RUB » Equal Opportunities Portal » Women in Science » Interview with Ines Härtel

Prof. Dr Ines Härtel

Short biography:
Ines Härtel is doing research and teaching at RUB since 2009. She is head of the chair of public, administrative, European, agrarian, and environmental law.

Guiding principle:
Carpe Diem – start each day cheerfully.

Ines Haertel

Interview with Ines Härtel

You are professor at the School of Law – what is your work about?

Right now, I have three research areas: the first involves federalism. I am currently publishing a large, three-volume handbook, with 100 authors from different disciplines. The second area is the reform of corporate agricultural politics 2013 – an important topic for farmers and rural regions. The third area is climate change and its juridical effects. I hope there’ll be a solution on how to fight climate change soon. Next to all this research, I enjoy working with students a lot.

What is it you find most fascinating about your research area?

I’m most fascinated by the fact that I deal with questions that directly concern people and that we look for answers our society urgently needs. Then, that my research areas are internationally relevant. Law is gradually becoming globalized. For example, in July 2010, I’m invited to the global congress for comparative law in Washington as correspondent for constitutional law. I’m also participating in the German-Chinese law dialogue through corporations with Chinese universities that also deal with agrarian and environmental law.

Were you planning an academic career while still being a student?

Yes, I started thinking about becoming a professor early on in my studies. Dealing with a lot of knowledge always impressed me. This is why it was clear to me that I’d do a PhD and a post-doc, although it was a lot of work. It absorbed me as well though.

What was your plan B? What would you have done if you hadn’t become a scientist?

After my studies, I could’ve gone to a large law firm or to the federal ministry – there were offers. For me, it was much more attractive to work at a university.

How do you balance career and family/relationships? 

I hope that family-friendliness will be further developed within the university system. This includes making job offers to couples, so they can stay together. In some countries, these methods have succeeded.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I enjoy working a lot (laughs), but when I’m not working, I like going to the opera, I’m very interested in culture. I’m very impressed by the ways the Ruhr-area represents itself as European capital of culture, by how much is going on right now! For me, this is how Europe grows closer together.

If you were rector today, what would you do?

I would consider the three most urgent issues that have to be promoted. I would consider the advancement of women, how it can be expanded and enhanced in terms of balancing work and family. For the future, we should tie more women to the university; I also think that women should occupy more powerful positions in the economy. We need women’s knowledge! So much is lost in that respect.

If we were to fast-forward to ten years time – what would you wish to have succeeded in?

If I looked back in ten years time, I would be very pleased to see my doctorate students advance on the right path. I would also like to be able to say that I succeeded in promoting my research areas.

5 July 2010