Jan S. Hesthaven to be the new President of KIT
2/29/2024 Insights Article

Jan S. Hesthaven to be the new President of KIT

In January 2024, the Supervisory Board of KIT elected Professor Jan S. Hesthaven as President of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). His predecessor as President, Professor Holger Hanselka, took over as head of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft in mid-2023. The Supervisory Board elected Dr Stefan Schwartze, currently Administrative Director of the German Research Centre for Geosciences Potsdam (GFZ), as Vice President of Finance, Human Resources and Infrastructure. Both election decisions are subject to confirmation by the KIT Senate in February.

Portrait of the new president, Jan S. Hesthaven With Professor Jan S. Hesthaven at the helm, KIT wants to strengthen its international focus.

The Danish mathematician Jan S. Hesthaven (born 1965) is currently Vice President at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland (EPFL), one of the world's leading teaching and research institutions. Hesthaven studied computational physics and completed his doctorate at the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen. With him at the helm, KIT intends to significantly strengthen its international orientation. "Professor Hesthaven has presented a convincing vision for KIT. I am sure that he will advance both the international positioning and the scientific and cultural development of this unique institution," says Professor Michael Kaschke, Chairman of the KIT Supervisory Board. He emphasised Hesthaven's reputation as a scientist as well as his great experiences in the management of large scientific organisations, which makes him an ideal person for the office of President.

Strengthened as a university of excellence in global competition

His predecessor Professor Holger Hanselka headed KIT for around ten years: He took over as President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in August 2023. KIT dedicated a symposium to him as a farewell event. It honoured him as the architect of a united KIT. He regained the title of "University of Excellence" during his term of office.
The Supervisory Board elected Dr Stefan Schwartze as Vice President of Finance, Human Resources and Infrastructure at KIT. Schwartze succeeds Michael Ganß, who is retiring this summer.

Cutting-edge research for medically effective nanoparticles and sustainability

KIT is the research university in the Helmholtz Association and comprises the University of Karlsruhe and the former Karlsruhe Research Centre. It positions itself as the only German university of excellence with large-scale national research. With almost 10,000 employees, more than half of whom work in research, it has a broad base in the natural sciences and engineering, among others. It endeavours to make pioneering research contributions in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For example, KIT researchers are collaborating with industrial companies to develop a process to utilise used lithium-ion batteries more efficiently than has been the case to date. Another team is working on the development of a cancer therapy using nanoparticles.


Ulla Reutner

Dr. Ulla Reutner

Chemist and freelance specialised journalist