Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund appointed to be the new ISU Chancellor


The International Space University (ISU) appointed Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund to be its new and first female Chancellor. At the end of the term of the present International Space University Chancellor, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the Board of Trustees decided to assign this important role to Prof. Ehrenfreund, the present vice-chancellor and chair of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

“It is a great honour to succeed Dr. Aldrin in office”, Ehrenfreund said. “My ambition is to promote ISU in every respect.  The space sector is now an important and critical infrastructure for business and society around the world. Space solutions provide answers to many global and local challenges, and deliver many socio-economic benefits. The space sector is, however, in transition with emerging new actors. In this changing space context, ISU is the perfect institution to educate a new generation of space experts that shape the space domain of the future”.

It is important that even more young women engage in the field of space science.

Prof. Ehrenfreund fits perfectly in the ISU philosophy:

  • After obtaining a PhD in astrophysics she focused on the research topics of astrobiology and became one of the world’s leading experts in this field. Gradually she looked at the broader spectrum of space exploration and obtained an additional degree in Management and Leadership and became a research professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at the renowned Space Policy Institute at the GWU (George Washington University) in Washington D.C.
  • From 2013-2015 she was President of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) before becoming Chair of the Executive Board of DLR leading more than 8500 employees at 40 institutes and 20 locations in Germany. Research and development activities of the German Aerospace Center include space, aeronautics, energy, transportation, security and digitalization.
  • At the 2018 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) she was also appointed as the incoming President of the International Astronautical Federation.
  • Born in Austria she also worked in France, the Netherlands, the USA and Germany.

She leads one of the largest centers for aerospace in Europe and is therefore an excellent role-model for female professionals in the space sector.

She has a long-standing relationship with ISU in various capacities, teaching in all programmes (recently giving an impressive guest lecture at SSP18 in the Netherlands).

Her nomination, as first woman in this position, also underlines again the continuous efforts of ISU to work towards a better gender distribution in the space sector.

Photo Credit: Ramon van Jaarsveld, Prof. Ehrenfreund at SSP18, The Netherlands