Andreas Schaeffer was trained as chemist (University of Muenster, Germany). There, he finished his PhD-thesis in inorganic chemistry in 1984. Afterwards, he worked as postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, Boston/USA, (1984-1986) and at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, (1986-1989) in the field of biochemistry and bio-inorganic chemistry. From 1989-1997 he joined Ciba-Geigy Crop Protection (later Novartis, now Syngenta) in Basel; there he studied the environmental fate of agrochemicals in soil, water and air, from degradation and mass transport points of view. In 1997, he became professor for Environmental Biology and Chemodynamics at the technical University of Aachen (RWTH Aachen; www.bio5.rwth-aachen.de).
His research interests relate to the metabolism of organic xenobiotics, such as pesticides and other chemicals and nano-materials in soil, water and sediments, plants and other organisms. One focus of research relates to the formation of non-extractable residues of chemicals usually lacking information on structure and bioavailability. His group develops also remediation strategies for polluted soils and water by use of phytoremediation. A third area of interest is testing the effects of pollutants on the communities of terrestrial and aquatic organisms, e.g. using semi-field model ecosystems. He has published > 200 papers on these topics (ISI Web of Science, core collection; h 36; > 5400 citations without self-cit.).
In addition to his university work, from 2000-2007 he was scientific director of the Fraunhofer Institute of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology (IME), Schmallenberg, Germany. Since 2003 he is, in addition to his university job, director of the Research Institute for Environmental Analysis and Assessment, gaiac, in Aachen/Germany (www.gaiac-eco.de), an independent spin-off company of the university group. In 2012 and 2014, he became adjunct and honorary professor at Nanjing and Chongqing universities, respectively. He is member of the environmental commission of the National Academy of Sciences in Germany (Leopoldina).
He served as expert for the environmental risk assessment of chemicals in national and international panels (Germany: Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety BVL, National Institute for Risk Assessment BfR; EU: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)).