Johann-Dietrich ‘Jan’ Woerner has been elected as President of the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) on 19 March 2021. He took up duty with immediate effect.
Previously, from July 2015 until February 2021 he served as Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA). From March 2007 to June 2015, he was the 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 of 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 as a 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 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 honors of Knight of the French Légion d’Honneur.
Jan Woerner was a member of the administrative boards of École Centrale Paris, École Centrale de Lyon, TU Berlin, the Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, the Arts and Music University in Frankfurt.
Before joining ESA as Director General, Jan Woerner was head of the German delegation to ESA from 2007 to 2015 and served as Chairman of the ESA Council from 2012 to 2014.