The Foundation Staff

At present some 100 people work directly for the Volkswagen Foundation – in the staff divisions of the Secretary General as well as in the Departments Funding, Investment Management and Finance and Administration.


Dr. Henrike Hartmann
Member of the Executive Management
T  +49 (0)511 8381-376
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4376
Additional information

Member of the Executive Management; Head of Funding. Has been in charge of various funding activities in the life sciences

Background: Studied pharmacy at the University of Freiburg, PhD in Pharmacology in Heidelberg and  Mannheim. Three years of postdoctoral experience at the University of Gainesville, Florida, the Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston and the University of Frankfurt. Member of the scientific board of the ‘Zukunftskolleg’ at the University of Konstanz and member of the board of trustees of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research.

Henrike Hartmann is married and has two children.

Subject areas:
Kristina Baae-Lorenz
Assistant | Administrative Support
T  +49 (0)511 8381-375
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4375
Simone Künnecke
Administrative Support Niedersächsisches Vorab
T  +49 511 8381 255
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4255
Dr. Silke Bertram
Head of Team International
T  +49 511 8381-289
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4289
Additional information

Head of the "International Team".

Background: Silke Bertram studied geography and geosciences, with a Master's degree from the University of Uppsala/Sweden, and received her PhD from the University of Wuerzburg in the framework of the research training group "Geoscience Research in Africa. Geological and Geographical Processes at the Continental Margin of Southwest Africa". She previously held positions as coordinator for study affairs at the Department of Geosciences at the University of Bremen and as officer for science policy, research funding and EU affairs at the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony.

Subject areas:
 Earth Sciences  
 Area Studies  
 Environmental Sciences  

Funding initiatives:
 Niedersächsisches Vorab

Eva Biereder
T  +49 (0)511 8381-202
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4202
Dr. Cornelia Soetbeer
Head of Team Challenges - for Academia and Society
T  +49 (0)511 83 81-228
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4228
Additional information

Member of the Executive Team of the Funding Department, Head of the Team "Challenges – for Academia and Society".

Background: Cornelia Soetbeer received a Master degree in Romance and German Philology awarded by the Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel, PhD in Romance Philology, scholarship holder in the Research Training group "Imaginatio borealis. Perception, Reception and Construction of the North". Subsequently she worked as Program Director in charge of the areas "research and teaching" as well as "Sports" at the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung in Essen. She is a member of the international scientific board of the Fondation Maison Suger in Paris as well as the Steering Groups of the European Foundation Centre Research Forum and the Science and Research working group within the Association of German Foundations.

Subject areas:
 Sports Science  

Funding initiatives:
 Humanities, Cultural Studies, Social Sciences and Professional Practice in Graduate Education (completed)

Jeana Thilla
T  +49 (0)511 8381-246
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4246
Dr. Antje Tepperwien
Head of Team Persons and Structures
T  +49 511 8381-299
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4299
Additional information
Michaela Finsel
T  +49 (0)511 8381-298
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4298
Dr. Ulrike Bischler
Program Director
T  +49 (0)511 8381-350
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4350
Additional information

Program Director in the funding team  „Challenges – for Academia and Society“, has been in charge of projects in the sciences and various Fellowships.

Background: Physics major at University of Freiburg and RWTH Aachen, MSc in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University, research assistant at Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching, PhD in physics.
Her favourite pastime is birdwatching at home and abroad.

Subject areas:

Funding initiatives:
 Off the Beaten Track
 Experiment! – In search of bold research ideas

Friederike Hepp
T  +49 (0)511 8381-248
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4248
Dr. Astrid Bothmann
Program Director
T  +49 (0)511 8381-212
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4212
Additional information
Nicole Richter
T  +49 (0)511 8381-243
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4243
Dr. Johanna Brumberg
Program Director
T  +49 (0)511 8381-297
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4297
Additional information
Subject areas:
 Administrative Science  

Funding initiatives:
 'Freigeist' Fellowships

Kerstin Krüger
T  +49 (0)511 8381-341
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4341
Dr. Franz Dettenwanger
Program Director; Coordination Niedersächsisches Vorab
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4217
Additional information

Program Director in the funding team "Challenges — for Academia and Society", has been responsible for projects from the engineering and material sciences as well as mathematics.

Background: Studied Physics at the University of Tübingen and  NMI Reutlingen, Doctoral studies in the area of Materials Science at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research at the University of Stuttgart, later research assistant; previously worked for DECHEMA, Frankfurt am Main, in the areas of research and research funding.

Subject areas:
 Computer Sciences  
 Engineering Sciences  

Funding initiatives:
 Niedersächsisches Vorab
 Integration of Molecular Components in Functional Macroscopic Systems (completed in 2016)
 Life? – A Fresh Scientific Approach to the Basic Principles of Life

Petra Akrami
T  +49 511 8381 372
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4372
Dr. Pavel Dutow
Program Director
T  +49 (0)511 8381-396
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4396
Additional information

Program Director in the funding team "Challenges – for Academia and Society". Responsible for projects in life sciences, especially in Biomedicine.

Background: Studies of Biology with focus on Microbiology, Genetics, and Biochemistry at the University of Göttingen (Institute of Microbiology and Genetics). Doctoral studies and Postdoc at the Hannover Medical School (Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Epidemiology).

Subject areas:
 Medicine - Theoretical Medicine  

Funding initiatives:
 Experiment! – In search of bold research ideas
 Life? – A Fresh Scientific Approach to the Basic Principles of Life

Heitke Grops
T  +49 (0)511 8381-397
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4397
Dr. Anja Fließ
Program Director
T  +49 (0)511 8381-374
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4374
Additional information

Program Director in the funding team  "Persons and Structures", has been in charge of various initiatives in medicine and the natural and engineering sciences, as well as the program for junior research groups, forerunner to the Lichtenberg Professorships.

Background: Studied Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University and Medical School, Hannover, doctoral thesis on Molecular Biology; later worked as a research assistant at the Medical School, Hanover.

Subject areas:
 Biochemistry / Biophysics  

Funding initiatives:
 Lichtenberg Professorships

Inga Noffz
T  +49 (0)511 8381-388
F  +49 (0)511 8381-4388