The Gesellschaft von Freunden und Förderern der HHU is the leading private institution for science promotion in Düsseldorf and one of the largest promotional organizations for universities in Germany.

Together with the 23 foundations and under the umbrella of the GFFU, the association supports research and education in Düsseldorf in a number of ways – and has been doing so since 1955.

Our major goal and concern is to enable scientific projects, to finance investments and to promote academic traditions.

  • In principle GFFU supports all faculties. However, certain focus areas have emerged, namely in medical science (mainly in brain, stem-cell and AIDS research) and business sciences. The financial support of professorships and assistantships is yet an essential measure.
  • With the “Haus der Universität” in the center of Düsseldorf (registered office of the GFFU) and Schloss Mickeln in Himmelgeist (representative convention center and guesthouse of HHU), two properties are sponsored which are very important for the university’s connection to the city of Düsseldorf on the one hand and to the academic world on the other hand.
  • By financing numerous grants in several faculties, we support the academic talent. Moreover, the GFFU foundations award a total of nine prizes worth up to € 10,000 each. Apart from the financial support, these prizes will strengthen the academic reputation of the prize winners.

Several examples demonstrate the various GFFU support activities.

  • Financing of a medic’s position in HIV research at Adama University in Ethiopia 
  • Securing of a junior professorship and an assistantship at the economics faculty of the HHU until 2020 at least
  • Supporting of academic variety/events, i. e. lectures on different topics or concerts of the university orchestra
  • Building of apartments for visiting professors and visiting students as well as of the Heinrich-Heine-Saal (Campus Süd)
  • Renovation and maintenance of the “Haus der Universität” (Schadowplatz 14) which serves as “embassy” of the HHU in the center of Düsseldorf
  • Renovation and rebuilding of Schloss Mickeln to become a university-owned education and meeting center

Purpose of the association is to support the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf in carrying out their duties, in particular the promotion of scientific research and teaching tasks. This also includes the management-provided external funding.

The association pursues exclusively charitable purposes. The purpose is achieved by the funds necessary for the business purpose funds, in particular by annual contributions from members and by single or recurring remunerations.

The association continues its purpose by providing funds for important measures or purchases made available to the university, always in consultation with the respective boards of trustees. These funds are generated by their earnings and the earnings from the foundation funds. Moreover, prizes (with donations) for selected academic achievements are awarded.


Eduard H. Dörrenberg (President)

Managing Partner of Schulz & Braun GmbH,

Dr. Charlotte Beissel (Deputy)
Board Member Distribution, Human Resources & IT;
Labor Director Stadtwerke Düsseldorf

Martin Renker (Treasurer)
formerly Deutsche Bank AG, Düsseldorf

Dr. Martin Rothfuchs (Deputy)
Managing Director Arenbergische Societies

Andreas Schmitz (Deputy)

AS Board & Beteiligungs Consulting GmbH

Prof. Dr. Anja Steinbeck (Deputy)

President of Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

Additional Members

Prof. Dr. Ricarda Bauschke-Hartung

Chair in Older German Literature (HHU)

Prof. Dr. Helmut Frister
Chair in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law (HHU)

Peer Knauer

Entrepreneuer, Düsseldorf 

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Neyer
Professorship in National Economy (HHU)

Prof. Dr. Guido Reifenberger
Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf (UKD)

Marcus Roth
Managing Director, BFP GmbH - Family Office

Prof. Dr. Lutz Schmitt
Institute for Biochemics (HHU)

Managing Director

Irene Schrader
GFFU, Düsseldorf

Honorary President

Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Gert Kaiser


Founding of the Association

July 6, 1955 – initially as Association of Friends and Supporters of the Medical Academy in Düsseldorf


Presidents of the Association (chronologically since founding)

Former Reich Cancelor Dr. jur. Dr. h.c. Hans Luther: 1955 – 1962
Prof. Dr. rer. pol. Dr. med. h.c. Ernst Schneider: 1962 – 1972
Honorary Senator Dr. jur. Wolfgang Glatzel: 1973 – 1987
Honorary Senator Dr. rer. pol. h.c. Rolf Schwarz-Schütte: 1988 – 2000
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Joachim Funk: 2000 – 2003
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Gert Kaiser: 2004 – 2013
Eduard H. Dörrenberg 2014 –


1. The Gesellschaft von Freunden und Förderern der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf e. V. (association) and all of their managed foundations are acknowledged as charitable due to promotion of the general public in the field of research and sciences.


2. Donations and contributions to the association as well as donations, contributions and allowances to the foundations are income-tax deductible for the providing person (natural person), namely up to 20% of the total earnings or 4% of the total revenue and of the salaries and wages paid in the respective calendar year.


3. Legal persons, however, can claim a tax deduction of 20% of the income or 4% of the total revenue and of the salaries and wages paid in the respective calendar year.


4. Substantial donations which are exceeding these limits can be deducted in the year of the donation according to the abovementioned maximum amounts. The remaining part can be carried forward during five years.


5. Donations which are provided by a natural person to a foundation’s capital reserve (new foundation and foundation contribution) may be deducted in the year of the contribution and in the following nine assessment periods, at request of the providing person, up to an amount of € 1,000,000 in addition to the donations considered as special expenses, and beyond the abovementioned permitted extent. This particular deduction amount can be used only once within ten years.


6. Companies (natural and legal persons) may withdraw assets according to the book value when these are gratuitously transferred to the association or one of their foundations immediately after the withdrawal. In this case, tax liability (disclosure of hidden reserves) can be avoided.


7. Donations to the association or to their foundations are exempted from inheritance tax as well as from gift tax.


8. Accrued inheritance or gift tax expires retrospectively insofar as assets attained by inheritance or gift are donated to the association or one of their foundations within 24 months.


9. Furthermore, inheritance tax and gift tax can be amortized by assignment of scientific collections, libraries, manuscripts, archives, works of art or art collections to the tax authorities, when their importance for sciences, history and art is subject to public benefit.



Dr. Esther Betz

Dipl.-Kfm. Wolfgang Böttcher

Bernd Hebbering

Udo van Meeteren

Prof. Dr. phil. Hubertus Schulte-Herbrüggen

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Georg Strohmeyer

Dr. Hans-Dietrich Winkhaus

Wolf-Peter Wirsing


Irene Schrader

Managing director

Gesellschaft von Freunden und Förderern der
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf e.V.

Haus der Universität
Schadowplatz 14
40212 Düsseldorf

Phone + 49 (0)211 8693976-60
Fax + 49 (0)211 8693976-19


Christina Beckmann

Management assistent

Gesellschaft von Freunden und Förderern der
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf e.V.

Haus der Universität
Schadowplatz 14
40212 Düsseldorf

Phone + 49 (0)211 8693976-10
Fax + 49 (0)211 8693976-19