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Ursula Gather studied mathematics at RWTH Aachen University and worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Statistics and Business Mathematics at RWTH from 1976. There she completed her doctorate in 1979 and her habilitation in mathematics in 1984.

In 1985, Ursula Gather accepted a professorship at the University of Iowa in the USA before accepting the call to the University of Dortmund in 1986. Until she took office as rector, she held the chair of Mathematical Statistics and Industrial Applications in the Faculty of Statistics. Her areas of work included statistical modeling, quality assurance and statistics in industry, and methods for online monitoring in intensive care medicine. From 1997 on, she was spokesperson of the DFG Collaborative Research Center 475 "Complexity Reduction in Multivariate Data Structures" for twelve years. She supervised more than 30 doctoral theses as well as six postdoctoral theses. In addition to her own publications (approx. 160 peer-reviewed papers), she was and is co-editor of journals and book series published by Springer-Verlag.

Prizes and awards accompany all stages of her scientific career: Her diploma thesis was awarded with the Springorum-Münze, her dissertation with the Borchers-Plakette of the RWTH Aachen. One year after her appointment to the University of Dortmund, she received the prestigious Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Award for Young University Teachers in 1987, which was endowed with 850,000 DM at the time. In 2001, the IREX Award of the Australian Research Council enabled her to spend a research period in Melbourne. International visiting professorships have taken Ursula Gather to the University of Pune, India (1982), Yale University, USA (1990), the Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, France (1994) and La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia (2001). She received appointments from the Universities of Karlsruhe (1990), Würzburg (1996), Aachen (2003), and Lancaster (2005). In 2010, she became a member of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech). The scientific members of acatech elected Ursula Gather to the Academy's presidium on November 4, 2014.

Ursula Gather was also involved in university self-administration at an early stage. From 1991 to 1994, she was Dean of the Faculty of Statistics, and from 1994 to 1998 she was Vice-Rector for Research at the University of Dortmund.

Numerous functions in research organizations show Ursula Gather to be an experienced science manager. From 1996 to 2002, she was appointed to the Scientific and Technical Committee of the Supervisory Board at Forschungszentrum Jülich. For eight years, she was a member of the Executive Board of the German Statistical Society (2000 to 2008). For four years, she held the position of DFG Trusted Lecturer at the Technical University of Dortmund. From 2007 to 2011, she was a member of the Council of the International Statistical Institute. From 2008 to 2012, she held the office of spokesperson for the DFG Review Board on Mathematics. Since 2007, she has been chair of the Friends of the Mathematical Research Institute Oberwolfach. From 2007 to 2012, she was vice chair of the Senate of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). In 2009, the DFG appointed Ursula Gather to the working group on research-oriented equality standards. She is also a member of the advisory board of the EU Cooperation Office of the German Research Organizations (KoWi).

From September 1, 2008 to August 31, 2020, Ursula Gather was rector of the TU Dortmund University. From October 2010 to September 2015, she was chairwoman of the State Rectors' Conference of Universities in NRW (LRK). She also served the German Rectors' Conference as Vice President for Teaching, Studies and Admissions in 2011/2012. At the end of 2011, Ursula Gather was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation. In August 2013 the members of the Board of Trustees elected her as its new Chairwoman. She took up this office on October 1, 2013. Since August 2016, she has been an ad personam member of the Senate of the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences.

In November 2014, Ursula Gather was awarded the honorary distinction of "Citizen of the Ruhr. In February 2015, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka, appointed Ursula Gather to the High-Tech Forum, an advisory group to support the implementation and further development of the German government's high-tech strategy. In November 2015, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Łódź. In January 2018, she received the City Ring of the Dortmund Merchants. In September 2018, she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon for her outstanding commitment to Dortmund as a center of science.

Ursula Gather was born in Mönchengladbach. She is married and has two sons.


Fields of activity

  • Statistical modeling
  • Robust Statistical Methods
  • Quality assurance and industrial statistics
  • Online monitoring methods