Hans Joachim Schellnhuber - Curriculum Vitae

Status: August 2020

Personal Information

Date & Place of Birth: 7 June 1950 in Ortenburg (District of Passau), Germany
Family Status: Married to Margret Boysen; one child 


Education and Academic Degrees

1956 - 1961 Ortenburg Primary School
1961 - 1970 Vilshofen Secondary School (Graduation with highest possible score, i.e. 1.0)
1970 - 1976 Study of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Regensburg, Germany
1976 Physics Degree (First Class Honours)
1980 Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics (Summa Cum Laude), University of Regensburg
1985 Habilitation (Qualification as University Lecturer) for Theoretical Physics, University of Oldenburg, Germany
1987 - 1989 Fellow of the Heisenberg Programme of the German Science Foundation (DFG)


Professional Career

1971 - 1976 Student Assistant in Physics Department, University of Regensburg
1976 - 1981 Scientific Assistant in Physics Department, University of Regensburg
1981 - 1982 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP), University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
1982 - 1987 Assistant Professor in Physics Department, University of Oldenburg
1987 - 1988 Visiting Professor at the Institute of Nonlinear Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
1988 - 1993 Full Professor for Theoretical Physics, University of Oldenburg

Managing Director of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Coastal Environment Studies (ICBM), University of Oldenburg
1993 - 2018

Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), in conjunction with a Chair for Theoretical Physics at the University of Potsdam, Germany
2001 - 2009

Additional engagement as Research Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and Professor at the Environmental Sciences School of the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
2010 - 2016 External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, USA

  2015 - 2018           Senior Research Fellow with the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden      

  2018                      Director Emeritus, PIK

  2019                      Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, China


Positions Offered, but not Accepted


Director of Physics Institute, GKSS Research Centre, in conjunction with a Professorship at the University of Hamburg, Germany (Succession to Hartmut Grassl)

President of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (Succession to Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker)

Distinguished University Professor for Sustainability Science at Arizona State University (USA)


Membership of Boards & Committees (selected previous/current activities)

  • Member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU)
  • Chair Emeritus of the Climate-KIC Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
  • Member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
  • Chair of the High-Level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative of European Union Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas
  • Member of the Commission „Wachstum, Strukturwandel und Beschäftigung (WSB)“ of the German Federal Government
  • Chair of the Scientific Commission "Climate, Energy and Environment" of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • Research Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • Senior Advisor at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam
  • Member of the Joint Advisory Board on Climate Change Research at Imperial College and LSE (Grantham Institute)
  • Chair of the Strategy Advisory Board of the IASS from 2010-2012, 2012-2017 Deputy Chair
  • Chair of  the Global Change Advisory Group for the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission; Member of the corresponding panel for the Seventh Framework Programme
  • Chair of the Global Analysis, Integration & Modelling (GAIM) Task Force of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP)
  • Member of the Board of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
  • Member of the Committee on Scientific Planning & Review of the International Council for Science (ICSU)
  • Member of the Environment Steering Panel of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC)
  • Distinguished Visiting Fellow des International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA)
  • Member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Climate Change
  • Member of the Advisory Board for the World Development Report (WDR) 2010
  • Member of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA) Council
  • Chair of the Advisory Board of the European Climate Foundation (ECF)
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the NaturTon Foundation
  • Member of the Climate Justice Dialogue Advisory Committee
  • Member of the Programme Committee Haus der Zukunft
  • Member of DARA's Advisory Panel for the 1st and 2nd Climate Vulnerability Monitor (2010 and 2012)
  • Member of the Advisory Committee on the Joint PhD program on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policy of the three Lisbon public universities (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Universidade de Lisboa and Universidade Técnica de Lisboa)
  • Member of the Senior Advisory Board for the 2013 China National Human Development Report “Sustainable and Liveable Cities: Toward Ecological Civilization”
  • Full Member of The Club of Rome
  • Member of the Earth League
  • Associate Editor of the scientific journal "Science Advances" and Member of the Editorial Boards of “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS), “Climatic Change”, “Climate Policy”, “Integrated Assessment”, “Systems Analysis, Modelling, Simulation”, and “Europe’s World”


Special Tasks

  • Chief Government Advisor on Climate & Related Issues for the German G8-EU twin presidency in 2007
  • Member of the High-Level Expert Group on Energy & Climate Change advising José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (2007-2011)
  • Member of the President's Science and Technology Advisory Council (PSTAC), advising José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
  • Briefing of the World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim: "Preparing for a 4°C World - The State of the Science" (2012)



  • Bavarian Scholarship for the Exceptionally Gifted  (1970)
  • Heisenberg Fellowship of the German Science Foundation (DFG) (1987)
  • Membership of the Max Planck Society, the German National Academy (Leopoldina), the US National Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Leibniz Science Association, the Geological Society of London, the International Research Society Sigma Xi, and the Academia Europaea
  • Wolfson Research Merit Award and Research Fellowship of the Royal Society (2002)
  • Ambassador of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (2003)
  • Honorary CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) awarded by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004
  • Distinguished Science Advisor for the Tyndall Centre (2005-2009)
  • Visiting Professor in Physics and Visiting Fellow of Christ Church College at Oxford University (2005-2009)
  • German Environment Prize (2007)
  • Longstanding Membership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (e.g., Coordinating Lead Author for the Working Group II Synthesis Chapter in the Third Assessment Report) who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007
  • Environment Prize of the “Bundesdeutscher Arbeitskreis für Umweltbewusstes Management e.V.“ (B.A.U.M) (2008)
  • Order of Merit (“Roter-Adler-Orden”) of the State of Brandenburg (2008)
  • „Best Paper Award 2008“ for co-authorship of an article on distributed integrated assessment modelling, published in "Environmental Modelling & Software", Vol. 23 (5),  592-610. (2008)
  • Times Higher Education Award: Research Project of the Year (University of East Anglia: Climate-System Tipping Elements, initiated by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber) (2008)
  • "Ambassador of Science" of the State of Brandenburg (2009)
  • Volvo Environment Prize, awarded in Stockholm (2011)
  • The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, awarded by Germany's President Christian Wulff at Bellevue Palace (2011)
  • Honorary Doctorate of the University of Copenhagen (2011)
  • Pioneer of the German Energy Transformation (Wirtschaftswoche, 2011)
  • Honorary Doctorate of the Technische Universität Berlin (2012)
  • Wilhelm-Foerster-Prize awarded by the URANIA Potsdam (2013)
  • Honorary citizenship of the town of Ortenburg, Passau (2014)
  • Culture Prize awarded by the district of Passau (2014)
  • Blue Planet Prize (2017)
  • Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz Sustainability Prize (2017)
  • Admission to the Academy of Athens (2019)
  • Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon of the Japanese Government (2020)