University of Bayreuth, Press release No. 099/2023 - 7 July 2023
A pioneer in his field: Professor Dr. Hans Ulrich Buhl receives honorary doctorate from the University of Bayreuth
Yesterday (7 July 2023), one of Germany's leading experts in business and information systems engineering, Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Buhl of the University of Augsburg, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bayreuth’s Faculty of Law, Business & Economics at a ceremony on campus in Bayreuth. The internationally highly respected scientist received the honorary degree of “Doktor der Wirtschaftswissenschaften ehrenhalber” (Dr. rer. pol. h.c.) for his scientific achievements for business administration, especially in business and information systems engineering, as well as for his services in linking science and practice.
In his welcoming address, Prof. Dr. André Meyer, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Business & Economics at the University of Bayreuth, paid tribute to Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Buhl's excellent, wide-ranging and influential scientific work, which had great charisma beyond the professional world. Thanks to the establishment of the Business Informatics Project Group of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT in Bayreuth and the associated creation of additional professorships in business and information systems engineering, he has given the Faculty of Law, Business & Economics and the University of Bayreuth as a whole valuable impetus for the further expansion of their expertise in the fields of digitization and artificial intelligence.
In his laudation, Prof. Dr. Martin Bichler, Professor of Decision Sciences & Systems at the Technical University of Munich, highlighted Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Buhl's achievements in fostering early-career scholars and in university teaching. Until his retirement in 2021, he supervised an unusually high number of doctoral and post-doctoral students who were subsequently able to continue their careers in academia or in specialist and management positions in business and society. Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Buhl is a lecturer, juror, trusted lecturer and member of the Board of Trustees of the Bayerische EliteAkademie. From 2004 to 2021, he was chairman of the board of the degree programme "Finance & Information Management" at the University of Bayreuth, the University of Augsburg and the Technical University of Munich. This study programme, which is sponsored by the Elite Network Bavaria and ten renowned practice partners, continuously achieved top ratings in university rankings. Bichler also emphasized that the Augsburg scientist had always seen himself as a shaper in research and had pursued scientific informatics as a discipline that did not hide behind numbers and statistics, but rather faced real, socially relevant challenges. In doing so, he had always sought collaboration with other disciplines with great openness to new issues and opened up new horizons for science informatics.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Caren Sureth-Sloane, Inhaberin eines Lehrstuhls für Betriebswirtschaftslehre an der Universität Paderborn, described in her laudation the many facets of Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Buhl's personality. With his research interests and activities at the interface of finance and business and information systems engineering, he has advanced the field of business administration: through outstanding skill, purposeful and at the same time balancing, sometimes uncomfortable and demanding, but always encouraging, with passion for progressive developments and smart action also in science policy issues. The laudator particularly highlighted his involvement in the Association of University Teachers of Business Administration (VHB) and the German Informatics Society (GI) as well as his long-standing innovative commitment to scientific communication. From 2006 to 2014 he was managing editor of the journal Wirtschaftsinformatik, and in 2009 he founded the journal Business & Information Systems Engineering. He also serves as co-editor/ reviewer for a number of renowned national and international journals in the fields of business administration, information systems, and computer science. Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Buhl has also made a lasting contribution to his subject in the Review Board for Economics of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Since August 2021, he has been the member elected with the highest number of votes of all business information scientists, industrial engineers, economists and computer scientists among more than 600 review board members of the DFG.
Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Buhl linked his thanks for the award of the honorary doctorate with a lecture ("Lectio doctoralis") in which he demonstrated with great determination the urgency of national and international measures for climate protection, decarbonization and sustainable transformation. Under the motto "Looking back with anger," he traced an arc from the Club of Rome's demands and studies on the "limits to growth" published since the late 1960s to today's unabated rise in global greenhouse gas emissions. The number of damages caused by natural disasters has continued to increase dramatically, he said, and is now a major cause of global refugee movements. The original goal of keeping man-made global warming below 1.5 percent is no longer realistic, he said, and drastic cuts are needed this decade to prevent more than two percent warming. "We need disruption to end destruction," he quoted UN Secretary-General António Guterres as saying. At this point, the new honorary doctor of the University of Bayreuth called for an "outlook with courage". Crucial starting points for the upcoming transformation, he said, are climate-friendly technologies, a leading role for companies in climate protection, a significant reduction in dependence on fossil fuels, no de-growth but climate-friendly economic growth, and a socially responsible design of climate protection. Likewise, smart financial incentive systems would have to be launched in the energy sector. "Germany can and must take a pioneering role in climate protection and green growth," Buhl said. The key to solving the problems, he said, lies in a "triad of decarbonization, digitalization and reducing inequality." His committed remarks were met with a standing ovation from the audience.
The initiative to award Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Buhl an honorary doctorate had come from Bayreuth’s specialist in the field, Prof Dr. Torsten Eymann, who has been in scientific contact with the honoree for many years. "I am very pleased that we were able to award such an outstanding scholar with an honorary doctorate," he said. „In his speech today, Professor Hans Ulrich Buhl once again expressed his strong ties to the University of Bayreuth. He will continue to be a scientific role model for us in the future for the continued innovative development of research, teaching and knowledge transfer at the Faculty of Law, Business & Economics," says Eymann.
Hans Ulrich Buhl was born in Esslingen in 1955. From 1976 to 1981, he completed a diploma in industrial engineering at the University of Karlsruhe and a master's degree in industrial engineering and operations research at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving his doctorate (1982) and Habilitation (1985) at the University of Karlsruhe, he worked in various positions for IBM Deutschland GmbH in Stuttgart until he was appointed chair at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen in 1990. In 1994, he took over the Chair of Business Administration, Information Systems, Information and Financial Management at the University of Augsburg, which he held until his retirement in 2021. Due to his research work, he was ranked among the top 1% in the business administration rankings of Management International Review (2004) and of Handelsblatt and Wirtschaftswoche (2009, 2012, 2014 and 2019) respectively.