Fraunhofer IIS: Smart Sensing and Electronics division under new management

Nuremberg/Munich: On January 1, 2021, Dr. Denise Müller-Friedrich and Dr. Jens-Uwe Garbas took on joint responsibility for the Smart Sensing and Electronics research division at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. They succeed Josef Sauerer, who had been in charge since 2016.

Dr. Jens-Uwe Garbas, Dr. Denise Müller-Friedrich
© Fraunhofer IIS/Paul Pulkert
On January 1, 2021, Dr. Jens-Uwe Garbas (left) and Dr. Denise Müller-Friedrich took on joint responsibility for the Smart Sensing and Electronics research division.

Josef Sauerer, former director of the Smart Sensing and Electronics division, will retire at the end of March 2021. Institute Director Prof. Albert Heuberger praises his outstanding commitment: “Josef Sauerer has been at Fraunhofer IIS since the very beginning. For over 35 years, he has been instrumental in shaping our core competence of microelectronics and has played a major part in establishing Germany as a leader in microelectronics.

Six years ago, Sauerer began setting up the Smart Sensing and Electronics research division, which today employs some 125 people and has an annual budget of approximately 23 million euros. Working in partnership with science and industry, the division focuses on the strategic research areas of microelectronic circuits, smart medicine, artificial intelligence and next-generation computing. It works tirelessly both on solutions for the markets of today and tomorrow and on the building blocks of a sustainable and livable society undergoing a digital transformation.

The division now has two directors, Dr. Denise Müller-Friedrich and Dr. Jens-Uwe Garbas, who have been sharing leadership responsibilities since January 1, 2021. Prof. Heuberger is excited about working with the two new directors:  “As a dual leadership team, they complement one another both in temperament and professional qualifications and will guide the division to a successful future.”

Dr. Jens Garbas is an electronics engineer and joined Fraunhofer IIS after completing his doctorate in 2010. His responsibilities at the institute included strategy and business unit development for image sensor technology and artificial intelligence. Most recently, he established a new business unit for cognitive sensor technologies. In addition to his duties as director, his main focus will be on overall strategy and human resource management. Garbas: “Smart Sensing and Electronics has an extremely broad range of expertise and value propositions. We supply science and industry with first-class solutions encompassing everything from sensors for medical applications to developing AI software for image processing and IC design geared towards mass production. My goal is to further enhance synergies between business units while building on the strengths of our existing research areas. I will place particular importance on strategic innovation and new partnerships.”
Dr. Denise Müller-Friedrich received her doctorate in chemistry from the University of Bayreuth.  She held a number of posts in scientific institutions before beginning her career in industry in 2014, most recently serving as Head of Sales and Strategic Marketing at the Seuffer Group. In 2017, she became an advisor at Fraunhofer IIS, responsible for parts of the Smart Sensing and Electronics division. Her main duties within the dual leadership team are organizational development, strategic and business processes, and finance. Müller-Friedrich: “Our research is driven by our vision for developing smart sensors, microelectronics and software that improve everyday life. We want to build on our years of technical and strategic success, launch new initiatives and conduct research that offers people maximum benefit. I look forward to contributing my professional experience, developing innovative ideas together with my team and shaping a sustainable future for the division.”