New Vice President of Digital Transformation

Gerhard Schneider, Director of the IT Center of the University of Freiburg, takes up the post on 1st December 2018



Rector Hans-Jochen Schiewer (left) and the newly elected Vice President of Digital Transformation, Gerhard Schneider. Photo: Thomas Kunz

Freiburg, Nov 21, 2018

The Senate has elected Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider, holder of the Chair of Communications Systems and Director of the IT Center, to first Vice President of Digital Transformation of the University of Freiburg. The IT specialist will assume his new post on 1st December 2018. The role of vice president is a secondary responsibility. “Digital Transformation will fundamentally change research, teaching and the University in the coming years,” emphasizes Rector Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer. “This is why we are enshrining this central field of responsibility in the university administration: the task of the new Vice President will be to establish data and information structures as well as digital workflows that decisively support and promote research and teaching at the University of Freiburg.”

On assuming his new role, Schneider intends first to tackle aspects of the management of research data, as the responsible use of data inventories is a core competence of a university: findings from experiments or field trips are published, however the large fundamental quantities of data are often inaccessible to the public. So use by third parties or reuse at a later date are impossible. Besides establishing reliable procedures for long-term storage, being able to retrieve and interpret data are both equally important – especially if they were stored on old system environments or using licensed software. “Research infrastructures such as supercomputers, fast data networks or large storage systems are indispensable tools for science, as new findings can be obtained from simulation calculations or rapid analysis of large quantities of data,” explains Schneider. Today, they also enable the use of modern IT-based methods right up to concepts from artificial intelligence. This alters the processing of scientific questions in all disciplines – Digital Transformation – with consequences for education or use of resources, Schneider explains, “These changes will be at the heart of the new Vice President’s work.”

Gerhard Schneider studied Mathematics and Physics at the Universities of Erlangen and Oxford (UK). He gained his PhD at the University of Essen in 1981 and qualified as a Professor of Mathematics there in 1988. From 1989 he was Head of Data Processing there at the newly-established Institute for Experimental Mathematics (IEM). In 1992 Schneider was invited to take over the Chair of Decentralized Systems at the University of Karlsruhe, where he was also the Deputy Head of the University Computer Center. In 1997 he became the CEO of the Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftliche Datenverarbeitung in Göttingen, which manages the university’s computing center, and in 1999 was appointed to the Chair of Practical Computer Science at the University of Göttingen. Since 2002 he has held the Chair of Communications Systems and been the Director of the IT Center of the University of Freiburg. Schneider, whose research focuses on long-term archiving and research data management, has declined invitations to move to Rostock and Hamburg.

Gerhard Schneider’s CV

Contact:Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider IT Services University of Freiburg Tel.: +49 761 203-4625 E-Mail:


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