Campus Feuchtwangen has had another staff member since mid-February. Dr. Gerd Hofmann, a 34-year-old native of Feuchtwangen, is a research assistant and coordinator of the Campus Feuchtwangen. He replaces the previous coordinator Dr. Gernot Vogt, who has been managing the Bavarian Drone Academy based at Campus Feuchtwangen full-time since December.
What have you done so far?
I moved to Jena in 2006 after graduating from Feuchtwanger Gymnasium. There I studied physics for ten semesters at the Friedrich Schiller University and did my doctorate directly afterwards. In my doctoral thesis, I worked on gravitational wave detectors, the most accurate measuring instruments of our time. Through intensive collaboration with colleagues from all over Germany, Italy, Great Britain, France, Australia, the USA, India and Japan, I was able to exchange ideas and gain very good experience in an international environment. As the supervision of students at the institute was always close to my heart, I also led numerous practical courses in physics, electronics and measurement technology at the same time.
What was the next step?
For the last five years, I was a group leader at VACOM, a medium-sized company in the vacuum industry in Thuringia, where I was responsible for the laboratory team in research and development. The training of physics lab assistants was very important here. I particularly enjoyed the small projects for the automation of small test rigs and systems.
Sounds great, why return to Feuchtwangen now?
My wife and I had been planning to return to our home town of Feuchtwangen for a long time. After all, thanks to numerous friendships through the water rescue service and not least through our families, we never really felt we were away. We know and appreciate the advantages of the rural life in Feuchtwangen, we just know each other. And if you want, Nuremberg, Würzburg, Stuttgart or even Munich are within easy reach. And our offspring are not entirely innocent in our decision.
What attracted you to the position?
I had been looking for an attractive position in the region for a long time and had been considering a career change into teaching for a long time. I like to pass on my knowledge and am happy when it “clicks” with my counterpart. In addition, during the renovation of our new home last year, I also had to deal a lot with the topic of construction in my private life and found the wide range, starting with the different building materials and their environmental impact, to energy considerations and smart homes, very exciting.
And then you discovered the job advertisement for a campus coordinator.
Exactly. And I immediately thought: that’s it, I want that job! On the one hand, to do research, to deal with current and important scientific issues and to teach, all this also on an international level, but on the other hand, to participate and shape locally and regionally as well, that’s what makes this job for me. Even if the whole thing is a longer process and of course can’t happen overnight.
And what does a coordinator actually do?
I take care of all activities in research, teaching and transfer. That means I prepare research proposals, explore corresponding programmes and take over the design, implementation and coordination of the respective projects on campus. I also take care of networking and maintaining contacts both within the university and beyond.
At the same time, you are currently working very intensively on the new degree programme.
I receive enquiries about the programme from all over the world every day, and our advertising campaign seems to be working well. The crucial date for us will be next May, when interested students can register. But there is still a lot of work to be done so that we can get off to a good start next autumn.