Brigitta Schütt, born in 1963, studied geography, geology, and sociology at the University of Würzburg from 1982 to 1988. She earned her doctoral degree in 1993 from RWTH Aachen. In 1997 Schütt was a visiting professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Manitoba, and in 1998 she completed the habilitation process at the University of Trier. In 2002 she was appointed as a professor of physical geography at Freie Universität Berlin. Her current research focus is on reconstruction of holocene paleoenvironments, with a particular interest in the impact of humans on the landscape. Schütt has conducted a variety of research projects in the Old World Dry Belt, including Mongolia, Tibet, the Kazakh Semirech'e, Sri Lanka, the central Sahara, and the Ethiopian highlands. She is a regular reviewer for the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Volkswagen Foundation.
The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is the world’s oldest continuously existing academy for medicine and the natural sciences. Originally founded in 1652, it has been Germany's national Academy of Sciences since 2008. Working in commissions, the scientists address key issues of particular significance for the future of society from a scientific perspective and independently of economic or political interests, and share their findings with policymakers and the public. They represent German scientists in international academic boards.
The Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities is one of the oldest and largest scientific academies in Germany. Founded in 1759, it is not only a traditional learned society, but at the same time, an important academic institution of international importance. Its main work consists of a wide range of basic research in both the humanities and natural science subjects with a particular focus on major long-term research projects.