Fraunhofer network expands
London - Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and German applied research organisation Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are to jointly develop advanced technologies in areas such as materials science and renewable energy. The deal follows the recent announcement of Fraunhoifer’s first centre in the UK.
Announcing the multi-year, strategic agreement, SABIC said it was especially interested in research cooperation in fields such as light weighting products including polymeric materials and composites for the automotive and aerospace industries.
The chemicals and polymers group also has a strong interest in solar energy technology for which it develop and supplies advanced materials.
Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation and is focused mainly on developing technologies in the areas of health, security, communication, energy and the environment.
“Fraunhofer [is] reputed to be Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation,” said Dr. Ernesto Occhiello, SABIC executive vice president, technology and innovation.
SABIC, he added, is “continuing to build, networks of research alliances with key global partners and innovation leaders to meet our strategic growth ambitions, address customer interest, and meet sustainability needs.”
The SABIC deal is the latest in a series of development as Fraunhofer, which include establishing its first centre in the UK: the new Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in a strategic collaboration with the University of Strathclyde.
Fraunhofer’s Strathclyde centre will be a hub for industry-driven laser research and technology for a variety of sectors including healthcare, security, energy and transport. It will also establish UK headquarters, Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd., at the University, which will be the umbrella organisation for UK-based research centres in the future.
The new Fraunhofer unit is funded by Fraunhofer and the University, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council. It is expected to be the model for more Fraunhofer research centres around the UK.
The UK headquarters and the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics will join a growing community of Fraunhofer Centres globally.
Fraunhofer has more than 20,000 employees in more than 80 research units in Germany alone, and is establishing Centres throughout Europe, Asia and North America - most recently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The new Centre will collaborate with this strong Fraunhofer network.
In February, UK business secretary Vince Cable announced the University would play a key role in the UK’s Catapult Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy – a collaborative hub for energy research and development. Strathclyde is already a partner in the UK’s Catapult Centre for High Value Manufacturing.