Prizes and awards 2020

An outstanding year

Here you will find an overview of the prizes and awards that our scientists received in 2020 for their research and academic work.

New Work@Fraunhofer wins German HR Excellence Award

“New Work@Fraunhofer” is an initiative spearheaded by Fraunhofer IAO in cooperation with Fraunhofer headquarters. Together with Fraunhofer UMSICHT, the initiative now enjoys a spot among the top three in the new work in large companies category of the German HR Excellence Awards 2020. The renowned prize is awarded every year to lighthouse projects in human resources management. Fraunhofer UMSICHT was one of four pilot institutes that tested the design of a modern working structure and innovative management approaches over the past year. As part of “New Work@Fraunhofer,” our Collaboration and Leadership team, led by Josephine Hofmann and coordinated by Anna Hoberg, supports the establishment of new working models within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Now more than ever: Making gender equality a reality during the pandemic

Jj Link and Anette Weisbecker.

The coronavirus crisis has made it clear how important it is to advocate for gender equality in regard to professional opportunities. Our institute has once again proven how seriously we take this task – Fraunhofer IAO and the Institute of Human Factors and Technology Management IAT at the University of Stuttgart received the “TOTAL E-QUALITY” award in this context for the seventh time. The name refers to total quality management (TQM), with the added dimension of gender equality.

International German PR Prize 2020 for Earth Lab

© Microsoft

The “Earth to AI – Any New Ideas for our Planet?” project commissioned by Microsoft Germany was awarded the international German PR prize from the German public relations society (DPRG) in the sustainability and CSR category. Johann Jakob Häußermann of CeRRI at Fraunhofer IAO says, “In addition to the project’s particularly substantial reach and lasting impact, it stood out most of all for its unique approach. Based on a dialog around opportunities, supported by research and targeted collaboration between AI experts and sustainability stakeholders, nine new AI application scenarios for protecting the environment were developed, four of which are now undergoing further implementation.”

You can find more information on the IAO blog and the project website (both only available in German).

Florian Schütz wins FpF sponsorship prize

Dr. Florian Schütz, Team Leader Innovation Ecosystems Strategies.

The Verein zur Förderung produktionstechnischer Forschung e.V. (FpF) sponsorship association was founded in 1978 by then-director of Fraunhofer IPA, Prof. Warnecke, and a group of his senior colleagues. At the start of 2019, the FpF had over 480 members. The association works on a nonprofit basis and supports junior scientists, among other things. To achieve this, prizes were endowed for each institute, to be awarded in recognition of the respective best dissertation every year. In 2020, this prize for Fraunhofer IAO went to Dr. Florian Schütz.

Next:Lab laboratory concept impresses jury

© Ludmilla Parsyak, © Fraunhofer IAO

Innovations do not simply fall from the sky, but rather are the result of a long, iterative process in which ideas are developed, exchanged, discarded, reframed and finally implemented. The Next:Lab initiative by Fraunhofer IAO has set out to support this process using suitable infrastructure, tools and know-how. This mission has seen it emerge as one of five winners of the “Creative Spaces Region Stuttgart” competition organized by Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH (WRS) and Internationale Bauausstellung 2027 StadtRegion Stuttgart GmbH (IBA’27).

You can find more information in our press release (Germany only).


“Vision PI” in top three at BMW idea competition

How can custom luxury mobility be designed for the world of 2040? A team of researchers from six Fraunhofer Institutes has developed a groundbreaking vehicle concept called “Vision PI” that can be designed on a flexible, custom basis depending on the intended use. The concept calls for a modular passenger cell, following the logic of a shell principle, that can be flexibly adapted to the individual needs of the travelers. During the day, it serves as a communicative lounge; at night, it becomes a peaceful capsule for rest and recovery on long-haul trips. With this mobility solution, the team have made it to the top three for the final of BMW’s “#NEXTGen Moving Tomorrow Pitch” ideas competition.

You can find more information in the press release from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.


Award-winning coronavirus blog series

Our “First-Science-KIT” blog series on coronavirus crisis management was chosen by the “Wissenschaft kommuniziert” scientific communications blog as the coronavirus blog of the year for 2020. Of course, the reason for starting this blog series is still quite an unpleasant one. However, we are delighted to receive the award and our thanks go to the many scientists at Fraunhofer IAO who have presented more than 40 practical contributions and solutions for companies in the pandemic in the short time since March.

You can find more information in Prof. Wilhelm Bauer’s blog post (German only).


2020 teaching award from GSB Mainz

Dr. Moritz Hämmerle, Head of Cognitive Engineering and Production Research Unit.

Every year, the Gutenberg School of Business Mainz confers a teaching award for the three best-performing lecturers. Even though the last year presented a particular challenge, the positive ratings from students showed that it was possible to maintain the courses’ excellent academic standards. From the overall scores for individual courses for 2020, Dr. Moritz Hämmerle, Head of the “Cognitive Engineering and Production” research unit at Fraunhofer IAO, emerged as the award winner for his course on the future of smart production in industry 4.0.

Honorary Mention Award for BIMprove

© Ludmilla Parsyak, © Fraunhofer IAO

Every year, at the “EuroXR” conference, participants present new virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) technologies to foster exchange between industry, science and the public sector. Matthias Aust of Fraunhofer IAO and his project partners received a special commendation at the 2020 online conference for the poster they submitted on the “BIMprove User Interfaces” project. BIMprove is used to monitor the progress of a construction site by means of a dynamic digital twin.

Best Paper Award

As part of the seventh International Conference on the Human Side of Service Engineering (HSSE 2020) Walter Ganz and Thomas Meiren of Fraunhofer IAO received an award for their book chapter “Typology-based Analysis of the Artificial Intelligence in Service Companies.”