At a recent meeting of the Joint Science Conference [Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz von Bund und Ländern (GWK)] it was agreed to accept the Foundation Institute of Materials Science (IWT) as a member of the Leibniz Association as of January 2018. The decision came after an application procedure lasting several years, culminating last summer in a positive evaluation by the German Science Council. The Science Council is the highest science advisory board in Germany.
The news was greeted enthusiastically at the University of Bremen. This will be the third Leibniz Institute on the campus, together with the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology. On hearing the news, the President of the University of Bremen, Professor Bernd Scholz-Reiter, commented: “We are naturally thrilled at this recognition for the Foundation Institute of Materials Science and the associated subject areas of materials, process and production engineering at our University. By joining the Leibniz Association, IWT creates new potential for further developing the field of materials sciences within the University of Bremen and the region”.
Originally founded as the Institute for Hardening Technologies, IWT has been researching the multi-layered area of materials production and process engineering since 1950. In 1975, the institute was turned into a foundation under private law titled Arbeitsgemeinschaft Wärmebehandlung und Werkstofftechnik (AWT) and transferred to the federal state of Bremen. The present foundation structure will still remain after it becomes a member of the Leibniz Association. Since 1986, in addition to materials engineering, the IWT started researching in the areas of process and production engineering – a USP in Germany. It cooperates closely with the University’s Faculty of Production Engineering in the areas of basic research as well as applied research and direct transfer into the practice.
“Being a member of the Leibniz Association creates manifold linkages and opportunities for research collaboration with other Leibniz institutes. We perceive enormous potential here”, says Professor Lutz Mädler, who leads the IWT area of process engineering. Moreover, access to Federal Government and Länder financing opens up improved possibilities to boost research on major topics of the future. IWT researchers investigating process chains of highly stressed metallic components, for instance, perceive attractive opportunities for improving resource and energy efficiency; but also in lightweight construction as well as the development of processes and manufacturing techniques, IWT is involved in Collaborative Research Centers working on unconventional and innovative production methods. “This day signals the start of a whole new era for IWT”, says Professor Hans-Werner Zoch, Managing Director and leader of the Materials Engineering Division. “We, by that I mean everyone at IWT, are looking forward to the new possibilities and challenges that membership in the Leibniz Association will surely bring”.