The Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg (ZAH) is the largest university astronomy group within Germany. ZAH joins the institutes Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ARI), Landessternwarte Königstuhl (LSW) and Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik (ITA). Established in 2005, its spectrum of research and teaching activities ranges from planet formation and galaxy evolution to cosmology and state of the art computer physics in parallel with the development and assembly of instrumentation for telescopes and participation in satellite projects. The interdependence of the different fields is also reflected in its Research Collaborations.
ZAH is closely connected to the Department of Physics and Astronomy and cooperates with the Max-Planck Institutes for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) and Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS).
ZAH Managing Director is Prof. Dr. Cornelis P. Dullemond.
ZAH Scientific Manager is Dr. Guido Thimm.
ZAH is one of 17 Central Research Institutions (CRIs) of Heidelberg University and as such directly linked to the rector of Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel. ZAH's location within the overall organisational structure of Heidelberg University is shown below.
Central body is the board of directors (ZAH Directorate). Members of this board are all ZAH full and affiliated professors. The ZAH Directorate meets once per month to discuss and decide about ZAH relevant issues. The ZAH managing Director runs daily affairs and represents interests of the ZAH Directorate towards the Rector of Heidelberg University and other university entities.
Each of the three ZAH institutes (ARI, ITA, LSW) is lead by the institute managing director, though his rights and duties in the ZAH Directorate do not differ from the other board members.
The ZAH Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) („Beirat“) represents ZAH’s central advisory unit, primarily towards the Rector of Heidelberg University. Membership and assignments of the SAC are described in the ZAH bylaws.
The ZAH Internal Scientific Council (ISC) was established in 2011. Members of the ISC are all scientific staff members of ZAH, junior group leaders, postdocs and student representatives. In contrast to the SAC, the ISC primarily supports the ZAH Directorate concerning its decisions e.g. about ZAH's scientific research goals, internal administrative regulations or astronomy curriculum.
A sketch of ZAH’s corporate structure is displayed below.
Beside its organisational structure this diagram visualizes ZAH’s intensive interaction with other parts of Heidelberg University and local research institutes. This interaction is most intensive with the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy. ZAH scientists contribute to the Faculty's teaching curriculum with regular and special astronomy or astrophysics courses, as lecturers in regular physics courses or in physics tutorials. Apart from this connection ZAH scientists are members of various committees and boards of the Faculty.
The directors of two research groups at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) hold appointments as full professors at ZAH. Both professorships have been established by the "Klaus-Tschira Foundation (KTS)".