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Charisma Far Beyond the Region

Members of the Excellence Council of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE - Merge Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures caught up on the current state of research

On July 3rd, 2015 the Excellence Council of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE - Merge Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures met at the Technische Universität Chemnitz. The Council makes recommendations and statements regarding MERGE’s strategic development at the political level, taking into account local, state, federal and European policy aspects. Furthermore, the members contribute with their competence, their long-standing and outstanding experience in their fields and their charisma to strengthen and promote the national and international visibility of MERGE.

The Council has a total of nine members: Eberhard Alles, Chancellor of the TU Chemnitz; Frank Kupfer, Chairman of the CDU parliamentary group of the Saxon Parliament; Barbara Ludwig, Mayor of Chemnitz; Dr. Stephan Meyer, member of the Saxon Landtag and the Committee for Science and Higher Education, Culture and the Media; Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft; Dr. Nikolas Stihl, Chairman of the Advisory Board and Supervisory Board of ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG, Waiblingen, Germany; Prof. Dr. Marek Tukiendorf, Rector of the Technical University of Opole, Poland; Hermann Winkler, member of the European Parliament; and Prof. Arnold van Zyl, Rector of the TU Chemnitz.

The members’ meeting was held on the premises of the Cluster of Excellence on the Reichenhainer Straße campus. Together with Prof. Dr. Andreas Schubert, Vice-Rector for Knowledge and Technology Transfer of the TU, who was invited as a guest to the event, Prof. van Zyl highlighted the structural impact and further development of MERGE. As a central institution of the university, MERGE reinforces the three core competencies of the university. In addition, the Cluster makes contributions to teaching, research and transfer. Through the International Master’s Programme Merge Technologies for Resource Efficiency, students benefit from the research of the cluster and its close links to many regional SMEs and carry out their studies in an interdisciplinary framework. By building a new technology centre, MERGE also contributes to the development of the university’s infrastructure. As early as autumn 2015, the first construction phase should be completed.

Prof. Dr. Lothar Kroll, spokesperson and coordinator of the Federal Cluster of Excellence, was also invited to attend the meeting of the Excellence Council as a guest. He informed the members about the current state of research, sustainability, further measures and the strategic orientation of the cluster. The numerous scientific contributions and patents, the establishment of an industrial advisory board with 41 national and international companies were met with great respect. For the work performed at the cluster, MERGE received many words of praise from the Excellence Council members.

A special focus at MERGE lies on the transfer of knowledge. The cluster comprises many SMEs in addition to large enterprises, representing the value chain "from material to lightweight structure". The cluster’s project results serve leading markets of the automotive industry, aerospace, mechanical engineering and microsystems technology. Thus, an important impetus for future sustainable business development is given to the companies involved - especially the Saxon SMEs. Most recently, the Cluster of Excellence was recognized and honoured by Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Minister of Education and Research, as part of the funding measure “Internationalisation of top-level clusters, future projects and similar networks”.

Prof. Dr. Tukiendorf, Rector of the TU Opole (Poland) even attributes the cluster a role model function, so that similar alliances between industry and research have been and can continue to be built at this university. The Mayor of Chemnitz Barbara Ludwig praised the contribution to urban development that is made through connection with such a research project.

Keyword: Federal Cluster of Excellence “MERGE”

With the Federal Cluster of Excellence “Merge Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures” (MERGE), the Technische Universität Chemnitz is one of the winners of the Federal Excellence Initiative. This nationwide unique project includes around 100 scientists working in the area of technology fusion in lightweight construction. Their common goal is to consolidate manufacturing processes that are currently separate involved in processing different material groups such as textiles, plastics and metals. Multi-component parts can thus be mass produced more cost- and energy-efficiently. Multifunctionality will be achieved in the future in a single processing step. The Federal Cluster of Excellence was established in 2012 within the Excellence Initiative of the federal and state governments at the TU Chemnitz. By 2017, it will receive 34 million euros in funding.

(Author: Elisa Sommer, Translation: Grätel Marksteiner & Sarah Wilson)

Mario Steinebach

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