Funding Extended for High Performance Center for Chemical and Biosystems Engineering

Press release / 2.2.2018

The High Performance Center for Chemical and Biosystems Engineering, founded in 2016, will continue to be funded until at least 2021. The decision was made by an expert committee that evaluated the network’s previous activities in central Germany’s chemistry region. The state of Saxony-Anhalt, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, and the participating industry partners are providing an additional 10 million euros a year to establish closed value chains for turning raw materials into final products.

Antikörper Proteine CBS Leistungszentrum Fraunhofer IMWS
© Fraunhofer IMWS
Can antibodies bind to fiber-shaped stretched structures in proteins (shown here in an image from a scanning force microscope)? A process to demonstrate this was developed at the High Performance Center for Chemical and Biosystems Engineering.
Leinöl-Epoxidschaum Dämmstoff Fraunhofer IMWS
© Fraunhofer IMWS
Colored linseed-oil epoxy foams with anhydride/carboxylic acid hardening agents, which were developed at the High Performance Center for Chemical and Biosystems Engineering, can be used as insulation.

The participants in the High Performance Center for Chemical and Biosystems Engineering are Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the University of Leipzig, Anhalt and Merseburg Universities of Applied Sciences and HTWK Leipzig, the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP Leuna, the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI Leipzig and its Department of Drug Design and Target Validation MWT in Halle, the Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Center for Polymer Synthesis and Processing PAZ Schkopau, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS Halle, and more than 60 industrial companies from the region. Their goal is to expand and optimize process engineering chains for the plastics processing, chemical, bioengineering and biomedical industry, from raw materials to products.

The participants presented an interim report after two years, which was evaluated by an expert committee that included representatives from the fields of business, industry and politics as well as Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft representatives. “I am very pleased that the experts recognized our successful work during the first two years of the High Performance Center. We successfully demonstrated the significance of chemical and biosystems technology for the region of central Germany. The decision to keep supporting the network gives us the ability to turn our existing research findings into products, to start new projects involving circular process chains and Chemistry 4.0, and to permanently strengthen the partnerships we have built,” said Prof. Ralf B. Wehrspohn, Head of the Fraunhofer IMWS and one of the spokespeople for the High Performance Center.

Prof. Dr. Armin Willingmann, Minister of Economics, Science and Digitization for the State of Saxony-Anhalt, strongly agreed: “The positive response from the expert committee is a great achievement, and it recognizes the excellent work we have done so far. The High Performance Center for Chemical and Biosystems Engineering acts as a guiding light of research for the Halle-Leipzig region, bringing business and science together. It has an impact well beyond the region and sets a positive example.”

The High Performance Center is networked with three federal Excellence Initiatives, and has already been able to partner with more than 60 companies. Together with the research institutions, they implement innovative ideas, for instance better utilization of renewable raw materials, new solutions for lightweight construction, and improved therapies and drug delivery systems. Thanks to this cooperation, the basic research, application-oriented research and industrial development are becoming more closely aligned, which stimulates value creation in the Halle-Leipzig region.

“The High Performance Center for Chemical and Biosystems Engineering has become an important driver and a highly visible brand in its own right, with a national impact throughout the industry. I would like to thank all of the partners and the Chemistry/Plastics cluster in central Germany for their dedication and for the information from the cluster companies, as well as the successes we have already achieved. The experts’ positive response shows that we are on the right path. At the same time, it should be an incentive for us to shore up our achievements with even more sustainable structures,” said Prof. Frank Emmrich, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI as well as a spokesperson for the High Performance Center.

More than 30 projects are currently taking place at the High Performance Center or have already been completed; more than 50 Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD theses have been written within the network, and more than 30 more are currently being written. Within the network, infrastructure measures with a volume of more than 75 million euros have already been planned on a pilot scale to close the process chains. The nationwide network’s previous successes also include the high level of satisfaction among the participating partners – in a survey, more than 83 percent of them rated the results of their collaboration as “very good.”

The committee will take stock again in three years; in the event of a positive decision, the High Performance Center for Chemical and Biosystems Engineering can then be established permanently. Overall, there are currently 19 Fraunhofer High Performance Centers in Germany. These integrated site concepts are intended to combine existing strengths within a region and effectively raise the profile of each site.