This blog is updated with original content from Jan Woerner, who became Director General (DG) of ESA, the European Space Agency, on 1 July 2015. All posts are written by Mr Woerner himself. The ESA Communication Department operates this blog on behalf of the DG and is responsible for editing, production and community management.
About the author
Johann-Dietrich ‘Jan’ Woerner became the ESA Director General on 1 July 2015.
Previously, from March 2007 to June 2015, he served as Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
Jan Woerner was born in Kassel, Germany, in 1954. He studied civil engineering at the Technical University (TU) Berlin and TU Darmstadt, from where he graduated in 1985. In 1982, as part of his studies, he spent one year in Japan, investigating earthquake safety for nuclear power plants. Until 1990, Mr Woerner worked for consulting civil engineers Koenig und Heunisch.
In 1990 he returned to TU Darmstadt, where he was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering and took over as Head of the Test and Research Institute. Before being elected as President of TU Darmstadt in 1995, he held the position of Dean of the newly established Civil Engineering Faculty. Jan Woerner headed the university from 1995 to 2007 and succeeded in making it the first autonomous university of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Jan Woerner has been awarded numerous prizes and positions, such as the Prize of the Organisation of Friends of Technical University Darmstadt for ‘outstanding scientific performance’. He was also appointed to the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and to the Convention for Technical Sciences (acatech) and is a representative of the Technical Sciences Section of the Leopoldina, the National Academy of Sciences of Germany.
Jan Woerner has received honorary doctorates from New York State University at Buffalo (USA), technical universities of Bucharest (Romania) and Mongolia, the Saint Petersburg University for Economics and Finance (Russia) and École Centrale de Lyon (France). He has also been awarded the honour of Knight of the French Légion d’Honneur.
Jan Woerner was Vice President of the Helmholtz Association and also was a member of various national and international supervisory bodies, advisory councils and committees. He was a member of the administrative boards of École Centrale Paris, École Centrale de Lyon, TU Berlin, the Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon and the Arts and Music University in Frankfurt, and he has been a member of a number of supervisory boards including Carl Schenck AG, Röhm GmbH, TÜV Rheinland AG and Bilfinger SE.
Furthermore, he was appointed to the energy expert group of the German Federal Government.
Before joining ESA as Director General, Jan Woerner was also head of the German delegation to ESA from 2007 to 2015 and served as Chairman of the ESA Council from 2012 to 2014.