After almost 30 years at Fraunhofer, Professor Ulrich Buller, Senior Vice President Research Planning, has retired. He contributed to the successful development of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in a variety of roles and was a driving force behind many exciting new initiatives. He was a strong advocate of building links with industry, the Max Planck Society, and universities and other tertiary institutions. Ulrich Buller, who has a PhD in chemistry, joined the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in 1984. He started out working at headquarters, where he became head of the corporate planning department in 1989. In the period from 1991 to 1992, he set up a liaison office in Brussels to represent the interests of the Fraunhofer institutes within the European Union. In 1994, he became head of the research planning department. Three years later he moved to the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam, initially as interim director of the institute before being permanently appointed to the role in 1999. In 2005, he additionally became chairman of the Fraunhofer Group for Materials and Components. Buller served as a member of the Executive Board of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft from June 2006 with responsibility for research planning. One of his major achievements during this period was initiating the Attract program. The purpose of the program is to give young researchers from Germany and further afield the opportunity to develop their ideas in a practical, application-based context. Buller was also a proponent of Fraunhofer having better links with politics – not only in Brussels, but in Berlin too. To further this aim, he established the Fraunhofer Forum in Berlin as a venue for dialog with politics. An active shaper and communicator of policy “Our paths have crossed many times because of our longstanding cooperation in Brandenburg and Niedersachsen,” said German Federal Minister of Education and Research Professor Johanna Wanka in her speech at Professor Buller’s official retirement celebration on May 13 in Berlin. She praised Buller’s creativity in finding new opportunities for research cooperation, such as Fraunhofer’s collaborations with the Max Planck Society and tertiary institutions. She also cited the electromobility systems research project and the innovation clusters as further examples of successful initiatives, before going on to thank Professor Buller for his good work both in her own name and on behalf of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Following German reunification, Buller was a great supporter of the new institutes in the former East Germany, recalled Professor Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, as he awarded Ulrich Buller the Fraunhofer Coin, one of the highest honors that Fraunhofer confers. Comprehensive technical know-how Throughout all his years in research management, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Buller always maintained a close connection to his original discipline, chemistry. For example, he was scientific and general editor for a chemistry journal. He was also deputy chairman of the detergent chemistry unit of the German Chemical Society (GDCh). On top of this, he was chairman of the SEPAWA association of soap, perfume, and detergent experts and joint chairman of the Brandenburg plastics industry network. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary professorship in technical chemistry from the University of Potsdam.
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