Most recently acting as heads of the institute’s Products and Energy divisions respectively, the two renowned scientists have been vital in shaping the direction of the institute. They are taking over from Prof. Eckhard Weidner, who is retiring.

Fraunhofer UMSICHT employs around 600 people at its sites in Oberhausen, Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Willich and Dortmund. Working with an annual budget of 57.8 million euros at present, they develop solutions for climate-neutral energy systems, resource-efficient processes and circular products. From the start of August and for the first time in its history, Fraunhofer UMSICHT is now run by two joint directors — both of whom took the first steps on their career paths at the institute. Now, they are responsible for overseeing its future.

“Efficient processes, sustainable products and technologies that are kind to the environment are the key to achieving sustainable value creation and form the basis for transforming the economy into a circular one. Fraunhofer UMSICHT is playing an active role in shaping this transformation,” says Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. “Prof. Renner and Prof. Doetsch are highly experienced, and I am delighted that both of them are taking on these institute management positions. Their outstanding expertise has already helped them contribute a great deal to the institute’s success, and it will give them the tools they need to highlight important aspects of achieving an energy-efficient circular economy in the future.”

Prof. Manfred Renner holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and specializes in process engineering and business development. He has been employed in a number of roles at Fraunhofer UMSICHT since 2006, most recently heading up the Products division with 126 employees and a budget of 14.8 million euros.

Alongside his institute management position, Prof. Renner is also taking charge of the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE in August 2022. In this role, he represents the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on a national and European level in matters concerning the transformation of industry and society into a circular economy. In addition, Prof. Renner is in the process of establishing a professorship in Responsible Process Engineering at Ruhr Universität Bochum’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, where he will shape the systemic development of the circular economy on the level of companies, regions and Europe as a whole.

“I am very grateful that the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Ruhr Universität Bochum have placed their confidence in me and I’m really looking forward to taking up my new role. It’s especially exciting because of the sustainable technical and design solutions that we’re going to be developing in response to large-scale societal and economic challenges over the coming decades. I intend to use my skills to enhance the institute’s strong position in these areas, working together with Prof. Christian Doetsch and the Fraunhofer UMSICHT team,” said Renner on his appointment.

Prof. Christian Doetsch has been conducting research in the field of energy for more than 25 years now, a period that he has mostly spent at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. As head of the Energy division, he led a team of around 145 employees and oversaw a budget in the region of 10.4 million euros. The energy expert is also deputy spokesperson of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance and task manager for the energy storage group at the International Energy Agency (IEA). Alongside these positions, he is a co-founder of Open District Hub e. V., an association that promotes energy transition measures in local neighborhoods through energy systems integration. Since January 2020, he has held a professorship in Cross Energy Systems at Ruhr Universität Bochum’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. There he conducts research into the environmental assessment and resilience of cross-sectoral energy systems.

“I am delighted to be taking up this interdisciplinary role alongside my colleague Prof. Manfred Renner and an outstandingly skilled team. We are currently experiencing a period of far-reaching political and economic change that is bringing our many societal and economic weaknesses into sharp focus. Through responsible research, we want to deliver solutions and offer society sophisticated perspectives from a technological, economic and ecological point of view,” explained Prof. Doetsch.