Alumni at Fraunhofer

“Boomerang, innovator and child of the mountains” — interview with Marc Tobias

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ingomar Kelbassa

Marc Tobias, expert in innovation and business models, has spent much of his life outside in the mountains. His project “Kinder der Berge” (Children of the Mountains) aims to provide children who have undergone long-term intensive medical treatments with amazing experiences in nature. Between 2008 and 2009, he was the head of the Corporate and International Markets department at the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW. He went on to become a management consultant for a University of St. Gallen spin-off and a senior expert for EU projects. Business models and strategies for transferring technology to industry still remain the focus of his career today. Since 2018, he has worked to develop such strategies in his role as a techtransfer strategies advisor at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft headquarters.


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The Femal Founding-Dancefloor

Interview with Fraunhofer-Venture-Alumna Claire Siegert

Claire Siegert is a digital nomad with an ambitious vision — she wants to welcome more women in the European startup ecosystem. The project is based on a social problem: among other things, there are significantly fewer female founders than male founders, it is more difficult for female founders to obtain venture capital and, last but not least, there is a lack of female role models in leadership positions.

To welcome more female founders into the startup ecosystem, the Fraunhofer Venture alumna co-founded Businettes, a company that aims to tackle these fundamental problems and help women found their own businesses. The Businettes online incubator program guides female founders through the business ideation process towards their own business case and product. The company also shares the stories of inspiring role models and delivers workshops designed to empower women in their roles as business leaders.

Claire Siegert studied international management and marketing at the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR Berlin), and ESCE International Business School in Paris. After various roles in the private sector, she then joined Fraunhofer IPA and Fraunhofer Venture to dive deeper into the startup scene.

In this interview, she explains how she found her way into the world of startups and shares her tips for fellow company founders.


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“A Fraunhofer family” — interview with Elisabeth Ewen for Fraunhofer-Alumni e. V.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ingomar Kelbassa

On August 1, 2022, Elisabeth Ewen began her new role as Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Corporate Culture and Legal Affairs. Beeing a member of the advisory board since since the creation in 2016, Ms. Ewen has also played a major role in the Fraunhofer-Alumni e. V. association. As the Director of Human Resources at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, she is responsible for all HR functions as well as the department headed by Michael Vogel, which includes the Fraunhofer-Alumni e. V. team. For her, the association is an important link in the Fraunhofer family — among other things, it enables networking that extends beyond the work at Fraunhofer. The new executive vice president believes that face-to-face contact is essential for developing new ideas, even in times marked by extensive digitalization. In this conversation, Ms. Ewen illustrates how she — a technophile lawyer — entered the world of research, the colleagues that she has stayed in contact with, the added value that she sees in Fraunhofer-Alumni e. V. and which key topics she wants to focus on in the future.


“Explore and conquer” — an interview with Fraunhofer IAIS alumnus Salah Zayakh

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ingomar Kelbassa

Salah Zayakh is the founder and CEO of a start-up in payment industry. His motto is: "Never be satisfied with the status quo!" And so his path led him from his studies through various career steps in software development, corporate strategy and finally into a position in management. He also gained valuable experience at the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS, where he was able to combine entrepreneurship and technology. This combination is still a common thread running through his projects today. On new unknown paths, however, he achieves sustainable success primarily through collaborative trial and error and learning, which is why he actively engaging as a mentor.



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Interview with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ingomar Kelbassa

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ingomar Kelbassa
© Fraunhofer ILT

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ingomar Kelbassa worked in Aachen for a number of years. He was deputy Chair for Laser Technology LLT at RWTH Aachen University and head of department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT. In 2016, he joined Siemens. There, he was most recently responsible for the Siemens subsidiary WEISS Spindeltechnologie in his capacity as managing director and was in charge of the research campus Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science in Berlin.

Now the ILT alumnus is returning to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft — as institute director of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Additive Manufacturing Technologies IAPT. However, for Prof. Ingomar Kelbassa, “return” is the wrong word to use — he always felt a connection to Fraunhofer, and research and development were key areas of focus for the mechanical engineer during his six years in the private sector. Now he wants to further industrialize additive manufacturing (AM) at the IAPT in new ways. Despite the move from Dortmund to Hamburg, he will remain a die-hard fan, club member and shareholder of the football club Borussia Dortmund.

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Looking back at the 5th Fraunhofer Alumni Summit “The Future of Logistics”

Ruth Houberts receives the Fraunhofer Founder Award 2016
© Fraunhofer Venture | Marc Müller/dedimag
Ruth Houberts receives the Fraunhofer Founder Award 2016

Greater resilience, more sustainability and digitalization — the focus of the 2021 Fraunhofer Alumni Summit, which was held in hybrid format for the first time, was the future of logistics.
Ordered today, delivered tomorrow. This level of convenience has long been taken for granted in today’s consumer society. However, many essential factors are required in order to maintain this standard, one of the most important of which is stable supply chains. In today’s collaborative and highly networked world, disruptions to supply chains have far-reaching consequences. Logistics, therefore, is the backbone and “enabler” of society, and the supply bottlenecks in recent months are just the latest in a series of events that have increasingly brought it to the attention of the general public. At the same time, this industry has been gaining in societal and economic importance.

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"Everything is fractal" - an interview with Dr. Ruth Houbertz

Ruth Houberts receives the Fraunhofer Founder Award 2016
© Fraunhofer Venture | Marc Müller/dedimag
Ruth Houberts receives the Fraunhofer Founder Award 2016

As a scientist and entrepreneur, Dr. Ruth Houbertz is the recipient of several awards, such as the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize and the Fraunhofer Founder's Prize. She initially worked at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC and used it as a base to found Multiphoton Optics GmbH. She wanted to revolutionize data transmission with this company's technology. And the physicist is still convinced today that many current challenges could be solved with optical data transmission. Even though she decided to sell the company at the beginning of 2021.  In this interview,  the Würzburg resident talks about the new "Society6.0" project and the reasons for the sale, her role in science and business and her role as founder. Above all - joy and enthusiasm should not be given short shrift.


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Fraunhofer Alumni Charity Wine Tasting and Beer Tasting

5. November | digital

The Fraunhofer-Alumni Charity Tasting is going into another round after last year's great success. On Friday, November 5, 2021 at 6:30 p.m., Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. will offer two alternative tastings in a digital format.
You order your tasting box according to your individual taste, enjoy the curated selection of wines or beers at your leisure from home and learn interesting facts from our experts in an entertaining way via live stream - German language.

Drink wine or beer and do good at the same time? Not possible? YES! To mark the occasion, we would like to support the Fraunhofer Executive Board's fundraising campaign for Fraunhofer employees affected by the disastrous floods.

You pay 59.90 euros for the Tasting Box, which includes shipping costs and a 5-euro donation.



Info and regsitration

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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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.


  • 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


  • 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.


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

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. 


  • 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.