Alumni at Fraunhofer

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At the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft we are taking the future into our own hands and asking again and again: What's next? As a Fraunhofer alumni, you have access to a worldwide and interdisciplinary network of top-class experts in business, science and politics. Benefit from the numerous advantages of this exclusive membership.

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The Fraunhofer Alumni Portal offers you additional information, job offers, event information, information about your former institute and unique networking opportunities. This exclusive service is only available to members of the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V.. 

Without the Fraunhofer-Alumni-Award GreenUp Sahara would have starved#

Marc Beckett in front of a series of experiments with different nutrient solutions for the GreenUp Sahara project.
© Fraunhofer IGB
Marc Beckett in front of a series of experiments with different nutrient solutions for the GreenUp Sahara project.

For decades, tens of thousands of Sahrawis have been living in refugee camps in the middle of the Sahara. The GreenUp Sahara team is now developing systems to grow vegetables in this hostile environment and thus improve the nutritional situation in these camps. Despite strong competition from the other outstanding projects, the GreenUp Sahara project won the Fraunhofer Alumni Award by a wide margin of the votes of the Fraunhofer alumni and received the prize money of 10,000 euros. In this interview, Marc Beckett, an expert in water technologies and resource recovery at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart, explains what the challenges are and what further steps are now being taken. He also describes the adverse living conditions of the people in the camps.

 

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Beyond mp3 - Karlheinz Brandenburg on his new project #

Finding an inductee into the “Internet Hall of Fame” among the ranks of Fraunhofer alumni is no surprise: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. rer. nat. h.c. mult. Karlheinz Brandenburg is one of the inventors of the MP3mp3 file format, probably the most important development for the music industry since the invention of vinyl records. Just a few months ago, he resigned as director of Fraunhofer IDMT to enjoy a “not-so-retired” retirement, as he puts it himself. Not content with just being a senior professor at Ilmenau University of Technology, the founder and CEO of Brandenburg Labs has also been enthusiastically working on “the next big thing”: PARty, quasi the acoustic equivalent of virtual reality. In addition to creating a perfect auditory illusion for the listener, the device serves as an acoustic magnifying glass or filter — essentially, it will allow the user to block out or listen closely to specific sounds. The possible applications are plentiful, but the project is still a long way off from being market ready. While the researchers are facing many challenges, as an investor and researcher, Brandenburg has not been scared off. As with the development of the MP3, this new project is the work of a relatively small, tightly knit team.

 

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ecoSUP - Stand-up paddleboard from old wind turbines#

© Fraunhofer WKI
Christoph Pöhler wants to develop a SUP that consists of 100 percent bio-based materials and also uses balsa wood that comes from decommissioned wind turbines.

ecoSUP has set itself the goal of 100 percent bio-based paddling pleasure. Christoph Pöhler, a water sports enthusiast from the Fiji Islands, thousands of kilometers away, rowing on a SUP (standup paddle), encounters plastic waste floating in the sea, and he came up with the idea for "ecoSUP". His board is to consist of 100 percent renewable and recycled raw materials. Up to now, almost completely non-biodegradable plastics have been used for such boards. Pöhler wants to change this and he is setting himself major challenges. At the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI, the doctoral student will find technologies that are unique worldwide and a great deal of expertise for the implementation of this project. We talked with the enthusiastic scientist, water sports enthusiast and world saver about the special challenges and further plans for ecoSUP.


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"The future of work will be extremely decentralized" Fraunhofer-Venture Alumna Tina Ruseva#

Dr. Tina Ruseva advises the European Commission; she launched the Big & Growing Festival, and she founded her first company right after college. Some companies listed on the DAX are now introducing the mentoring platform from her second start-up, Mentessa. The idea for that came to Ruseva, a native of Bulgaria, because she was so frustrated with many mentoring formats that she finally brought her own concept to market. Networking was also the subject of her work for the Fraunhofer Venture TechBridge, where she created the TandemCamp format, which brought together Fraunhofer scientists with entrepreneurs in growth industries.

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Fraunhofer SIT Alumnus Dr. Siegfried Rasthofer receives the renowned Curious Mind Award#

Even when he was a teenager, Dr. Siegfried Rasthofer experimented with harmless self-programmed viruses. Today he is manager of the insurance company Munich Re and assists major clients suffering cyberattacks. For his research into IT security and his developments, which he implements at, among other places, Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology, he has now received the Curious Mind Award in the category “Digitalization and Robotics”.

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“Think Like a Hacker”#

To protect your IT, you must think like a hacker yourself, Christian Brandt is sure of that. And he knows what he’s talking about. While at university, he got engrossed in the idea of cracking a security chip. He spent all his free time trying to find the weak points in the system that still to this day “secures” voting machines and at the time was even used in payment systems. Still a student, Christian Brandt was allowed to use the infrastructure of the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT. Today he is a researcher in the Cyber-Physical Systems Security Department and heads the Mongoose Group of the Fraunhofer SIT, one of the institute’s hacking teams.

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"Future is a good Word” - IFU-Alumna Dr. Edeltraud Leibrock#

© Privat
Dr. Edeltraud Leibrock is "proud to be part of the Fraunhofer Community, because Fraunhofer uses innovation and cutting-edge technology to move forward."

Dr. Edeltraud Leibrock loves the opera, the mountains, a range of sports, and this physicist has been supporting businesses with her IT expertise ever since she was 16 years old. It all started with a holiday job working on programs for capturing production data and analyzing cement at a lime manufacturing plant near Regensburg. For her doctoral dissertation, the triathlete swapped Regensburg for the Alps, so that she could perform atmospheric research work at the Fraunhofer IFU in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. After that, she was appointed to the executive board of KfW Bankengruppe as CIO, where she was responsible for IT. But as a Fraunhofer alumna it is only natural for her to ask - #WHATSNEXT. Since 2016, as partner and managing director of Connected Innovations, one of the digital and KI consulting firms co-founded by her, she advises cross-sector enterprises on the complex issues concerning digital transformation.


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Quersumme - Exclusively for members of the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. #

As a member of Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V., you can now also read the quarterly journal in German language for Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft employees online. To get started, we have made all four issues from 2019 available.
Until now, members could only obtain the printed version. This is still possible. You can find further information in our portal.
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»Easy enough for 12-year-olds« IPT alumnus Carl Toller#

© Privat
Fraunhofer IPT alumnus Carl Toller is a Design Engineer and a winning marathon runner.

Carl Toller is a design engineer at the Gothenburg engineering firm Forma. The company gained fame for its contribution to the interior of the Volvo CX40, the car of the year 2018. The travel-loving mechanical engineer is involved in the Swedish Rheumatism Society and has been president of the student union of his alma mater, the Chalmers University of Technology. For his many different projects he still uses a self-developed framework based on a project of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT. He spends most of his free time with marathon competitions and training. Running, as he puts it, is the best way to develop new creative ideas.


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Review 4th Fraunhofer Alumni Summit#

Dr. Roland Busch, Deputy CEO, CTO, CHRO and Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG on the importance of industrial AI for the digital economy.
© Fraunhofer / Nell Jones
Dr. Roland Busch, Deputy CEO, CTO, CHRO and Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG on the importance of industrial AI for the digital economy.

"We used to tell robots what to do. Tomorrow the machines will decide for themselves how to do it!" Opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence were the focus of the fourth central networking meeting of former Fraunhofer employees. With keynotes, Dr. Roland Busch, Deputy Chairman, CTO and member of the Executive Board of Siemens AG, and Prof. Dr. Thomas Wiegand, Institute Director of Fraunhofer HHI, provided decisive impetus for a lively panel discussion. Already in the afternoon, visitors informed themselves about the manifold applications of artificial intelligence and the latest state of research during guided tours of the Fraunhofer Institutes IPK and HHI. At the concluding dinner, Fraunhofer alumni had many opportunities to meet old acquaintances and make new contacts.

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»We're about even!« – Fraunhofer IOF alumnus Dr. Alexandre Gatto #

Alexandre Gatto and Gérard Mourou met at the Photonics Days in Jena.
© Privat
Alexandre Gatto and Gérard Mourou met at the Photonics Days in Jena.

Car windows display personalized information, react to gestures, measure temperature or provide shade. This sounds like a futuristic dream, but Alexandre Gatto, head of the Microstructured Optics division, and his team at Carl Zeiss in Jena are already developing smart multifunctional glass technologies. According to the IOF alumnus, we can already expect applications for smart glass in the coming years. This is also because he and his team are working on it with great commitment. If, contrary to expectations, the Nobel Prize doesn't work out for the Gatto team, it's due to the statistics - but more about that later. From Marseille, he went to the Fraunhofer Institute for Optics and Precision Engineering IOF for a postdoctoral position. With small intermediate stations, the physicist has remained true to Jena, Optics and the IOF.  

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From Fraunhofer IPK back to Brazil as UNIDO ambassador - Dr.-Ing. Rodrigo Pastl#

Dr.-Ing. Rodrigo Pastel
© private

Dr.-Ing. Rodrigo Pastl wanted to "learn just a little German" when he came to Berlin from Brazil in 2013. He stayed for almost five years and fulfilled his greatest dream at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology. Equipped with a "black belt" and the right mindset, he is now back home as a climate saver. He is an ambassador for the UNIDO economic program of the United Nations, optimizes biogas plants and he brings German technologies to the tropical region.

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"Electromobility for all" - IPT alumnus Dr. Nils Klingbeil#

A good and safe car does not necessarily have to be expensive and not necessarily equipped with a combustion engine. The manufacturer e.GO Mobile is turning the German car market upside down, a market previously dominated by traditionalists. Unlike well-known car brands, the young Aachen-based manufacturer concentrates primarily on production technology and thus manages to produce high-quality and affordable electric cars. Dr. Nils Klingbeil brings with him from his time at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT know-how in additive manufacturing and as a process technologist in wire-based deposition welding. In an interview with Fraunhofer alumni, he explains what drives him, why he is fascinated by electromobility and what he has taken with him from Fraunhofer to his new mission as team leader for pre-development.

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The Fraunhofer alumnus that ist generating energy from ocean waves#

© CalWave

Marcus Lehmann spent eight months at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft headquarters in Munich from the end of 2011. Today he runs a company that could make a decisive contribution to humanity's energy supply in the future. The company CalWave Power Technologies Inc., which was co-founded by the Fraunhofer alumnus and which he also chairs as CEO, is developing a power plant that generates electricity from ocean waves. In comparison to wind or solar energy, this process offers various advantages. If the energy of all ocean waves could be captured it would be possible to produce the amount of energy that was consumed worldwide in the entire year of 2008. It is estimated that by 2050 up to 10 percent of Europe's electricity requirements could realistically be covered by energy from the sea.  

The power plants of the young Californian enterprise float under the ocean's surface some distance away from the coastline. This has several advantages: Unlike wind turbines, these plants are under water and thus not visible. They can produce energy even during storms and do not depend on sun and wind. Above all, however, the energy yields from these power plants can be reliably predicted over a long period of time. CalWave Power Technologies was runner up to the U.S. Department of Energy's Wave Energy Prize and is a project of Cyclotron Road, a start-up incubator from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  

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A new start-up and mentoring program for Fraunhofer alumni#

Would you like to support a young team with your expertise and industry knowledge? Your company is interested in new developments and young talents? Or are you planning to set up a young company yourself? For former Fraunhofer employees and industry experts, the commitment to Fraunhofer technologies will become even easier. Together with Fraunhofer Venture, the central spin-off department of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. offers its members numerous opportunities to get involved in start-ups at any time.

The program consists of an initial bootcamp followed by a two-stage support phase for the participants. These camps will take place three times a year.

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Review: Fraunhofer Alumni Summit in Aachen#

Fascinating presentations and top-level talks with bright minds from the academic, political and industrial sectors were on the agenda of the 3rd Fraunhofer Alumni Summit held on 28 September in Aachen. Happy to be reunited, the delegates also entered into animated discussions and creatively communicated research projects concerning additive manufacturing during the Science Slam.

The 3rd Fraunhofer Alumni Summit began with the welcome speech in front of Aachen's landmark building. Touring the cathedral, the place of Charlemagne's coronation, the delegates attuned themselves to the varied two-day event programme and the exchange of interesting ideas. The alumni gained insights into current activities at Fraunhofer during their subsequent visit to the three Aachen-based Fraunhofer institutes – the ILT, the IPT and the IME. Researchers presented the latest interesting research projects concerning laser technology, additive manufacturing and industrial plant cultivation. Excited to see one another again, the delegates saw out the first day together at Aachen's Tivoli stadium, where lively discussions ensued.

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International Alumni Events

More than 40 participants came to the first Fraunhofer alumni event outside Germany in Beijing. More Events for interantional Fraunhofer-Alumni will be offered in the future.

Become a member

As a member of the Fraunhofer Alumni e.V., you are an active part of the alumni network – regardless of where you are currently working or researching. The core is the Fraunhofer Alumni Portal.

What alumni really want

In a survey, Fraunhofer alumni were asked what expectations they have of the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. These results serve as a basis to make the membership of the association even more attractive for present and future members.

Exclusive

  • Meet former colleagues and develop your network at the annual alumni meeting, the "Alumni Summit", on November 10, 2017 in Munich.
  • Read exclusively assessments of future-relevant scientific topics by Fraunhofer experts

Personal

  • Stay connected to your home institute .
  • Get to know Fraunhofer alumni from the fields of business, science and politics.
  • Make new contacts at association events and on the Alumni Portal

Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V.

The Fraunhofer-Alumni-e.V. is a strong community of experts. Here, you can find out who can become a member of the Fraunhofer-Alumni-e.V.

Capable

  • Scientific exchange with Fraunhofer experts
  • Share your skills in the Fraunhofer Alumni Network.
More questions? Please refere to the FAQs

Become am member

As a member of the Fraunhofer Alumni e.V., you are an active part of the alumni network – regardless of where you are currently working or researching. 

International

  • Network with Fraunhofer Fellows worldwide.
  • Stay up-to-date with international research news from the Fraunhofer world

Inspire your career

Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. launched the new "Career Portal", the main focus is on supporting departing Fraunhofer employees and Alumni in their further career. Application profiles are only accessible by supporting enterprises like Bosch. Further information can be found in the Fraunhofer intranet or refer to Martin Schindler.

Fraunhofer-Alumni-Events#

Fraunhofer Alumni Meet-up in Beijing

More than 40 participants came to the first Fraunhofer alumni event outside Germany. At the German Center in Beijing, they attended exciting lectures by Fraunhofer experts and networking in the brewery.