Sonja Hammerschmid is the new member of the Board of Directors of the Leopold Museum Private Foundation. In this function, she succeeds the long-standing president of the Austrian Chamber of Labor, Werner Muhm, who acted as the private foundation’s board member from 2008. Sonja Hammerschmid was appointed by Andrea Mayer, Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport.

“I am delighted that it has been possible to secure Sonja Hammerschmid, a renowned science manager and education expert, for the Board of Directors of the Leopold Museum. This appointment signals a commitment to the museum’s educational aspect and to the significance of art education for different target and age groups, a matter particularly close to Sonja Hammerschmid’s heart”, as Secretary of State Andrea Mayer put it.

The Board of Directors, chaired by Josef Ostermayer, now comprises the board members Elisabeth Leopold, Agnes Husslein-Arco, Sonja Hammerschmid and Carl Aigner.

“With the Ministry for Culture’s appointment of former education minister Sonja Hammerschmid, an experienced science manager and successful executive has joined the board of the Leopold Museum. I am very much looking forward to our collaboration and to implementing innovative strategies together, especially with a view to the museum’s central tasks of research and inclusion in the context of new art education formats.” Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Director of the Leopold Museum

Sonja Hammerschmid served as minister at the Federal Ministry of Education and Women’s Affairs (2016) and at the Federal Ministry of Education (2016/17). Following her ministerial office, she remained a member of parliament and acted as education spokesperson up until 2021. During her parliamentary career, Hammerschmid was a member of numerous committees on the budget, culture, science and finance, and served on the panel for research, innovation and digitalization.

Prior to taking political office, Hammerschmid headed the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna from 2010 to 2016. In late 2015, she was the first woman to be appointed president of Universities Austria (uniko), an association founded 110 years ago and dedicated to promoting science. She stepped down from this position in 2016, when she went into politics.

Sonja Hammerschmid (born in 1968 in Steyr) studied genetics and tumor biology from 1986 as part of her biology degree at Vienna University and earned her doctorate in natural sciences in 1995. Already during her studies, she worked as a research assistant at Boehringer Ingelheim Austria. Her professional career took Hammerschmid from the Vienna BioCenter to the laboratory equipment company Margaritella Biotrade to the Vienna Business Agency, in the framework of which she led the Biotech Impulse Program (later known as LISA – Life Science Austria) of the Austria Wirtschaftsservice from 1999. As CEO of ARGE Life Science Vienna Region and ARGE Impulsprogramm Creativwirtschaft she was involved in building innovative business sectors, such as life sciences and creative industries, and developed the funding program for motion picture productions Filmstandort Austria. In 2012, Hammerschmid was appointed president of the supervisory board of the Kunsthalle GmbH, a position she held until 2016.


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