For 25 years, Prof Dr Jörg Matschullat researched and taught at TUBAF. He was Dean and helped steer the fortunes of the university as Vice-Rector Research between 2020 and 2023 before taking a research sabbatical at Dartmouth College in New England (USA). In March 2024, the widely travelled geoecologist, who describes himself as an earth system scientist, will retire from active service at TU Freiberg and take on new responsibilities at Dartmouth College in connection with Freiberg University.

There are probably few places in the world where Professor Jörg Matschullat can't tell a fitting anecdote from his research. The stories are about surveying tropical lakes in the Brazilian Amazon region with an autonomous measuring robot, the chemistry of soils in the southern hemisphere, forecasting models for weather and climate in Central Europe or in the Mediterranean region, of ozone pollution of conifers in the German-Czech border region, lightning and thunderstorms over Saxony.

Commitment to the university and beyond

"I associate the TU Bergakademie Freiberg with a quarter of a century of my own commitment, encounters with great people, especially students, as well as a slow but steady modernisation and opening up to the challenges of the future. Promoting critical thinking, developing fact-based and quality-tested results are the basis for this."

Popular with students, doctoral supervisor for 42 doctoral students, Jörg Matschullat has been involved in local urban society and international specialist organisations and networks over and above his education. "The challenges of global environmental, climate and biodiversity crises are still often unrecognised, but are becoming increasingly clear. Heavy rainfall, heatwaves and forest fires are being recognised more than ever as consequences of climate change," says the geoscientist. He goes on to appeal: "Without committed scientists who make their findings on environmental protection understandable and attractive beyond the specialist audience, there will be no rethink in large parts of society and politics".

But there is one piece of good news: "We can see how graduates from Freiberg have been contributing to clarifying fundamental questions and the interrelationships of crises in various fields of work for more than 25 years. They improve climate models and predictions or provide risk assessments and local adaptation strategies to climate change," says the long-standing head of the Earth System Sciences - Geoecology degree programme.

Understanding "system earth" as a whole

According to Scopus, his scientific expertise can be measured by 124 peer-reviewed publications and a Hirsch Index of 33 to date. "I am particularly pleased to see many of my former students and doctoral students in positions of responsibility today, including several professorships. Quite a few of our results are used intensively by third parties - a pleasant confirmation of our efforts."

As Vice-Rector for Research and Transfer, Jörg Matschullat initiated the Hydrogen Union of Saxon Universities, a cooperation with the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research and the Akita-Freiberg Research Hub, among other things, which significantly intensified the level of research cooperation. "Venturing more into the future, generating critical mass, promoting ambition and performance" is Jörg Matschullat's mission statement in his role.