Fraunhofer IIS: Institute Director Dr. Bernhard Grill appointed honorary professor

Erlangen: Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Grill, who has been Institute Director at Fraunhofer IIS in Erlangen with responsibility for audio and media technologies since 2016, has been appointed honorary professor at the School of Business, Economics and Society at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), effective as of January 21, 2021. University President Prof. Joachim Hornegger presented Grill with the official certificate.

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Grill, Institute Director with responsibility for audio and media technologies

Professor Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Grill is an acknowledged expert in audio coding with such well-known formats as mp3 and AAC. He applies his decades of experience in successfully licensing patents to his lecture course “Patenting for Innovation” at the Nuremberg Institute for Information Systems at FAU. The course is devoted to intellectual property - and particularly patents - in research, development and innovation, as well as patent exploitation and international patent policy. Patents will become even more important for Germany as an innovation hub in the future, and the lecture course takes this fact into account. “However, innovations also need an environment with curious and passionate people who are thirsty for knowledge. So I’m delighted that Dr. Bernhard Grill is becoming part of the FAU as an honorary professor,” Hornegger said on awarding the certificate. Prof. Freimut Bodendorf, Chair of Services, Processes, and Intelligence, adds: “With his outstanding expertise Bernhard Grill will significantly enrich the field of information systems as well as the important research area ‘Digitalization and Innovation’ in the School of Business, Economics, and Society.”

With licensing revenues from mp3 and AAC technology of well over a billion euros, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was able not only to create over 1,000 jobs over multiple decades, but also to found the Fraunhofer-Zukunftsstiftung (Fraunhofer Future Foundation) to promote innovations in Germany. The success of the model is continuing today with the fourth generation of audio coding techniques to emerge from Erlangen. The EVS codec, for instance, provides much higher quality of phone calls in 5G networks, while the xHE-AAC audio codec furnishes a better user experience for Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Netflix services.

From 1988 onwards, Grill played a decisive role in the development of mp3 and AAC technology. Twelve years later, he received the Deutscher Zukunftspreis (German Future Prize) from the Federal President jointly with Karlheinz Brandenburg and Harald Popp, on behalf of the wider team at Fraunhofer IIS, for their research achievements as inventors of the mp3 process. Other awards included the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize and the Eduard Rhein Award.

Grill became head of the Audio department at Fraunhofer IIS in 2001, while in 2011 he took over the reins of the Audio and Multimedia research area, which in its current incarnation as Audio and Media Technologies is recognized worldwide as a scientific and technological leader in many areas of audio signal processing. In 2016, he joined the management of the institute.