The BMBF's key issues paper on the funding of materials research 02/2022 shows that politicians, business and industry have high expectations of materials science and materials technology as a source of innovation in many areas of application. In order to meet the backlog in digitalization, the climate crisis and the need for new approaches to recycling and the circular economy, materials science topics must assert their visibility in the industrial environment.
As for researchers, the participation of experts from industry and business in the DGM is based on the principles of voluntarism and volunteerism. In connection with the immanent importance of materials science and materials technology for the digital and associated socio-political transformation process, the DGM e.V. has asked itself the central question:
What does industry expect from a professional society like the DGM?
Linked to the broader questions of what can we do:
- to promote the importance of our DGM topics even more convincingly
- to link our DGM networks even more strongly with the industry
- to increase the added value of an involvement in the DGM for company representatives?
With this, Prof. Dr. Schneider and Prof. Dr. Zimmermann, presidents of the DGM, opened the first exchange of opinions and ideas in the Lunch Talk event series on March 4, 2022. With this format, the DGM would like to bring its personal as well as institute and company members closer together at the virtual "round table" in order to identify fields of action for the DGM and to derive future strategies for the association's work. The basis for discussion at the beginning of each meeting are short presentations by experts from the DGM community. This year's impulse givers for the question about the importance of the DGM and material science topics for the industry were:
Dr. Blanka Lenczowksi (Airbus Defence and Space GmbH)
We need research networks to maximize the potential of new materials. The DGM network helps to identify important trends in time. At Airbus, green products and eco-design are becoming increasingly important for a minimal CO2 footprint. Therefore, the circularity of materials and the value chain is of growing importance.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Neidel (Siemens Energy Global GmbH & Co. KG)
In the power engineering industry, the importance of materials has increased in recent years. Participation in professional networks requires cooperation on both sides. This give and take must also be supported by the management in the companies.
Dr. Till Schneiders (Deutsche Edelstahlwerke Specialty Steel GmbH & Co. KG)
The professional exchange in networks is very important and worthwhile. In the steel community there has been a weakening of networking in recent years. The DGM / specialist societies can provide support to identify trends, increase the visibility of the field and attract interested young talent.
Dr. Thomas Witulski (OTTO FUCHS KG)
The DGM working groups and training courses help in the search for and qualification of employees. Especially at trade fairs and congresses, companies can increase their visibility through networking. The DGM also plays an important role for business and industry with regard to sustainability topics and trends.
After the hour-long lunch talk, the initiators and participants of the roundtable agreed. The cross-disciplinary and cross-industry cooperation of different players brings many advantages. In order to further expand the potential for cooperation and synergies in a value-creating manner, research, industry and funding policy frameworks must work together in a more demand-oriented manner.
For the DGM, this means that the importance of materials science and materials engineering must be made more visible to the public at all levels. To this end, contact with politics and in particular with the BMBF should be strengthened. The internal policy of the association must also be reconsidered. The external presentation of the DGM expert committees and working groups as well as the possibility of participation could be made more transparent. This makes it easier for company and institute members to actively participate in the DGM network and creates a better overview. For example, important trends for industry-relevant issues can be communicated more quickly between the stakeholders involved. This is a process that must be supported and promoted more clearly in the future, especially at management level in the companies.
The qualification of company employees and young scientists are and will remain key topics of our association's work. Whether via podcasts, the "jugend forscht" initiative or with "MatWerk-Koffern" for schools - the enthusiasm and interest for material science topics must be aroused and promoted at an early stage.
One hour of lunch talk = a multitude of ideas! The calculation works out. The DGM would like to thank the initiators and participants for their willingness to engage in an open exchange during the first Lunch Talk 2022. The next round of talks will take place on May 6, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. under the topic - Circular Materials - How does the DGM sustainably implement this? - will take place.