President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Prof. Reimund Neugebauer was born on June 27, 1953 in Thuringia, Germany.
He studied mechanical engineering at Technische Universität Dresden (TUD), where he obtained his doctorate in 1984 and his postdoctoral lecturing qualification (Habilitation) in 1991.
After holding various senior positions in industry, he was appointed as a university lecturer at TUD in 1989, subsequently becoming executive director of the Institute for Forming Technology and Machine Tools in 1990. From 2000 he held the position of managing director of the Institute for Machine Tools and Production Processes at Chemnitz University of Technology (TU Chemnitz).
On October 1, 2012, Prof. Neugebauer was appointed the 10th President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.
With his profound management and R&D background, he is responsible for research, science policy and international affairs. During his presidency, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft grew by around 10,000 employees and increased its research budget by around one billion euros.
Prof. Neugebauer has been co-chair of the High-Tech Forum and is member of the Steering Committee of the In-novation Dialog, working closely with the Federal Chancellor and other representatives of the federal government, science, industry and society. He is also a member of the Steering Committees of the Industrie 4.0 and Lernende Systeme platforms, which are joint undertakings involving the government, industry, professional associations and the scientific community.
Prof. Neugebauer’s many other distinctions include the Order of Merit of the German State of Saxony and the Officer‘s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Director-General for Research for Technological Sovereignty and Innovation at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Since 2019, Prof. Ina Schieferdecker has been Director-General for Research for Technological Sovereignty and Innovation at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). She is also member of the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech).
Before joining the BMBF, Prof. Schieferdecker was the director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS, professor for Quality Engineering of Open Distributed Systems (QDS) at the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB) and director of the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society – The German Internet Institute, as well as a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), the Hightech Forum 2025 (HTF), the Science Platform Sustainability 2030 (WPN2030) and the board of Technologiestiftung Berlin (TSB). She has received the EUREKA Innovation Award and the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Award for Young Professors. Her research interests include technological sovereignty & innovation, digitalization & transformation to sustainability, quality engineering of open distributed systems, conformance, interoperability, security & certification, communication networks & internet technologies.
Professor at University of Innsbruck, Co-Founder Alpine Quantum Technologies GmbH
Prof. Rainer Blatt studied physics and received his PhD at the University of Mainz (Germany). As a postdoctoral fellow, he worked on the laser cooling of atomic beams with John L. Hall (Nobel Prize in 2005) in Boulder (USA) and as a research assistant at the University of Hamburg (Germany) with P. Toschek, where he worked with single trapped ions.
In 1994, he became a professor of physics at the University of Göttingen and in 1995, he accepted a chair position at the Institute for Experimental Physics of the University of Innsbruck, where he works with trapped ions in Paul traps for quantum computers, quantum simulations, and quantum metrology.
Since 2003 he has been the research director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) in Innsbruck (Austria).
Prof. Rainer Blatt is co-founder of Alpine Quantum Technologies GmbH (AQT) in Innsbruck, a company that develops commercial quantum computers. For his quantum information research, he received the Schrödinger Prize of the ÖAW in 2006, the Stern-Gerlach Medal of the German Physical Society (DPG) in 2012, the John Stewart Bell Prize of CQIQC (Toronto) in 2015 and the Micius Quantum Prize in 2018.
Prof. Rainer Blatt is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
CEO - Quantum Optics Jena GmbH
Dr. Kevin Füchsel studied physics at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and worked in the field of nanotechnology and semiconductors for his dissertation.
For more than seven years he has worked as the senior director for business development and marketing at the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and has profound knowledge of the development and implementation of innovation and strategy processes.
In 2020, he was one of the founding members of Quantum Optics Jena GmbH. The QOJ team develops quantum-based cyber security solutions and photonic hardware for quantum computing and imaging.
Founder and member of the executive board of TOPTICA Photonics AG
Dr. Wilhelm Kaenders has directed the growth of TOPTICA from a small start-up into a fully developed international operation, including subsidiaries in the US, Japan and China. With 400 people, the company focuses on the development and production of laser tools for industry and academia and has become one of Europe’s leading high-tech laser and photonics company headquartered near Munich, Germany.
TOPTICA’s core business addresses international industrial and academic research and newly emerging industrial application markets. The scientific field of quantum optics, in particular rapidly emerging cold atom and ion physics activities, have been using the laser instrumentation developed at TOPTICA for many years, as is documented in many hundreds of scientific papers. The company is also active in the field of biophotonics and non-destructive material testing.
Dr. Kaenders received a degree in physics from Bonn University and the International Diploma of the Imperial College, London in 1989. He then finalized a PhD in physics in Hannover in the field of laser-cooled atoms and ions by devising and building magnetic atom optics devices under the guidance of Prof. D. Meschede. In collaboration with the Ludwig-Maximillian University/Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics group of Theodor Hänsch, sophisticated tunable and narrow band diode laser technology was developed during that period. This served as the starting point for the commercial activities of TOPTICA in the following years.
Dr. Kaenders is an active member of OSA (Fellow), SPIE (Fellow), and the German Physical Society (DPG). For the term 2009-2011, Wilhelm served as elected director-at-large on the board of the Optical Society (OSA). Since 2007, he has been a member and since 2009 chairman of the advisory board of “LASER. World of Photonics” – an industrial consulting body to the Messe München, Germany. His scientific work was recognized with the Berthold-Leibinger Innovation Award in 2016 and the OSA Paul-Forman-Excellence Award in 2017.
IBM Fellow, Head Science & Technology, Lead IBM Research Quantum Europe & Africa
Dr. Heike Riel is an IBM Fellow, head of Science & Technology and Lead of IBM Research Quantum Europe & Africa. She leads the research agenda and operation of the Science & Technology department with the aim to create scientific and technological breakthroughs in quantum computing and technologies, physics of artificial intelligence, nanoscience and nanotechnology and to explore new directions to computing. She is a distinguished expert in semiconductor electronic and optoelectronic devices, nanotechnology and nanosciences and focuses her research on advancing the frontiers of information technology through the physical sciences. Her research has contributed to advancements in OLED display technology, molecular electronics and semiconductor nanoscale materials and devices.
Dr. Riel received the master’s in physics from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and the PhD in physics from University of Bayreuth and an MBA from Henley Business College (UK). She has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and filed more than 50 patents.
She has received several prestigious honors, e.g., elected member of the Leopoldina – German National Academy of Sciences and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences; she was awarded the APS David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics, the Applied Physics Award of the Swiss Physical Society, and the 2022 IEEE Andrew S. Grove Award. She was honored as Fellow of the American Physical Society, and with an honorary doctorate by Lund University.
Professor of computer science, University of Bonn and Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS
Prof. Christian Bauckhage is a professor of computer science at the University of Bonn, scientific director of the Fraunhofer Center for Machine Learning and lead scientist at Fraunhofer IAIS. He obtained a PhD in computer science from Bielefeld University, Germany, was a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Vision Research in Toronto, and worked as a senior research scientist at Deutsche Telekom Laboratories in Berlin. His research focuses on efficient and informed algorithms for data mining, pattern recognition, and machine learning. Practical applications of his research can be found in areas as diverse as finance, production, and medicine. He is a frequent public speaker and passionate proponent of open science.
Associate research professor, Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Colorado in Boulder
Prof. Svenja Knappe obtained her Ph.D. in physics and holds an adjunct associate professorship in the Neuroscience and Psychology department at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
She is also a co-founder of FieldLine Inc., which has developed multi-channel magnetometer systems for biomagnetic measurements.
Knappe’s work focuses on developing miniaturized quantum sensors and systems, with the aim of producing manufacturable, high-performance sensors for large- and small-scale applications. The use of microfabrication technologies and novel packaging processes are a central component in her approach. The interdisciplinary research includes investigations of novel spectroscopic methods, frequency control, and metrology, microfabrication and manufacturing technologies, and magnetic field imaging.
She is also active in the Fraunhofer lighthouse project “QMag” about quantum magnetometry.
Group manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM
Dr. Frank Kühnemann is the group manager for “Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Sensing” at Fraunhofer IPM. In addition, he teaches as a private lecturer at the Institute of Physics, Freiburg University.
The main theme of his professional career is “infrared laser spectroscopy for analytical purposes” including the development of laser sources and spectroscopic techniques as well as interdisciplinary application studies in fields like environmental sensing and life sciences.
Before joining Fraunhofer IPM in 2011, he gained extensive experience in research and teaching at the University of Chicago, Bonn University and the German University in Cairo.
At Fraunhofer IPM, one of his responsibilities is the development of the new area “Quantum sensing” that aims at utilizing quantum states of photons and atoms for sensing applications, including magnetometry and infrared metrology. Since 2018, he has been co-chair of the international annual workshop series “Sensing with quantum light.”
Professor at the University of Innsbruck and co-founder CEO of ParityQC GmbH
Wolfgang Lechner studied physics at the University of Vienna, where he received his PhD in the field of theoretical physics in 2009. After a PostDoc at the University of Amsterdam, he moved to the IQOQI of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Innsbruck (2012) where he worked in the group of Prof. Peter Zoller. In 2016, he became an assistant professor at the University of Innsbruck. With his habilitation at the University of Innsbruck in 2019, he became a tenured professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics. Prof. Lechner develops novel methods for quantum simulation and quantum computing and is best known for the invention of the LHZ (Lechner-Hauke-Zoller) quantum computing architecture.
Wolfgang Lechner founded ParityQC GmbH in 2019 together with Magdalena Hauser, the University of Innsbruck and the Academy of Sciences. The company develops blueprints for quantum computers with a focus on disruptive applications such as solving optimization problems and machine learning.
He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Loschmidt Prize (2011), Wallnöfer Prize (2015), Thirring Prize (2017), START Prize (2017), the Houska Prize (2019) and the Research Faculty Award by Google (2020). ParityQC recently received the Phönix Award and was named one of the most promising spin-offs by Nature. Wolfgang Lechner was among the 32 inventors who are building a better future as named by the magazine Wired. Prof. Lechner has published more than 40 papers, is frequently an invited speaker at international conferences and has filed 7 patents in the field of quantum computing.
CEO and co-founder of Qnami AG
Dr. Mathieu Munsch is CEO and a co-founder of Qnami. He holds an engineering degree from the ENS Grenoble INP and a doctorate from the Université Grenoble Alpes. Dr. Munsch worked as a scientist for the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the University of Basel, where he developed new sources of quantum light and lasers. He is the author of over 15 papers in high profile publications such as Nature and the Physical Review. In 2017, Dr. Munsch created Qnami with the ambition to become a leader in the quantum sensor market. He is actively involved in the European Quantum Flagship program and the creation of a European quantum ecosystem.
Technology Partnerships Director, Europe at Rigetti
Marco Paini is the Technology Partnerships Director, Europe at Rigetti. He currently manages the program to build the first commercial quantum computer in the UK – a collaboration of Rigetti, Oxford Instruments, Phasecraft, the University of Edinburgh and Standard Chartered, sponsored by Innovate UK. Marco Paini previously led quantum computing applications portfolio development of QxBranch, a quantum computing software company acquired by Rigetti in 2019. Prior to QxBranch, Marco Paini spent more than eighteen years with Accenture, where he held several roles in technology. In the last part of his career with Accenture, he oversaw the AI ecosystem and the development of the quantum computing offering for the Accenture UKI Financial Services Technology Advisory practice. Marco Paini studied physics at the University of Pavia, where he collaborated with the Quantum Information Theory Group of the University of Pavia.
Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light
Ph.D., Prof. Vahid Sandoghdar is a pioneer in the field of Nano-Optics, which merges various methods and research areas to investigate fundamental issues in the interaction between light and matter at the nanometer scale.
His current research ranges from quantum optics, plasmonics and ultrahigh resolution microscopy to nanobiophysics. Sandoghdar obtained his bachelor’s in physics from the University of California at Davis in 1987 and doctorate in physics from Yale University in 1993. After a postdoctoral stay at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, he moved to the University of Konstanz in Germany where he started a new line of research to combine single molecule spectroscopy, scanning probe microscopy and quantum optics. In 2001, he accepted a chair at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2011, he became the director of the newly established Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen as well as the Alexander von Humboldt Professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.
Ph.D., Prof. Vahid Sandoghdar is the founder of the new Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin, a joint research center that aims to address questions in fundamental medical research by using physical and mathematical methodologies.
Head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM
Since 2019, Prof. Anita Schöbel has been head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM in Kaiserslautern and professor of applied mathematics at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. Her current research focus lies in optimization, especially in robust optimization and applications for public transport. Here she leads the DFG research group 2083 "Integrated Planning in Public Transport" and is involved in numerous other projects. In 2020, the Ministry of Science, Further Education and Culture appointed her as the “AI Pilot for Mobility of the State of Rheinland-Pfalz”. In addition, she holds numerous posts in committees and positions in the international community for applied mathematics. For example, she is vice president of the "Association of European Operational Research Societies" (EURO) and senator of the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI). For Fraunhofer, she coordinates the competence network "Quantum Computing" and is spokesperson for the "Next Generation Computing" research field.
Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF
Prof. Andreas Tünnermann is director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and director of the Institute for Applied Physics at Friedrich Schiller University. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Helmholtz Institute in Jena. His path led Andreas Tünnermann from his doctorate and post-doctorate at the University of Hanover to the management of the "Research and Development" department at the Laser Center Hanover and, finally, to the professorship for applied physics at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. Today, the physicist leads one of the most creative and productive research groups in the field of photonics in the world. His research interests focus on fundamental principles as well as sophisticated technical aspects related to the generation and control of light. Recent research addresses the challenges of the second quantum revolution. Andreas Tuennermann is member of numerous national and international boards and committees and his research activities have been awarded with various prizes.
Project team leader for Photonic Quantum Technologies at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI
Dr. Nino Walenta has 15 years of experience in academic and industrial research and the development of secure Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) network systems and their components. Prior to joining Fraunhofer HHI in Berlin as project team leader for quantum technologies in December 2019, he worked as a principle research scientist for quantum technologies at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus (Ohio), where one of his focus activities was leading the development of security-certifiable QKD Trusted Node network systems. In 2016, he joined the R&D team of ID Quantique in Geneva (Switzerland) as an QKD architect and project manager, where he was responsible for the development of the company's next generation commercial QKD network systems. In his current role, he is Fraunhofer HHI's project leader for the German "QuNet" project for developing systems for a secure nationwide government agency QKD network.