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An infrastructure and research centre for data and information in the life sciences.

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Dr. Dietrich Nelle

Thursday, 29.09.2016

Transformation process gets underway with new management – ZB MED looks to the future

The Board Of Trustees of ZB MED – Leibniz Information Centre for Life Sciences has appointed Dr. Dietrich Nelle as ZB MED’s Interim Director, effective as of 1 October 2016. Dr. Nelle previously worked as an Under-Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

In June, the Joint Science Conference (GWK) announced its decision to discontinue federal and state funding for ZB MED. This followed a recommendation issued by the Leibniz Association Senate. As a result of this decision by the GWK, ZB MED will be removed from the Leibniz Association at the end of this year. In the same month this decision was made, the North Rhine Westphalian Ministry of Innovation, Science, Research and Technology (MIWF NRW) and the German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) announced that they would be making transitional funding available to support a transformation process aimed at turning ZB MED into a modern information centre. The appointment of Dr. Dietrich Nelle as Interim Director, effective 1 October 2016, marks the beginning of the implementation of this transformation process. Dr. Nelle will also be supported by Prof. Klaus Tochtermann, Director of the ZBW – German National Library of Economics, Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. At the request of the Board of Trustees, Prof. Tochtermann will be providing initial guidance to support both the transformation process and ZB MED’s ongoing ties to the Leibniz family. The Interim Director’s task will be to drive forward the strategic realignment of ZB MED. This process of reorganisation includes a plan to appoint a W3-grade professor to head up ZB MED in the future as a joint appointment between ZB MED and Cologne University, a post for which applications have already been invited.
The objective is to successfully pass a scientific evaluation in the future in order to achieve the re-incorporation of ZB MED in the Leibniz Association “The next steps planned for the ZB MED give plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future,” emphasises Dr. Thomas Grünewald, State Secretary at the North Rhine Westphalian Ministry of Innovation, Science, Research and Technology (MIWF NRW), summing up his opinion on what lies ahead.
A qualified lawyer, Dr. Dietrich Nelle has spent many years working in the field of science policy and has held a number of different positions. One example is his role as a founding member of the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures, an organisation to which Prof. Tochtermann also belongs. Before joining ZB MED, Dr. Nelle headed up the Department of Research Organisations at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). “Digitisation is different from all the other challenges we face today– it is a crucial, key topic which plays a decisive role in achieving and maintaining competitiveness,” says the new Interim Director, sketching out the path he intends to follow at ZB MED.