Dieter Spath is new acatech president

Fraunhofer IAO-Institutsleiter Prof. Dr. Spath übernimmt acatech-Präsidentschaft
Foto: © Foto: acatech/D. Ausserhofer


Director of Fraunhofer IAO Professor Spath succeeds Reinhard F. Hüttl as acatech president

As of February 8, 2017, Professor Dieter Spath – director of both the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO and the Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT) at the University of Stuttgart – is also president of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech e.V.). At a ceremony in Berlin attended by some 150 people, Reinhard F. Hüttl handed over the reins to his successor after two terms as acatech president.

In its role as a professional academy, acatech advises government officials and businesses on tomorrow’s issues regarding engineering, science and technology policy. acatech also strives to foster the transfer of knowledge between scientists and businesspeople as well as nurture up-and-coming scientists and engineers.

Innovations that enhance work and prosperity

Prof. Spath believes modernization and innovation result in more economic opportunities. “Innovation is key to good jobs and strong growth. If we train people in good time, then we will create more jobs than are lost. To this end, social partners should work closely with scientists and government officials,” Prof. Spath said during his succession speech. In his opinion, Industrie 4.0 addresses demographic change and establishes new prospects in the economy. “We can boost productivity, offer more appealing products and services, and develop new business models.” Considering that he was vice president from 2009 to 2012, Prof. Spath certainly understands acatech’s mission. As president, he must ensure intra-academy rapport between the realms of science and business.

Prof. Spath expressed deep gratitude to his predecessor, Reinhard D. Hüttl, who as vice president will continue representing acatech outside of Germany. Mr. Hüttl is also chairman of the umbrella organization European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE). He will oversee advising of European policymakers via more than 100 scientific academies belonging to the EU Commission’s new Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM). As president of acatech, Mr. Hüttl prioritized collegial collaboration between acatech and scientific academies/organizations. During his speech, Prof. Spath stressed that he intends to perpetuate this collaboration – aided by Vice President Hüttl and people in charge of international relations.

Dialog between science and business

Dieter Spath got his start in science at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). He began working at the KASTO Group after completing his doctorate, and became managing director after just seven years. Prof. Spath was hired by the Institute for Machine Tools and Production Science at the University of Karlsruhe in 1992. He went on to serve as director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO from 2002 to 2013. Prof. Spath then served as president of WITTENSTEIN AG from 2013 to 2016. He once again became director of Fraunhofer IAO in October 2016. In addition, Prof. Spath has served as director of the Institute of Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT) at the University of Stuttgart since 2002. In 2007, the TUM awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his esteemed accomplishments. Prof. Spath received Germany’s Order of Merit in 2008 – the most prestigious award to individuals for service to the nation. Furthermore, he has prioritized that young scientists confront challenges presented by production engineering. As a holder of numerous posts, functions and volunteer positions in Germany and elsewhere, Prof. Spath seeks and organizes the interdisciplinary swapping of expertise between science and business.