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Award for an innovator

In recognition of his cross-border commitment to research, the Polish city of Opole awarded Lothar Kroll, professor at Chemnitz University of Technology, an honorary citizenship

Promoting economic cooperation across disciplines and borders - this is what Prof. Dr. Lothar Kroll stands for. The director of the Institute of Lightweight Structures and coordinator of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE at Chemnitz University of Technology received the honorary citizenship of the Polish city of Opole on the 11th of November 2018 for his many years of extremely successful work in this field. The certificate was presented by Marcin Ociepa, Chairman of the Opole City Council and Vice Minister for Entrepreneurship and Technologies, at a ceremony held on the occasion of Poland's 100th Independence Day. Honorary citizenship is the city's highest award. "Today we reward a Silesian and above all a great innovator who is rooted both in Germany and in Poland", said Arkadiusz Wiśniewski, President of the City of Opole, during the ceremony in the Opole Council Hall. Following the award of the certificate and the presentation of the medal of honour, Kroll entered his name into Opole's commemorative book.

With this award, the city council honoured Kroll's many years of outstanding commitment to science and research as well as the German-Polish cooperation he initiated. In addition, the city paid tribute to Kroll’s great dedication to the development of the University of Technology (Politechnika Opolska) as well as the Science and Technology Park in Opole, the advancement of economic contacts between Saxony and the Opole region in the field of lightweight construction, and his achievements in service of the city's reputation.

Prof. Lothar Kroll considers this recognition "something very special that encourages me to further intensify our efforts in the German-Polish cooperation and to promote the exchange of knowledge at eye level". In his acceptance speech, he explained: "This award symbolises a bridge, a double bridge even: Not only between Poland and Germany, but also a bridge between business and science.”

In his speech, Kroll looked to the future and, among other things, pointed to the establishment of the endowed professorship for " High Performance Fibres and Processing" at Chemnitz University of Technology, which is being supported by the Polish company Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa Innowacje S.A. (JSW Innowacje), a development and research company belonging to the largest producer of high-quality hard coal coke in the European Union. An important goal of the endowed professorship is the research and development of modified processes for the production of carbon fibres, which allow for significant energy savings and cost reductions compared to conventional processes. He also emphasised the recently founded Fraunhofer project centre "Advanced Lightweight Technologies (ALighT)", a cooperation of the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU Chemnitz and the Politechnika Opolska, which is to bundle the competencies of both partners in the application-oriented development of sustainable lightweight production technologies and promote the mutual transfer of knowledge.

Profile: Prof. Dr. Lothar Kroll

Lothar Kroll was born on the 9th of April 1959 in Glogowek (Poland, former Oberglogau). In 1992 he received his doctorate from the Institute of Technical Mechanics at Clausthal University of Technology. In addition to numerous publications, patents and teaching assignments, Kroll has been a leading scientist at the Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology at TU Dresden since 2000. He was appointed Professor of Lightweight Structures and Polymer Technology at the Chemnitz University of Technology on the 1st of June 2006. Since December 2007 he is director of the Cetex Institute for Textile and Processing Machines, an affiliated institute of Chemnitz University of Technology. In April 2010 he founded the Chemnitz Alliance for Textile Lightweight Construction (Allianz Textiler Leichtbau) ATL. In November 2012, he took over as coordinator of the Federal Cluster of Excellence "Merge Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures" (MERGE) established at the Chemnitz University of Technology, which is being funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with approximately 40 million euros until 2018. Since June 2013, Kroll has been the head of the Fraunhofer Plastics Centre Oberlausitz and the Research Centre Wolfsburg at Fraunhofer IWU. Since February 2016, he has also been a spokesman for the Fraunhofer TEXTIL Alliance, an association of 13 Fraunhofer Institutes throughout Germany dealing with technical textiles. In 2014, Kroll received the Medal of Honor from the Opole University of Technology for his achievements in service of the scientific cooperation between Poland and Germany. Thanks to his Silesian roots, numerous cooperations with the technical universities in Wroclaw (Breslau), Opole (Oppeln) and Gliwice (Gleiwitz) have been established in recent years. For example, as part of the internationalisation strategy for lightweight construction research, "MERGEurope". Lothar Kroll is also the Scientific Director of the Science and Technology Park in Opole and in March 2018 he was awarded the title of "Professor of Technical Sciences" for life by the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, in Warsaw.

A comprehensive CV of Prof. Dr. Lothar Kroll is available online at:

(Translation: Eva Stamler)

Matthias Fejes

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