Ansgar Zerfass, born 1965, is Professor and Chair of Strategic Communication at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany, since 2014. The institute was founded in 1916 as the first of its kind in Germany and regarded as the birthplace of communication science in Europe. He is also Professor of Communication and Leadership (II) at BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, Norway, since 2013. Previously, he was Professor in Communication Management at the University of Leipzig since 2006. Several offers from international universities have been rejected, e.g. for an Endowed Chair at the USC Annenberg School of Communication in Los Angeles. Zerfass was Visiting Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and Bournemouth University.
He is in charge of the graduate program Master Communication Management at Leipzig University, which is ranked number one among all academic PR courses in Germany since several years. In Oslo he teaches at teh Centre for Corporate Communication.
Dr. Zerfass studied business administration and communication science at the University of Erlangen-Nueremberg, Bavaria, and graduated in management (Dipl.-Kfm.). He started his academic career as a research associate with Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Horst Steinmann at the Chair of Strategic Management at the same university and gained a doctorate in business administration (Dr. rer. pol.) summa cum laude. Afterwards, he worked in practice for 10 years in the fields of corporate communications and political consulting. During that time, he held an executive management position at MFG Baden-Württemberg, the center of excellence of the federal state for information technology and media. At the same time, he achieved a Habilitation (academic lecture qualification / second doctorate) in communication science at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg under the mentorship of Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Winfried Schulz.
Services: Currently, he acts as Editor of the International Journal of Strategic Communication (Routledge Publishers, USA); Plank Scholar at the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at the University of Alabama, USA; Academic Advisor of the Corporate Communication Cluster Vienna (CCCV), Vienna, Austria; Academic Advisor for the Communication Benchmarking Initiative; Member of the Academic Advisory Group for AMEC Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, London; Head of the Jury for the Integrated Communication Award organized by the leading German newspaper group F.A.Z.; and Editor of the popular Handbuch Unternehmenskommunikation (Handbook of Corporate Communications; German language) with more than 1,4 million readers/downloads, published by Springer Gabler. He acted as President and Executive Board Member for the EUPRERA European Public Relations Education and Research Association, Brussels, and Head of the Jury for the International German PR Award for many years. He is a member of ICA, ECREA, EUPRERA, DGPuK, DPRG, and EBEN/DNWE.
Dr. Zerfass initiated the Academic Society for Management and Communication that bundles the engagement of nearly 40 global companies and various universities for knowledge transfer and research funding in the field of corporate communications.
Regionally, he is a member of the marketing council of the Leipzig tourist board, advisor of the LPRS Leipziger Public Relations Students e.V., and advisor of the student initiative MTP Marketing between Theory and Practice.
Dr. Zerfass has published 35 books and more than 320 journal articles, book chapters, and study reports papers in English, German, Chinese, Spanish and other languages. He runs a large number of empirical projects, for example as initiator and lead researcher for the Global Communication Monitor study series, the world's largest research project on strategic communication covering more than 80 countries (European Communication Monitor, Asia-Pacific Communication Monitor, Latin American Communication Monitor, North American Communication Monitor) since 2007, and as coordinator of the multi-year research program Value Creating Communication across several universities.
2015: Jackson Jackson & Wagner Award, PRSA Foundation, Atlanta
2014: Pathfinder Award, Institute for Public Relations, New York
2010: Most innovative PR Researcher in Germany (newsaktuell/dpa)
2005: PR head of the year in Germany (DPRG)
Awards for scientific publications
2018: Emerald Literari Award for the best article in Journal of Communication Management 2017
2016: Top Paper Award, EUPRERA Annual Conference, Groningen/Amsterdam
2016: Impact Award of the Journal of Communication Management / CCI Conference, New York
2016: Top Paper Award, International Public Relations Research Conference, USA
2016: Koichi Yamamura International Strategic Communication Award, IPRRC
2014: Top Paper Award, EUPRERA Annual Conference, Brussels
2014: Koichi Yamamura International Strategic Communication Award, IPRRC
2013: Top Paper Award, International Public Relations Research Conference, USA
2013: Jackson Sharpe Award, Institute for Public Relations, USA
2012: Top Paper Award, EUPRERA Annual Conference, Istanbul
2012: Top Paper Award, International Public Relations Research Conference, USA
2011: Jackson-Sharpe Award, Institute for Public Relations, USA
1997: Ludwig-Schunk-Prize for Economic Science, University of Giessen
1995: Albert-Oeckl-Prize, German Public Relations Society (DPRG), Bonn
1995: PhD Award, University of Erlangen-Nueremberg
1989: Award of the Hermann-Weiler-Foundation, Nuremberg
Awards for communication campaigns
2010: PR Report Award "Innovative PR-Strategy"
2009: Federal Award for University Communication, BMBF/HINB
2005: German Multimedia Award
2000: German Public Relations Award (Deutscher PR-Preis)
Awards for theses
Several advisees of Dr. Zerfass have received awards for their graduate theses in Germany or Europe:
2017: Young Researcher Award, German Association of Press Spokespersons (BdP)
2017: Scientific Award, German Public Relations Association (DPRG) (best graduate thesis in Germany)
2016: Master Thesis Award, EUPRERA (best graduate thesis in Europe)
2016: Best Student Paper Award, IPRRC 2016, Miami
2015: Master Thesis Award, EUPRERA (best graduate thesis in Europe)
2012: Albert Oeckl Award, German Public Relations Association (DPRG)
2012: Young Researcher Award, German Association of Press Spokespersons (BdP)
2011: Digital Communication Award (best graduate thesis on digital PR in Europe)
2010: Young Researcher Award, German Association of Press Spokespersons (BdP)
2010: Gold Award "Student of the Year", PR Report / PR Week Germany
2009: Young Researcher Award, German Association of Press Spokespersons (BdP)
2007: Young Researcher Award, German Association of Press Spokespersons (BdP)
Current research fields
Corporate Communications, Communication of medium-sized companies, Non-Profit Communication, PR Research, Online Communication, Reputation/Brand/Trust, Communication Measurement/Evaluation, Integrated Communications
Jana Brockhaus, Kerstin Lustig, Felix Vierheller, Daniel Ziegele
Office Academic Society for Management & Communication
Secretary/ Personal Assistant
Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfass
Professor and Chair of Strategic Communication
Institute of Communication and Media Studies
University of Leipzig | Burgstraße 21 | D-04109 Leipzig
Phone +49 341 97 35040 | Fax +49 341 97 35 049 | firstname.lastname@example.org