President of Fraunhofer in Germany visits South Africa

April 5, 2022
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Professor Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Germany, delivered the Keynote Prof Dimitri Dimitrov Memorial Lecture in Stellenbosch last month, during the International Conference on Competitive Manufacturing (COMA’22) held from 9 to 10 March.

In his lecture, titled Manufacturing Systems of Tomorrow – Smart, Efficient and Sustainable, prof Neugebauer highlighted the strategic research fields that Fraunhofer focuses on. These include Hydrogen Technologies; Resource Efficiency and Climate Technologies; Quantum Technologies; Next Generation Computing; Bioeconomy; Digital healthcare, and Artificial Intelligence.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the leading organization for applied research in Europe. Its research activities are conducted by 76 institutes and research institutions at locations throughout Germany, with an annual budget of €3 billion.

International collaboration with outstanding research partners and companies from around the world brings Fraunhofer into direct contact with the key regions that drive scientific progress and economic development.

In South Africa, the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for the Water-Energy-Food Nexus at Stellenbosch University (FIP-WEF@SU) was established in 2020. This long-term cooperation aims to jointly develop needs-based technological and cross-sectoral solutions for water, energy and food security in partnership with Fraunhofer institutes that form part of the Fraunhofer Water Systems Alliance (SysWasser) and the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance.

These solutions will be rolled out as part of collaborative projects between Fraunhofer institutes, Stellenbosch University, and other partners in Southern Africa. At Stellenbosch University, the FIP-WEF@SU is represented by the Faculties of Engineering, Science and Agrisciences and supported by the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) and the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI).

The FIP-WEF@SU develops systemic solutions in integrated environmental protection for industry, cities, and regions. The field of activity extends to the development of concepts, processes as well as individual technologies and products to achieve the highest possible resource efficiency, keeping the environmental impact and the circular economy in mind.

The main objective of the COMA conference is to present recent developments, research results and industrial experience related to Smart, Sustainable Manufacturing. A further objective of the conference is to be a generator of innovative ideas and fruitful collaboration both locally and abroad.  The conference is held every three years and is organised by the Department of Industrial Engineering at Stellenbosch University.