Germany's main research funding body has chosen historian Peter Strohschneider as its president for the next 3 years. The 56-year-old professor of medieval studies will replace engineer Matthias Kleiner as head of the German Research Foundation (DFG), which has a €2.4 billion annual budget.
Strohschneider was elected by university professors and researchers at the DFG's general meeting this morning in Dortmund. He beat two other candidates: pharmacologist Martin Lohse and chemist Katharina Kohse-Höinghaus, who would have been the first woman to head the DFG. The 39-member DFG senate had recommended all three candidates unanimously without indicating any preference. The general meeting also voted in two new vice-presidents: dermatologist Leena Kaarina Bruckner-Tuderman and engineer Frank Allgöwer.
Born in Stuttgart, Strohschneider studied German and history at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, where he is also currently a professor. He has already left his mark on German science policy: From 2006 until 2011, Strohschneider was president of the Council of Science and Humanities, which advises the federal and state governments on the development of science, research, and the universities. In that post he was involved in the first and second round of the German Excellence Initiative, for which a third round of winners was announced last month .
Strohschneider will take office on 1 January 2013.