Prof. Dr. Erica Lilleodden is new director of the Fraunhofer IMWS

Materials scientist Prof. Dr. Erica Lilleodden has been appointed as director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS. She takes over this post from Prof. Dr. Matthias Petzold, who had successfully led the institute on an interim basis since October 2019. With its expertise in microstructure diagnostics and microstructure-based materials design, the institute in Halle (Saale), Germany, makes important contributions to the optimization of materials and the development of new materials.

© Fraunhofer IMWS / Markus Scholz
Prof. Dr. Erica Lilleodden, Institutsleiterin

Lilleodden comes from the Helmholtz Center hereon in Geesthacht, where she headed the Department of Experimental Materials Mechanics for ten years. Her research focuses on the nano- and micromechanics of materials such as metals, ceramics and composites, for example with regard to deformation and defect formation in use, and on the targeted development of materials with specific properties for high-performance applications.

A native of the United States, the 48 years old scientist studied materials science at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and at Stanford University. She has been working in Germany since 2004 and was awarded the DGM Prize of the German Society for Materials Research in 2019.

"I would like to thank the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft for the confidence it has placed in me by appointing me to this position, and I am looking forward to the new challenges I will face in Halle with great anticipation. My new position is particularly appealing because of the importance of finding solutions to critical problems facing society, such as resource efficiency, sustainability, and the need for smart materials. I would like to contribute my skills to these efforts, and support the entire Fraunhofer IMWS team in maintaining their leading position in these areas," says Lilleodden on taking office. "Under my predecessors, of whom I would like to express my sincere thanks to Prof. Dr. Matthias Petzold in the first place, the institute has become an important R&D partner for applications on mobility of the future, the circular economy or next generation microelectronics, to name only a few. I would like to strengthen this position and set new strategic impulses in the interest of our clients."

At the Fraunhofer IMWS, about 350 employees at four locations and with an annual budget of about 27 million euros work on issues in the fields of microelectronics, polymer applications, health, photovoltaics, carbon cycle technologies, optical and luminescent materials as well as on reliable materials for the hydrogen economy.

Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, explains: "Materials science and materials engineering help to increase material efficiency and cost-effectiveness and to conserve resources. Furthermore, they are fundamental for the success and further development of numerous important industries, such as photovoltaics, energy technology, automotive engineering or the chemical industry. The excellent development of the Fraunhofer IMWS also illustrates the importance of materials research for Germany as a business location. I am very pleased that with Erica Lilleodden we were able to attract one of the internationally leading materials scientists to head the Fraunhofer IMWS, who will continue and further expand the excellent development of the institute over the past years."

Prof. Dr. Matthias Petzold will continue to support the Fraunhofer IMWS as deputy institute director until March 31, 2022.