Events for Fraunhofer-Alumni

Exclusive events or free trade fair tickets - benefit from special conditions as a Fraunhofer Alumni!

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Mentoring - A new programme for Alumni

As a member of Alumni e.V. you are invited to get involved as a mentor or within the framework of an industrial partnership for young start-ups. Are you planning to start your own business? Accompany a young team or get started with exciting Fraunhofer technologies! Information and contacts can also be found in our Fraunhofer Alumni Portal.

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Since 2016, the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. has been offering an international network for experts with many advantages and a constantly growing range of services across industries and disciplines.

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Alumni-Spotlight - Carl Toller, Fraunhofer IPT

Easy enough for 12-year-olds - IPT alumnus Carl Toller

Carl Toller ist passionierter Läufer und hat sogar schon den Göteborg-Marathon gewonnen.
© Privat
Carl Toller is a passionate runner and has even won the Gothenburg Marathon.
Conducted a literature research about strategic goals for technology platforms in diversified companies for Fraunhofer IPT at RWTH Aachen.
© Ingenjörsbyrå Forma AB
Conducted a literature research about strategic goals for technology platforms in diversified companies for Fraunhofer IPT at RWTH Aachen.

Carl Toller is a design engineer at the Gothenburg engineering company Forma. It is known 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 also been president of the student union of his alma mater, the Chalmers University of Technology. In 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 his free time with marathon competitions and training. Running, as he puts it, is the best way to develop new creative ideas.


What led you to Fraunhofer?

It was in autumn 2015, during my Erasmus year at RWTH Aachen University. I was a mechanical engineering student with a focus on product development and management. A young lecturer informed us about his job at Fraunhofer and his project. That sounded exciting to me and he arranged to join his team. That was a stroke of luck, because during my stay abroad I not only wanted to go to school but also gain practical experience.


What were the main interests, what was the project about?

It was a project for Simon Ryschka's dissertation. Together with other students and Master's students we investigated which strategic goals diversified companies with an international perspective can achieve with the help of technology platforms. Also the implementation and how market potentials can be tapped was subject of this research. The result of this cooperation between RWTH Aachen University and Fraunhofer IPT is a descriptive model that makes it easier for companies to better understand technology platforms and set strategic goals.


What did you gain from your time at Fraunhofer?

When I returned to Sweden from Fraunhofer in order to continue my studies, I noticed that during these months I had made a very clear professional development. I made a big step forward that I would not have made at home. Perhaps it was the passion for excellence at Fraunhofer that had a lasting influence on me.

I was certainly inspired by the fact that I was working in the field led by Prof. Günter Schuh. Today, his projects are known far beyond the academic world, and I continue to follow them with great interest. The most important aspect was propably the close relationship with the industry at Fraunhofer. At the same time we did not lose the scientific focus. Industrial companies are very self-focused. In the scientific environment, on the other hand, the focus is on evidence, facts and applicability. Fraunhofer manages to unite the best of both worlds.

It was also the Fraunhofer experience that convinced me: When I design a model, it has to be easy to use. My rule of thumb is: you have to be able to explain it to a 12-year-old child within five minutes, otherwise it's too complex.


Why is that?

That sounds a bit provocative and that's the way it's meant to be. But otherwise such models are not used. A manager with a busy schedule has other worries than entering data into a sheet he doesn't understand. He is also not interested in doing a one-week training only to be able to work with a model.

In this project I made many interesting experiences, learned a lot about technology platforms. I was then able to use these results for my own master thesis. I developed a framework with which companies can determine their status quo and check which strategic steps make sense. I still work with this model in my projects today.



Supercharge your Network as a member of Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V.! And many more benefits!

  • We offer former Fraunhofer employees permanent and systematic networking with excellently trained experts. Benefit from this community via the portal of the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V.! Nearly 1100 experts and scientists are now connected.
    Our members can also visit the Fraunhofer-Alumni-Summit free of charge in 2020. In 2019 it took place together with the Fraunhofer conference series "FUTURAS IN RES" on artificial intelligence in Berlin and was one of the anchor events for the 70th anniversary celebrations of Fraunhofer.
    Visit other exclusive events of our association such as "»CONNECTING ALUMNI - Erfahrung und Expertise im Dialog" or our INNOVATIONSLOUNGE.
    Accelerate your professional development: Via the Alumni Career Portal you can present your expertise exclusively to the association's renowned sponsoring companies.
    Numerous Fraunhofer events such as the evening festivities at the annual conference of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft or the "Netzwert" are open to you  as a member. You also receive free trade fair tickets for events such as LASER, IAA or MEDICA.

    Benefit from discounts on Fraunhofer offers, such as a discount on seminars at the Fraunhofer FOKUS Academy.

    Use the association portal to obtain exclusive information, reports and interviews from the world of Fraunhofer alumni, job offers.
  • You can network with top-class experts in business and science or meet old acquaintances back again.

    Join us on LinkedIn or Twitter or register as a member of the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. here.

Der schwedische Tag der Zimtschnecke ist ein wichtiger Feiertag!
© Ingenjörsbyrå Forma AB
The Kanelbullens Dog is an important holiday in Sweden! Carl Toller enjoys the taste of a cinnamon bun.

You have experience in both countries, do you think there are differences between the scientific landscape in Sweden and Germany?

I would like to take a look at the cultural differences in general. Swedish organisations are much more concerned about building up consensus in their teams. Many managers are afraid to make decisions on their own. There are lengthy discussions and more resistance from employees. This sometimes leads too far, because details are discussed that are not yet relevant.

When you have a manager in Germany, you usually follow the instructions. In many cases, this is more effective because decisions and implementations take place more quickly. However, this does not mean that this is always the better way: depending on the situation, it can also be helpful to have these extra loops. This can lead to better decisions, and you have the advantage of having the team fully behind you.

Otherwise, I see a lot of similarities between Germans and Swedes. Maybe you could say that Germans are a bit more open. It's easier to find new friends, which is perhaps also due to the more international audience of the university city of Aachen. If you have a circle of friends in Sweden, it's very intensive, but it's also harder to set up such networks.


You are networked via Fraunhofer alumni, do you have any other points of reference to Germany?

I try to come to Germany at least once a year. I've been to NRW several times now and mainly to West Germany and I've been to the Oktoberfest once. I wasn't as frequent in East Germany yet, but I'd like to make up for that. I always travel with an Open Mind and let myself be surprised where I end up.

At the moment I am thinking about a longer stay in Germany because I have really had great experiences there. However, such foreign assignments also involve a considerable amount of bureaucracy. After my time in Aachen I swore to myself: never again! But that didn't stop me from going abroad again two years later, this time to the Netherlands.


What do you think makes a stay abroad special?

You start with a new sheet of paper. You can try out new things, even on a personal level. For example, I started to eat vegan food at the RWTH, which I still do today, unless the Kanelbullens Dog (Day of the Cinnamon Roll) intervenes on 4 October.


Are there any more interesting holidays in Sweden?

I celebrate Tie-Friday and therefore come to the office with my suit and tie on Fridays, so to speak as a counterweight to Casual Friday. I try to convince my colleagues of the advantages of a more formal dress code. But at the moment I'm the only one at Forma wearing suits and I'm the only one with a pin of the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. on the reverse!


Thank you for the conversation, Mr. Toller!


1000th member of Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V.

Prof. Dr. Kurz begrüßt auf der Mitgliederversammlung des Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. Frau Dr. Edeltraud Leibrock als 1000. Mitglied.
© Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V./Martin Schindler
Prof. Dr. Kurz und Frau Dr. Edeltraud Leibrock

More and more former employees of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft join the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. They benefit from a top-class network, events, trade fair visits, exclusive Fraunhofer events and other advantages. At the annual general meeting of Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V., which took place as part of the 4th Fraunhofer Alumni Summit on November 20 in Berlin, Dr. Edeltraud Leibrock, Partner and Managing Director of Connected Innovations GmbH, which she co-founded, was welcomed as the 1,000th member.

"I was very happy to accept the invitation to join the association. It is great to be accepted in this way," explained the entrepreneur. "Networks such as the Fraunhofer Alumni e.V. are an important contribution to the promotion of innovation, I am looking forward to the top-class scientific and professional exchange."


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.

To the interview.

Alumni-Meeting - »E-Mobility, Connected Cars
& Autonomous Driving«

15. Oktober - München

Together with alumni of the University of St. Gallen and the HSG Alumni Club Munich, the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. invites you to the Fraunhofer headquarters in Munich on the topic "E-Mobility, Connected Cars & Autonomous Driving". With Prof. Andreas Herrmann, Director at the Institute for Customer Insight, University of St. Gallen (HSG), and Mario Trapp, Director of the Fraunhofer ESK, two internationally renowned experts will talk about new mobility and security concepts. Further lectures, a discussion round and exhibits from the Fraunhofer world on the subject of "autonomous driving" are planned. Networking and a flying buffet will conclude our prelude to "CONNECTING ALUMNI - Experience and Expertise in Dialogue". This series of events is organized by Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. in cooperation with alumni associations of universities and companies.

More details and registration here.

Academia meets Management - the first INNOVATIONLOUNGE

 More than 120 experts from research and management discussed the opportunities and risks of digitization in medium-sized businesses at the first INNOVATIONLOUNGE of the Fraunhofer Alumni e.V. in Munich. Under the motto "Intelligent networking and AI in production", alumni of the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. as well as employees of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft exchanged ideas with managers of Atreus GmbH, a provider of interim management, about current digital technologies in companies. In addition to presentations on the Fraunhofer research status in digitization and artificial intelligence, Andreas Widl, CEO of valve manufacturer SAMSON, showed how his company is implementing digital transformation and is already expanding its lead over its international competitors.

To the article.

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.

Continue reading!

IAP-Alumna Nguyen-Kim wins prestigious Friedrichs Prize

Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim
© © WDR / Thomas Kierok Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim

The Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. is proud to announce that the "Quarks" presenter, science journalist, chemist and Fraunhofer-IAP alumna Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim has won the Hanns-Joachim-Friedrichs-Award 2019 together with ZDF presenter Harald Lesch.

The jury was convinced by the "lively language and unbridled lust and curiosity" of the two journalists, with which they make even complex topics understandable for their viewers and users. Professor Alexander Böker, Head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP, congratulated the 31-year-old on his cosmopolitan attitude. Nguyen-Kim is particularly interested in science among the younger generation. 

To article.  

The New "Career Portal for Fraunhofer Employees"

Since May 2018, the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. has been offering the "Career Portal", the main focus of which is on supporting departing Fraunhofer employees in their further career development outside the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

It addresses Fraunhofer employees who will leave the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft within the next 6 months due to the termination of a temporary contract, and offers them a platform to hire their own applicants. Former Fraunhofer employees who have been alumni for some time can also use this portal. Access to these application profiles is restricted exclusively to the Fraunhofer-Alumni e.V. companies interested in highly qualified specialists.

Interested Fraunhofer employees and institute administrations can find further information in the Alumni section of the Fraunhofer Intranet and in the flyer following this text.

If you have any questions, please contact us:

Martin Schindler    
Speaker Alumni - Editorial Office and Career Portal
Phone: +49 89 1205-2158