) and the human rights organisation Memorial (Russia). On behalf of "Memorial", University President Prof. Walter Rosenthal congratulated the Russian historian, publicist, and translator Prof. Irina Scherbakowa on this award. She is a founding member of the association, which was established in 1987 as the first independent, civil society organisation in the Soviet Union, and currently teaches as a visiting professor at the University of Jena. "You are a role model for the members and affiliates of our University," Rosenthal said. "You have shown how the courage of a few can have an impact on the whole world. Thank you for your courage and perseverance!" Learn more

Prof. Christoph Steinbeck is the new Vice President for Digitalisation

In order to meet the increased importance of digitalisation and to better coordinate the fields of digitisation, IT infrastructure and IT security in the future, the University of Jena has established a new vicepresident office for digitalisation. Prof. Christoph Steinbeck (photo) was appointed to the post, which he took up on 1 August. The Professor of Analytical Chemistry, Cheminformatics and Chemometrics is in charge of the University Computer Centre and the Office for Digital Transformation. He will also chair the university's CIO committee and play a decisive role in major digital projects at the University of Jena. Learn more

Advising politicians

Professors Thomas Kamradt, Stefan Lorkowski and Jürgen Popp from the University have been appointed to the 15-member strategic advisory board "Gesundes Leben und Gesundheitswirtschaft" (Healthy Living and Health Economy) of the Thuringian Ministry of Science. The appointment period ends on 31 December 2025. The nutrition scientists Prof. Stefan Lorkowski and associate Prof. Volker Böhm have been appointed members of the Commission for Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Foods and Allergies (EDNA) of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) for the appointment period 2022-2026.

Renate Adam passed away

On 15 November, the long-time head of the Rector's/President's Office, Dr Renate Adam, passed away completely unexpectedly at the age of 62. The doctor of biology had only finished her service at the end of April and switched to partial retirement after 30 years of acting with diplomatic skill and persuasiveness as a “translator” of decisions and wishes between the management team and university members – in both directions. The entire University and its Friends and Patrons, of which Renate Adam was a member of the board of directors for many years, will honour her memory. Learn more

Christian Forstner passed away

Private lecturer Christian Forstner passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on 13 July at the age of 47. Forstner had been a Heisenberg Fellow at the Ernst-Haeckel-Haus since 2019 and conducted research on knowledge circulation, among other topics. The physicist and science historian from the University of Jena was chairman of the History of Physics section of the German Physical Society. He had initiated and helped realise the application of the city of Jena for the award as "Historical Site of Physics", which was awarded to the city of Jena in May 2021. The University mourns the loss of this long-time colleague. Learn more de


Golden Approbation Medicine Golden Approbation Medicine Image: Nadine Ritter


Golden Anniversaries 2022

  • 7 May: Ceremony Golden Diploma Mathematics 

  • 2 July: Ceremony Golden Approbation Medicin (1970)

  • 14 September: Ceremony Golden Approbation Medicine (1972)

All alumni who meet regularly in their seminar groups and who have an anniversary coming up, be it silver or gold matriculation or diploma, state examination or doctorate, are welcome to contact the Alumni Office.

Alumni Portraits of the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences

The Dean's Office of the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences would like to publish alumni portraits on the Faculty's website to help students and prospective students with their study and career orientation. We would be delighted if you would support us in our endeavour. Simply fill out the online questionnaire and tell us about your experiences in your studies and career - and your own alumni portrait is ready. No matter whether you have a Bachelor's, Master's or doctorate and no matter whether you have been working for several years or just a few months: Every experience report is welcome, because we are interested in your story. 

More information and online questionnaire:

If you have any questions, you can also contact:

Call for applications: Initial and Continuing Vocational Training Worldwide - International Cooperation and South-South-North Partnership for Innovation (ProETIT)

We are pleased to inform you about the call for applications for TU Berlin‘s international alumni seminar ”Initial and Continuing Vocational Training Worldwide - International Cooperation and South-South-North Partnership for Innovation (ProETIT)” taking place at Universidad de Sancti Spíritus "José Martí Pérez" (UNISS), Cuba from 4 to 10 June 2023.

International cooperation in vocational education and training flourished in the second decade of the 21st century and is of increasing importance, especially for developing and emerging countries. Cuba has decades of experience in international cooperation and scientific exchange with developing countries, as well as a long history of cooperation with Germany. The country itself is in a process of social and economic transformation. In the seminar, we are looking to address some of the most pressing issues related to education and training, learn about Cuba's past experience and discuss the need for and challenges of future concepts for education and training.

The seminar brings together alumni of German institutions of higher education and research who reside outside Germany and are engaged in matters of qualification or professional education and training.

The seminar will be held in English and is open to alumni of Jena University without German residence. For detailed information about the program, the prerequisites for participation, funding and the opportunity to apply please refer to: link

The application deadline is 12 February 2023.


Career Days Career Days Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

Reasons to come to Jena again

Jena Career Days bring students and companies together

Supporting students on their way into professional life is the goal of the Jena Career Days. Getting to know companies, making contacts - all this is possible at the career fair on 9 and 10 May 2023 as part of the Jena Career Days. The university is offering students a low-threshold opportunity to talk to numerous regional and national companies from a wide range of industries. In addition, companies will provide exclusive insights into practice throughout the week in interactive and exciting workshops organised by JenVision e.V. - Studentische Unternehmensberatung. Learn more de

A pouch nest illustrates animal constructions

The pouch nest of a yellow-rumped cacique (Cacicus cela) now enriches the special exhibition “KonstrukTier – animal constructions” at the Phyletic Museum of the University of Jena, which is on display until 26 February 2023. The bird, which is about the size of a blackbird and belongs to the family of Icteridae, builds its intricately woven nest from thin twigs and plant fibres. The nest is about half a metre long and shaped like a club: narrow at the top and thickening into a ball at the bottom. Jena zoologist Dr Gunnar Brehm found the nest during an excursion in Peru, under one of the breeding trees in whose branches dozens of the conspicuous pouch nests usually hang. In the Phyletic Museum, the nest and two bird skins complement the exhibition, which presents animal construction achievements. Learn moreExternal link

Restoration of the university prison brings new insights into its painting

200 years ago, Martin Disteli, a student imprisoned in the Karzer (detention cell) of the University of Jena, is said to have painted his cell with blood, excrement and other organic materials – according to a widespread legend. That this contains numerous errors is evident from results found during the restoration of the student prison. The freelance restorer and Karzer specialist Katharina Heiling (photo) was commissioned by the Custody with this task. Among other things, she was able to prove that Disteli painted neither with blood nor with excrement, but with colours common 200 years ago. She also discovered further, previously unknown drawings on one of the cell walls. After the restoration is completed, the Karzer will be opened to the public from time to time. Until then, a film about the restoration provides insights into the room painted by Disteli with numerous caricatures. Learn more

Summer Festival of the University and Classics in the Botanical Garden

We look forward with you to the next summer festival on Schiller Day, 30 June 2023. On the following day, the Botanical Garden of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena will be transformed into a garden of classical music.


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Friedrich Schiller University Jena | Winter 2022/23 | Communications and Marketing | Alumni | Dr Nadine Ritter