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Company News, 2006-11-10, 11:41 AM

Ruhr University Bochum and ThyssenKrupp establishresearch institute to develop new materials

The Ministry for Innovation, Science, Research and Technology, Ruhr University Bochum and ThyssenKrupp AG announce the following:

Ruhr University Bochum in conjunction with ThyssenKrupp AG and other industry partners is establishing a new research institute for materials research and materials development with the additional involvement of Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung (Düsseldorf), Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen. The Interdisciplinary Centre for Advanced Materials Simulation will be based at Ruhr University Bochum and will receive funding of 24 million euros over the next five years, half of which will be provided by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the other half by industry. The institute is to receive a further 50 million euros over the next ten years via additional project funds. The partners will begin implementing the concept immediately with a view to the institute commencing its work in early 2008. Three further companies - Bayer MaterialScience AG, Salzgitter AG and Robert Bosch GmbH - have already joined the consortium.

NRW Innovation Minister Prof. Andreas Pinkwart described the new institute as a "prime example of successful cooperation between industry, universities and non-university research. NRW's strongest players in the area of materials are joining forces." The research institute would be able to carry out leading-edge research in the Ruhr area which would attract international interest and provide important impetus to the material and production sectors. "The new institute is a further successful step in our quest to make NRW Germany's No. 1 state for innovation. It is an important signal for the start of more research and development in NRW," said Pinkwart.

Most of the industry funding will be provided by ThyssenKrupp AG. Dr. Karl-Ulrich Köhler, Executive Board member of ThyssenKrupp AG and Chief Executive of ThyssenKrupp Steel AG, expects the institute to help make Germany one of the world's leading centers of materials innovation. It will also be a huge gain for the Ruhr area, which is where much of Germany's material production takes place. There are around 135,000 people working in this sector in the Ruhr area, 30 percent of Germany's entire material production workforce. The sector accounts for around ten percent of North Rhine-Westphalia's industrial turnover.

The research institute will combine two worlds which have previously performed their research separately: the world of material engineering and the world of physics, chemistry and mathematics. Scientists will be able to carry out both basic and applications-oriented research in simulation processes backed by mainframe computers - an area in which the institute will cooperate closely with the Forschungszentrum Jülich research center. "We hope that the results will help in the development, for example, of new steels for the automotive industry or self-repairing surfaces which will avoid paint damage. But the most important thing is that the methods used to develop new materials are about to make enormous progress, above all through the use of advanced high-performance computers such as those available in Jülich," said Köhler.

Prof. Gerhard Wagner, Rector of Ruhr University Bochum, described the fact that Bochum had been chosen as the location for the institute against strong competition as "a sign of the strength of research at our university". "It is also an important step forward with regard to our applications for research clusters in material sciences and systems chemistry for the next round of the "Initiative for Excellence", said Wagner. The institute would stand not only for leading-edge research, but also for excellent teaching, as the three endowed professorships, for which internationally renowned scientists are now being sought, would make the syllabus at Bochum University even more attractive with a new course in material simulation. Cooperation with the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf, RWTH Aachen, Forschungszentrum Jülich and the industrial partners would make Bochum into an outstanding center for materials research.

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