Pascale Ehrenfreund has been Chair of the DLR Executive Board since 17 August 2015.
Born in 1960, Ehrenfreund obtained degrees in Astronomy and Biology at the University of Vienna, where she also earned her doctorate in 1990. Ehrenfreund was appointed as a Fellow of the European Space Agency (ESA) at the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, upon completion of her doctoral studies.
She was awarded an APART fellowship from the Austrian Academy of Sciences (from 1996 to 1999), which she used to complete her professorial thesis, ‘Cosmic Dust’, at the University of Vienna.
Between 2001 and 2005, Ehrenfreund held a professorship in Astrobiology at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Leiden, where she remains a Visiting Professor today. In addition, between 2005 and 2008 she was a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, USA, which is part of the California Institute of Technology.
Ehrenfreund obtained a Master of Arts in Management and Leadership in 2008. Since then, she has been Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, and Lead Investigator at the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
She accepted the honorary position of President of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in 2013, from which she stepped down upon her appointment at DLR. Ehrenfreund is married with two children.