Organisation and Responsibilities of the RDS


Organisation of the RDS

The Council of German Observatories (Rat Deutscher Sternwarten, or RDS for short) is a central body of the German Astronomical Society (AG). The president of the AG usually also acts as the chair of the RDS. The RDS elects an Executive Committee from the representatives of its member institutions. The Executive Committee advises and supports the chair on questions of research policy and research strategy, and can endorse formal statements at short notice. The RDS currently has 39 institutional members.

Chairman of the RDS (2017–2020):
Prof. Dr. Joachim Wambsganß, Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg

Secretary General Dr. Thorsten Lisker
Email: rds (@)

Executive Committee (2017–2020):

  • Professor Dr. Joachim Wambsganß (Chair, Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg) 
  • Professor Dr. Michael Kramer (Deputy Chair, Max–Planck–Institut für Radioastronomie Bonn)
  • Professor Dr. Matthias Steinmetz (Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam)
  • Professor Dr. Ralf-Jürgen Dettmar (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
  • Professor Dr. Marcus Brüggen (Universität Hamburg) 
  • Dr. Eva Schinnerer (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg) 
  • Professor Dr. Jürgen Stutzki (University of Cologne) 
  • Dr. Linda Tacconi (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching) 
  • Professor Dr. Jörn Wilms (Bamberg Observatory, Universität Erlangen–Nürnberg)

Terms of operation: RDS-Geschaeftsordnung.pdf (in German) 


Responsibilities of the RDS

Acting as the science policy committee of the AG, the Council of German Observatories represents the common interests of all German astronomical institutions vis-à-vis funding bodies, governments, international organisations and other relevant boards and committees. RDS provides professional consultation to state institutions and other decision-makers. The RDS’ responsibilities are outlined below. 

  • RDS represents the German astronomical community within the International Astronomical Union (IAU). It also reviews applications from German astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts applying for individual IAU membership.
  • The Council of German Observatories nominates representatives for various national and international committees.
  • RDS proposes referees for the “Astrophysics and Astroparticle Physics” review board of the BMBF project funding scheme and for the “Astrophysics and Astronomy” review board of the German Research Foundation (DFG) .
  • The RDS issues research strategy papers and participates in the development of European astronomy in the context of the ASTRONET initiative.