Press release

Dr Karsten Wurr assumes office as new Administrative Director of the AWI

[02. February 2015] 

Bremerhaven, 2 February 2015. The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) welcomes its new Administrative Director. Today in Bremerhaven, Dr Karsten Wurr will officially succeed Dr Heike Wolke, who transferred to Berlin’s Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in March of last year.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Dr Karsten Wurr, a seasoned administrative expert, on board – a colleague who knows from his past work how complex and challenging the administrative concerns of an internationally active research centre are,” said Prof Karin Lochte from the Board of Directors prior to the official handover.

For Karsten Wurr, accepting his new appointment at the AWI means a move from the particle-acceleration centre Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg to Bremerhaven. During his time at DESY, Wurr initially led the Technology Transfer Department before taking over as Chief Division Manager of the Administration in 2009. He was also put in charge of erecting the new Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB).

Now the first task for Wurr, who was born in Schleswig-Holstein, will consist in familiarising himself with the AWI and all of its departments. “My real priority is to get to know my colleagues, since their ideas, expertise and drive are what form the core of the AWI. In the first weeks and months, my main tasks will be to listen, observe, note our strong suits and try to identify areas where a change would do us good. The next step will involve working together to re-examine those processes and fields of activity where the AWI could do a better job administratively speaking,” stated the 48-year-old shortly before assuming his office.

Wurr describes his approach to good academic administration as follows: “The fundamental duty of the administration is to provide a reliable framework and optimal resources for the research pursued at the AWI – and to maintain those standards in the face of changing conditions.”

For example, one comparatively new administrative challenge is the great need for coordination, which can be attributed to the AWI’s increasing cooperation with universities and other German and international research partners. The same principle applies in terms of combining and reconciling the diverse contributions and financing requirements of the federal government, the federal states and other sponsors.    

Nevertheless, Wurr looks forward to the work that lies ahead: “Not only the AWI’s research topics, but also how close it is to the ocean are what appeal to me. Also, the AWI colleagues I’ve met so far have been consistently friendly and extremely competent. Throw in the satellite sites in Potsdam, Helgoland and Sylt, and you’ve got the perfect combination!” enthuses the new Administrative Director.  


Information for members of the press

If you have any questions or would like to request an interview, Ms Sina Löschke (Tel: 0471 4831-2008; E-Mail: medien(at) from the Department of Communications and Media Relations will be pleased to assist you.


The Alfred Wegener Institute pursues research in the Arctic, Antarctic and the oceans of the middle and high latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany, while also providing essential infrastructure for the international scientific community, including the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 Research Centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.




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Das Institut

Das Alfred-Wegener-Institut forscht in den Polarregionen und Ozeanen der mittleren und hohen Breiten. Als eines von 19 Forschungszentren der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft koordiniert es Deutschlands Polarforschung und stellt Schiffe wie den Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern und Stationen für die internationale Wissenschaft zur Verfügung.