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DKFZ: Ursula Weyrich succeeds Josef Puchta as Administrative Director

As of January 1, 2020, Ursula Weyrich will take over as Administrative Director of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Weyrich will succeed Josef Puchta, who reached the legal retirement age on November 30 after more than 23 years on the Management Board at DKFZ.

Ursula Weyrich © DKFZ/Jutta Jung

"DKFZ is the flagship of German cancer research and is one of the very best cancer research centers in the world. I am very grateful for the trust placed in me. The post of Administrative Director of DKFZ is a great challenge and carries considerable responsibility. I am looking forward to continuing Josef Puchta's excellent work," Ursula Weyrich announced. A trained lawyer, she has been Administrative Managing Director of the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research and the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe (FAIR) GmbH in Darmstadt since 2014, before which she was a founding board member of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn. She will assume her new post in Heidelberg in January 2020.

"DKFZ is very lucky to have been able to recruit Ursula Weyrich to succeed Josef Puchta as Administrative Director," remarked Michael Baumann, Chairman of DKFZ's Management Board. "She has an extraordinary breadth of experience in the field of knowledge management, particularly in managing highly complex and international institutions. I am delighted at this excellent choice and am convinced that we will shape DKFZ's future development successfully together."

"I have known Ursula Weyrich for many years as an excellent and highly esteemed colleague and I am certain that she will help develop DKFZ. After more than 23 extremely interesting and challenging years, this certainty makes it easier for me to take my leave. I wish my successor every success in her new tasks," Josef Puchta added.

Josef Puchta, an economist, joined DKFZ in 1996 from the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) in Potsdam-Rehbrücke. His guiding principle as Administrative Director was to provide the general conditions to allow DKFZ to become one of the world's leading institutions. During his time at DKFZ, there were also a number of pioneering construction projects, including the genome research building in the Technology Park, NCT Heidelberg, and most recently the Imaging and Radiooncology Center and the complete refurbishment of DKFZ's high-rise building.

During his period in office, the number of employees at DKFZ almost doubled – from 1,600 to 3,100. Josef Puchta established technology transfer and innovation management at DKFZ and hence put the commercialization of DKFZ's research results on an institutional footing. He played a key role in the founding and development of the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) and German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) sites.


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