Gerd Wegener

Prof. Dr. Drs. h.c.

Former professor of wood studies and wood technology
TUM School of Life Sciences

born July 13, 1945


Interview with TUM Emeritus of Excellence Gerd Wegener

"Microorganisms awakened the researcher in me"

For Gerd Wegener, two things have been particularly important in his life: the sustainable use of wood and the education of young people to become responsible architects of our future. To this day, the TUM Emeritus of Excellence is committed to both. [read more]


During his time as the head of his department (current title: chair of wood science), Gerd Wegener helped it achieve widespread international renown, and he is still sought after and highly prized as an expert in the field of wood science. Gerd Wegener is responsible for many innovations in the research of raw wood and wood as a construction material. His education in wood science and forestry – together with his practical experience in carpentry and the lumber industry and his initial education in structural engineering –sparked his interest in wood and its growing importance as a sustainable raw material very early on. The intelligent use of wood was always his primary concern: from wood as a universal building material for the entire construction industry and as a raw material for paper manufacturing and innovative chemical products to the use of waste wood for contemporary energy recovery. He was always particularly conscious of the environmental sustainability of new technologies and products. To a large degree, Gerd Wegener was responsible for the development of new raw and construction materials that impacted on the wood construction industry with their technical innovation and ecological features. This became very clear during the successful, attendance record-breaking exhibition “Building with wood – paths to the future” in TUM’s Museum of Architecture, in the co-ordination of which he was involved. In recent years, the exceptional importance of sustainable forestry and the resource-friendly use of wood – both effective elements of climate protection – were at the center of Gerd Wegener’s work. He is the coauthor of the authoritative volume Wood (1984), was invited as a guest lecturer to numerous universities world-wide, worked as a consultant and helped evaluate national and international projects and research programs. From 2006 to 2016, he was director of the cluster “Forestry and Wood” as part of the Bavarian state government’s cluster initiative, and therefore he remained – despite his retirement – an active scientist and academic within his extensive network and a manager in the areas of forestry and the many diverse uses of wood.


Short biography

1964 - 1966

Studies in structural engineering, TH Munich

1967 - 1970 Studies in wood science, University of Hamburg
1975 Doctorate in forestry, LMU, Munich
1975 - 1986 Research associate, Department of Wood Studies and Wood Technology, LMU Munich
1986 - 1993 Adjunct teaching professor, LMU Munich
1993 - 2000 Professor of wood science and technology, director of wood research, LMU Munich
2000 - 2010 Professor of wood science and technology, director of wood research, TUM


Memberships and honors

Fellow of the International Academy of Wood Science (1988)

Member of the board of trustees of the Leo-Schörghuber-Foundation (1994-2010)

Head of the academic advisory board of INTERFORST international trade fair (1994-2010)

Member of the executive committee (1994-2010) and vice president (2002-2010) of the German Society for Wood Research e. V (DGfH)

Chair of the forestry and wood science consulting committee of the DFG (1991-1999)

Member of the Chemical Process Technology assessment committee of the Federation of Industrial Research Associations “Otto von Guericke” (AiF) (1996-2010)

Member of the board of trustees for the Josef Umdasch Research Prize from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna (2006-2012)

Member of the university council of the Hochschule Rosenheim (2004-2010)

Member of the advisory committee of the Netzwerk Holz Schweiz (2005-2010)

Assessor for the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) Editor in chief of the academic peer journals European Journal of Wood and Wood Products and Wood Science and Technology (1994-2013)



  • Habilitation Prize from LMU (1986)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Technical University in Zvolen, Slovakia, (1997)
  • Medal of Honor in silver from the Bavarian Farmers Association (1998)
  • Honorary doctorate from the St Petersburg State Forest Technical Academy, Russia (2005)
  • Order of merit from the Bavarian Council for the Timber Industry (2007)
  • Silver and golden Honorary Needle of the Bavarian Carpentry (2009, 2010)
  • Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2009)
  • Schweighofer Main Prize (2009)
  • Bayerischer Löwe (2010)
  • Golden Honorary Needle from the Bavarian Association of Forest Owners (2011)
  • Bavarian State Medal in Gold (2016)
  • Distinguished Service Gold Medal of the International Academy of Wood Science (2019)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF 215 KB]