Press releases – 2022

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Nov 14 2022

And the winner is ... 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching 

Lecturers in Spanish, Bioscience and Educational Science awarded 

FRANKFURT. The 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching was presented at Goethe University Frankfurt for the 21st time. A Spanish lecturer, a bioscience professor and an educational science researcher were recognized for their work. The prize, which is awarded jointly by the Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation and Goethe University and was bestowed in early November, aims to draw attention to exemplary teaching and highlight its importance. The candidates are nominated by the students.

The 1st prize of 15,000 euros went to Dr. Marta Muñoz-Aunión from the Institute of Romance Languages and Literatures. The 10,000-euro 2nd prize went to Professor Paul Dierkes, who holds the Opel-Zoo endowed professorship in Zoo Biology at Goethe University. Rounding out the awards, the 3rd prize (5,000 euros) went to Friedrich Wolf from the Institute of Social Pedagogy and Adult Education.

“The diversity at universities has been increasing for many years. This is a good thing, because our society needs lots of clever and creative minds who each bring their different perspectives and experiences. But this also increases the demands on teaching", says Ayse Asar, State Secretary in the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts. “The 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching places the focus on students' success in learning. This year's award winners motivate their students with their ideas, are very practical, innovative, sustainable, and work with digital and hybrid learning formats – a forward-looking development that we also support financially with our program entitled 'High quality in studies and teaching, good framework conditions for studies' (Hohe Qualität in Studium und Lehre, gute Rahmenbedingungen des Studiums, or QuiS). I heartily congratulate the winners on their success."

“Good university teaching deserves much more attention", emphasized Professor Christiane Thompson, Vice President of Education at Goethe University, on the occasion of the 21st presentation of the 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching. “After all, without high-quality education, there can be no cutting-edge research. The 1822 University Prize is an opportunity to recognize the great importance of teaching and to thank those who take on this task with exceptional joy, creativity and perseverance", said Thompson.

Dr. Ingo Wiedemeier, CEO of Frankfurter Sparkasse: “The Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation has supported the 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching for more than twenty years. This is not only a financial expression of our appreciation for the outstanding commitment of the lecturers. We also provide this funding out of our deep conviction that Goethe University, with its excellent reputation, is an extremely important factor in the attractiveness and prosperity of the entire region."

As experts in teaching quality, the students were consulted for their opinions again this year. They play an important role in the 1822 Prize from the very beginning, because only they have the right to nominate lecturers. In 2022, the students made good use of this right once again and submitted 15 nominations from eight faculties for consideration by the jury. A committee that includes all status groups then decided on the prizewinners. The criteria for the awards are outstanding quality of the courses, innovative ideas in teaching and particular commitment in the supervision of students. The research focus, crossover between theory and practice and extra dedication in the introductory phase all have a positive effect on the results. The students also played an important role in the award ceremony itself. Trainee teacher Janina Müller and philosophy student Valentin Teufel moderated the event, science slammer Luca Neuperti, who is studying sociology and computer science at Goethe University, gave an entertaining presentation about student learning under pandemic conditions, and the speeches in praise of the winners also came from students. The Philip Wibbing Trio provided musical accompaniment.

The 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching was first awarded in 2002. Goethe University and the Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation jointly created the prize to raise awareness of the importance of innovative university teaching and to make the work of outstanding lecturers more visible. The Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation sponsors the first and third prizes totaling 20,000 euros, and the second prize (10,000 euros) is financed by Goethe University. The prize is awarded annually.

The recipients

Dr. Marta Muñoz-Aunión, who was awarded the 1st prize, is a Spanish lecturer at the Institute of Romance Languages and Literatures in Faculty 10. A total of 150 students signed her nomination – a clear sign that her teaching meets with strong approval. Her students praise the engaging and motivating nature of her classes, which increase their enthusiasm for the Spanish language. Dr. Muñoz-Aunión is very approachable and open to feedback and suggestions for improvement and adapts her teaching to the requirements. The jury was particularly impressed by the innovative formats Muñoz-Aunión offers, such as film workshops and writing and journalism projects. This was the third time that she has been nominated.

The 2nd prize went to Professor Paul Dierkes, Executive Director of the Department of Didactics – Biological Sciences and holder of the Opel-Zoo endowed professorship in Zoo Biology. Dierkes is described in the student nomination as being particularly approachable and open. He was already using online teaching methods before the pandemic and was, therefore, able to support the students well during the pandemic restrictions. His work in connection with the Opel-Zoo also gives the students valuable practical experience and insights. The behavioral biology course, which he established, is extremely popular with students. In his committee work, he is involved in coordination with the student community on the redesign of the bachelor's degree in biosciences.

The 3rd prize was awarded to educational scientist Friedrich Wolf. The jury recognized him above all for his innovative teaching methods, which he was already using extensively before the pandemic. The students noted in particular that he gave them courage and self-confidence in his courses as well as enthusiasm for his subject. In his courses, even content that appears uninteresting at first glance is filled with life. As a member of the media working group in the Faculty of Educational Sciences, he played an important role in implementing digital and hybrid teaching and provided for innovative teaching formats.

In addition to the winners, the following lecturers were also nominated:
Dr. Rupert Abele, Faculty 14 (Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmacy)
Dr. Mahmoud Bassiouni, Faculty 03 (Social Sciences)
Dr. Johannes Friedrich Diehl, Faculty 06 (Protestant Theology)
Professor Robert Fürst, Faculty 14 (Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmacy)
Dr. Mariam Kamarauli, Faculty 09 (Linguistics, Cultures, and Arts)
Maria Kofer, M.A., Faculty 09 (Linguistics, Cultures, and Arts)
Apl. Professor Lukas Ohly, Faculty 06 (Protestant Theology)
Samantha Ruppel, M.A., Faculty 03 (Social Sciences)
Professor Alexander Vogel, Faculty 11 (Geosciences and Geography)
Professor Johannes Völz, Faculty 10 (Modern Languages)
Dr. Marianne Wiedenmann, Faculty 04 (Educational Sciences)
Dr. Dirk Wiegandt, Faculty 08 (Philosophy and History)

Further information:
Dr. Elizabeth Kovach
Goethe University
Tel: +49 (0)69 79817258 

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,


Nov 11 2022

Kick-off for international "WOW Physics!" conference a resounding success

First conference for female physicists at Goethe University inspires almost 1000 participants worldwide 

The international conference "WOW Physics! – Women in the World of Physics!", initiated by a female physics professor at Goethe University, brings outstanding female physicists onto the virtual stage and inspires participants of all ages and from all continents with its diverse program. 

FRANKFURT. Women still constitute a minority when it comes to the field of physics; in Germany, only about 13% of physics professors are female, and the situation is not much better in other Western countries. There are many reasons for this, one of which is certainly the lack of role models. Giving them a stage and making the work of female physicists visible worldwide was the goal of this week's "WOW Physics! – Women in the World of Physics!" conference. The international event was held online, and made its debut at Frankfurt's Goethe University. Following the opening remarks by Germany's Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger and Hessian Minister for Science and the Arts Angela Dorn, Goethe University President Prof. Enrico Schleiff emphasized the importance of the conference's format: "The incredibly high number of participants illustrates the enormous importance and the outstanding contribution made by women in physics, and in the natural sciences in general! It gives us a sense of how important such events and support measures are, and how significant such networking events can be, especially in this field."

At 950, the number of participants exceeded the expectations of the conference organizers. "We are completely overwhelmed by this response and by the enthusiasm with which the event was received by the participants," says Laura Sagunski, professor at Goethe University's Institute for Theoretical Physics and conference initiator. She and her team were able to attract several renowned female scientists from all subfields of physics, who gave lectures at the 3-day event.  Among those presenting their research were Laura H. Greene, who serves as one of the advisors to the U.S. president, and Melissa Franklin, who was involved in the discovery of the heaviest elementary particle known to date. Since numerous students and even pupils had registered for the conference, the aim was to present the content in the most comprehensible way possible. 

There was also room for non-scientific topics: Dorothée Weber-Bruls, for instance, recounted her path to becoming a patent attorney, which she started during her doctorate in physics, with intermediate stops at television and in management consulting. As president of Germany's Physical Society (Physikalischer Verein: Gesellschaft für Bildung und Wissenschaft) – the first woman to hold the position in the association's near 200-year history – physics education is a topic that is especially close to her heart: "My goal is to spark interest in the subject and to nurture talent." The conference also included a roundtable discussion on the paths taken by different women in science. The session was moderated by Jessica Wade, who is best known for her contributions to Wikipedia about scientists from underrepresented groups – a commitment that was recently awarded with the prestigious British Empire Medal. In addition to the challenges the panelists encountered at various career stages, the debate also offered practical tips. As a result, participants are able to make their virtual way not only home but potentially also into a future in physics, armed with both new knowledge as well as a large dose of encouragement.

Conference information: WOW Physics! (9-November 11, 2022):Overview · Indico (

Further information
Prof. Dr. Laura Sagunski
Institute for Theoretical Physics
Goethe University
Tel: +49 69 798 47888
Twitter: @DMGW _Frankfurt

Editor: Dr. Phyllis Mania, Science Communication Officer, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13001, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,


Nov 11 2022

Festive event marks the anniversary of the interreligious institution 

A unique place for deceleration: Goethe University’s “House of Silence”  

FRANKFURT. Although the building on Goethe University's Westend Campus was inaugurated in 2010, due to the Corona pandemic, its tenth anniversary had to be cancelled. Making up for that, a “10+2" celebration was held on November 10, 2022. The "House of Silence" is no mosque or church and it is not only aimed at believers. Instead, it serves as a place for all those seeking a moment of peace and contemplation in university life. In their welcoming speeches, both Ayse Asar, state secretary in the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts and one of the House's founding members – it was inaugurated during her time at Goethe University – and Goethe University President Prof. Enrico Schleiff paid tribute to the House of Silence as a unique place of diversity and tolerance within the university setting. 

"When the House of Silence first opened its doors on October 5, 2010, it did so out of a deliberate choice to set up a space on the Westend Campus that is equally open to members of all religions," Schleiff emphasized, adding that, “Anyone looking for denominational symbolism will be searching in vain. The aim of the House of Silence is to practice openness, tolerance and pluralism under one roof. True to its name, this openness is not limited to the practice of religion alone, but also applies to meditation, for example. As a university place of deceleration and contemplation, it is aimed at the entire university public: After all, the pandemic-related increase in the use of video conferencing, digital teaching or e-mail – which has meanwhile become a real-time medium – contribute significantly to an acceleration of our society and our everyday life, making places of deceleration more valuable than ever. In this respect, the conceptual expansion of functions ensured that the House of Silence remains relevant also in times like these."

"It is impossible to imagine Goethe University's Westend Campus without the 'House of Silence,'" said Ayse Asar. "When it was built 12 years ago, the main priority was to create adequate spaces for prayer. But to me, the 'House of Silence' is so much more: It offers the university, whose students come from 130 different countries of origin (spanning all five continents), the chance to develop new forward-looking ways for communal work and life. In so doing, it makes an extraordinary contribution to the university's representation of academic living and learning culture, on the one hand, and to opening up the possibility of intercultural dialog, personality development and an independent structuring of communal life, on the other. After all, we need bright and creative minds to tackle the challenges of the present and the future with empathy and inquisitiveness. That is why it is all the more gratifying to see that this very concept has been working for 12 years already. I offer up my warmest congratulations on this anniversary and would like to wish all university members continued inspiring encounters in the 'House of Silence'."

The idea for an interreligious place first came up during Goethe University's move to the Westend Campus. The "House of Silence" was designed by Munich-based architectural firm Karl und Probst: It features high walls, an interesting lighting design and a work of art in gold. Instead of the university running the house, it is operated by an "Association for the Promotion of Interreligious Dialog at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main", which was specifically founded for this purpose. Both the association and its board are made up of representatives of all religions.

The anniversary was marked with an event in Goethe University's ceremonial hall. In his speech, Prof. Rudolf Steinberg, Chairman of the Association's Board of Trustees and one of the institution's co-founders, referred to the House of Silence's genesis and development, emphasizing that, "As a constitutional lawyer, I am convinced that this form of religiosity has its place in a secular university." The keynote address on the topic of "Spaces of Silence and the Struggle for the Religion-Sensitive University" was given by religious studies scholar Prof. Alexander-Kenneth Nagel of the University of Göttingen. For the concluding panel discussion on "The Truth of Others", moderated by Prof. Joachim Valentin, Chairman of the Council of Religions Frankfurt (Rat der Religionen Frankfurt), Nagel was joined by Prof. Anja Middelbeck-Varwick, Prof. Christian Wiese and Prof. Armina Omerika (all Goethe University). The closing remarks were delivered by Rania Boujana, chairwoman of the Islamic university community. Ahead of the festivities, students of the religious study foundations had held a prayer in the House of Silence.

More on the topic: UniReport interview with Prof. Rudolf Steinberg on the “House of Silence" Nice and quiet: A place for deceleration on campus | Aktuelles aus der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (

Editor: Dr. Dirk Frank, Press Officer, PR & Communication Office, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13753, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,


Nov 11 2022

New endowed professorship at Goethe University Frankfurt to research social transformation of the working world due to digitalization

Understanding the digital age 

A new endowed professorship in Digital Transformation and Work will enhance the social science research at the Goethe University and build on the tradition of critical social theory. The contract was signed on November 8, 2022, by the two donors ProLife Foundation and Frankfurt University of Labour along with Goethe University.

 FRANKFURT. Digital information, systems and culture have long been key parts of our day-to-day lives and have fundamentally changed the way we work and do business. Success in business is determined, for example, by whether the maximum amount of data is gathered and algorithms are expertly managed, whether the greatest attention is attracted from potential customers and whether offerings are delivered in real time. How is this change occurring and what are the social consequences of the transformation from the industrial to the digital age – for society and particularly for business and the world of work? How do new technologies change social practices and work processes, public opinion and forms of corporate participation and co-determination? The new endowed professorship at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt will explore these questions in depth.

The professorship is financed by an endowment fund from the ProLife Foundation and the University of Labour, an institution supported by the IG Metall metalworkers' union and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). The contract was signed yesterday in the presence of the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Christopher Daase, by Jürgen Eckert, CEO of the ProLife Foundation, Professor Martin Allespach, President of the University of Labour, Rainer Gröbel, Chancellor of the University of Labour, and Professor Enrico Schleiff, President of the Goethe University. 

Eckert explained the objective of the new endowment fund: “With this professorship, we want to further understanding of the social consequences of digitization. We can see the technical changes that are coming to the world of work all around us – but we are missing the narrative around what that actually means for people in their working world and living environment". Gröbel went on to say: “From our point of view, this is not about rejecting the digital transformation, but about the question of how we can impart knowledge and skills to deal with the transformation processes to students and employees in companies." The donors emphasized that in choosing the Goethe University they are consciously aiming to draw on the tradition of critical social theory and develop the university's strengths in social philosophy and social research.

“We are very pleased with the trust placed in Goethe University to make significant contributions to solving pressing global challenges in research and teaching", said University President Schleiff. “The fund also gives us the opportunity to strengthen our profile area of Orders and Transmissions, in which colleagues from various faculties and centers at the Goethe University are primarily addressing the question: What does the fundamental digital transformation and its consequences mean for the future of people, nature and the environment?"

“For the Faculty of Social Sciences", says the dean of the faculty, Professor Christopher Daase, “the new professorship offers the holder the opportunity to sharpen their profile in critical social research and demonstrate their political and social relevance."

The ProLife Foundation and the University of Labour already have links to the Goethe University and the Institute for Social Research, the Sigmund Freud Institute, and the Frobenius Institute through their project funding. The endowed professorship will increase the collaboration between the Goethe University and the University of Labour.

Images to download:

Caption: The contract for the new endowed professorship in Digital Transformation and Work has been signed: (from left) donors Jürgen Eckert, CEO of the ProLife Foundation , Rainer Gröbel, Chancellor of the University of Labour, and Professor Martin Allespach, President of the University of Labor (2nd from right), and Professor Christiane Thompson, Vice President of Teaching, Study and Continuing Education, University President Professor Enrico Schleiff (center) and Professor Christopher Daase, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (right) (photo: Uwe Dettmar) 

Editor: Pia Barth, Public Relations Officer, PR & Communications Office, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Tel. + 49 (0)69 798 12481, Fax + 49 (0)69 798 763


Nov 11 2022

Axel A. Weber to succeed Otmar Issing as Chairman of the Board of Trustees 

Change at the top of the House of Finance

After 14 years as chairman of the House of Finance’s (HoF) Board of Trustees, Otmar Issing will be retiring at the end of this year. He will be succeeded by economist and Board of Trustees member Axel A. Weber.

FRANKFURT. As of January 1, 2023, Prof. Dr. Drs. h.c. Axel A. Weber will take over the position of Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the House of Finance. He succeeds Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Otmar Issing, who held the position since the HoF’s inauguration in 2008 and played a key role in establishing the House of Finance as a place for interdisciplinary, finance-related cutting-edge research, policy advice and continuing education.

Axel A. Weber was elected his successor at a Board of Trustees meeting on November 8, 2022. His scientific career and work are a perfect fit for the dialogue between science, politics and financial practice, as lived by and in the House of Finance.

After studying economics at the University of Constance, Axel A. Weber completed his habilitation at the University of Siegen. His academic career also included stations at the University of Bonn, Goethe University Frankfurt as well as the University of Cologne, where he held the Chair of International Economics from 2001 to 2004. During this time, Weber also served as member of the German Council of Economic Experts and the scientific advisory board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, the central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany, among others. In April 2004, the economist took over as President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, a post he held until spring 2011. From May 2012 to April 2022, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS Group AG.

Otmar Issing, who will hand over the baton to Axel A. Weber at the end of the year, is certain that the future of the House of Finance is in the best hands with his successor, who, just like himself, is familiar with all the House of Finance’s areas of activity: "I am delighted that with Axel A. Weber we have been able to win over an academic for the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees who combines the experience of excellent researcher, top manager and banker in one person."

When he leaves office at the end of the year, Otmar Issing will hand over a well-functioning house that is home to, among others, two university departments from the Faculties of Law as well as Economics and Business, graduate and advanced education institutions and several research institutes or units, including the Leibniz Institute SAFE – itself an example of how under Ottmar Issing’s patronage, the HoF has been able to develop as an interdisciplinary incubator of finance research and knowledge transfer in politics and society.

The designated successor, Axel A. Weber, is looking forward to supporting and further developing the House of Finance, whose concept of interdisciplinary, internationally networked research and teaching is more relevant than ever, in its contribution to tackling the challenging issues of the present and the future: "In Frankfurt am Main, we need excellent finance research to provide policy-makers and the financial sector with orientation and know-how throughout the ongoing transformation processes, and we must continue to foster the education and training of qualified young professionals in this field. To that end, we intend to make even greater use of the opportunities offered by a comprehensive university in the future."

Images for download:

Image 1: Professor Otmar Issing will step down as Chairman of House of Finance’s Board of Trustees after 14 years. (Photo: Uwe Dettmar)
Image 2: In the future, economist Prof. Axel A. Weber will hold the reins at the HoF's Board of Trustees. (Photo: UBS)

Additional information
Prof. Dr. Rainer Klump
Executive Director
House of Finance
Goethe University
Tel: +49(0)69 7983400

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,