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Manfred Nowak and Hannes Tretter, together with Felix Ermacora, founded the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (now LBI of Fundamental and Human Rights) in 1992.

Until the end of March 2019, they served as Scientific Directors of the Institute, which they established as the most important and largest research institution for human rights in Austria. The focus was always on the close interaction between research and practice, which continues to shape the Institute's work today.

Since April 2019, Michael Lysander Fremuth has held the position of Scientific Director of the Institute.