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Thomas Hirth becomes new director of the Fraunhofer IGB

On 3rd December 2007, Prof. Dr. Thomas Hirth took over the management of the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart. From April 2008, Hirth will also become the director of the Institute for Interfacial Engineering at the University of Stuttgart, a post currently held by the former IGB director, Professor Herwig Brunner.

"Our research activities in the fields of material sciences, life sciences and biotechnology make important contributions to the shaping of a sustainable future,” said Professor Hirth summarising his vision. “We are working on key innovations that will introduce a new era of industrial and social development, in the same way as the steam engine did 150 years ago and the car and petrochemical industry 50 years ago.
Professor Thomas Hirth, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB
For this reason Hirth’s objective is to work towards the expansion of different areas besides the IGB’s already established fields of business. This will include the development of biomaterials for medical use, the establishment of pharmaceutical technology and chemistry as well as investigations into the potential of hydrogen, biobutanol and bioethanol as sources of energy.

Hirth was first involved in the Fraunhofer Society 15 years ago. Following his studies and doctorate in 1992, he became a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Karlsruhe. 30 months later at the age of 33, Hirth became head of the Department of Environmental Engineering, which he subsequently developed into one of the largest and most successful ICT departments. The topic of his doctoral thesis in the field of “supercritical fluids” also remained one of his major interests at the ICT and provided the basis for numerous developments – including recently a process that enables the production of polyols for use in polyurethanes i.e. the production of plastics from sugar.
Professor Hirth has been the coordinator of the Fraunhofer Institutes’ perspective topic “Industrial, white biotechnology” since 2005 and has made a major contribution to the acquisition of several large white biotechnology projects as well as to the use of renewable materials funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Ministry of Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and the Fraunhofer Society. This also involved coordinating collaborative work between eight Fraunhofer institutes.

In addition, Hirth also lectures at numerous universities of applied sciences: He has been lecturer and honorary professor at the Wiesbaden-Rüsselsheim University of Applied Sciences since 1994 and 2003. The 46-year old father of three succeeds Professor Herwig Brunner who was the director of the IGB for 14 years and retired at the end of April 2007.

Source: Fraunhofer Society - 11.12.2007
Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/news/thomas-hirth-becomes-new-director-of-the-fraunhofer-igb