What makes FIT special

Fraunhofer FIT employees work in an inspiring work environment and with colleagues from many parts of the world. Young researchers and advanced students find ample opportunity to hone their profiles. Here is what FIT researchers have to say about it.

Andrei Ionita#

© Lena Utz

I joined Fraunhofer FIT as a researcher in October 2019 because I wanted to be part of the wave of innovation in digitization that is currently fundamentally changing our world.

I had got to know Fraunhofer when I worked there as a graduate student in computer science at RWTH Aachen University. Even then, I realized the innovative power of the institutes and their close cooperation with industry. The productive interaction and the sharing of ideas among the researchers was an exciting experience for me.

In the Cooperation Systems department at FIT, my colleagues immediately accepted and trusted my expertise, but at the same time I was given responsibility in industrial projects. Here, we are at the leading edge of developing various technologies that are not yet ready for the market, such as blockchain networks for flexible green energy, forgery-proof digital certificates, or safety-critical and traceable supply chains. I am mostly involved in teams from different organizations, working with experts who help me get started and pave the way to my own expertise. And I really enjoy having access to cool gadgets, like the latest virtual reality goggles or humanoid robots, and getting to work on my own small projects with them.

If you aim for a career in a commercial setting but want to better understand the future technologies involved, and if you are willing to share your knowledge with other nascent experts, then Fraunhofer is highly recommended. It may even lead to you becoming a pioneer in the field.

Selin Sezer#

© Lena Utz

My journey at Fraunhofer FIT started in 2018 as a student assistant at Blockchain Lab, during my Master’s in Media Informatics at RWTH Aachen. After my graduation in 2020, I have become a member of the research team. What I really like about working at FIT is that it is almost impossible to get bored with what you are doing. Every incoming project is interesting, new, and challenging in a way that helps my personal growth. Furthermore, I feel trusted with the work and ideas I bring in and I am highly motivated to follow my interests. I also find the works of my colleagues very inspiring and their unconditional help very valuable, which creates a fulfilling working environment for me.

Lorenz Sparrenberg#

© Lena Utz

My career path at Fraunhofer began in 2015, when I studied biotechnology at RWTH Aachen University and was looking for a topic for my master's thesis. At the Biomolecular and Optical Systems – BioMOS group at Fraunhofer FIT, I was immediately impressed by the very open-minded and helpful people and by the excellent laboratory equipment. Right from the start, I was allowed to conduct independent research for my master's thesis.

A year later, I came back to BioMOS as a full-time researcher. The spectrum of scientific challenges is almost overwhelming, ranging from microfluidic applications to the rapid identification of microbiological antibiotic resistance profiles or single molecule detection at the DNA level. In my research, I can use a clean room, an optics lab, and two bio labs, with a variety of measurement systems. The main focus of my work is to design and build prototype detection systems, which we then help turn into marketable devices. Besides my lab work, I spend a lot of time on data analysis and scientific documentation. And I help with acquisition by writing project proposals and presenting our research at trade fairs and conferences. I also supervise student theses and internships.

What I particularly like about my job is to work with my colleagues in an interdisciplinary team. Here my role is that of a liaison person between hardware and software development, and I am responsible for ensuring that the systems we develop are reliable, effective and easy to use in the lab. It is always exciting for me to see how differently people from different disciplines approach new issues. 

Lena Utz#

© Lena Utz

At the end of the first semester of my Business Informatics studies at Augsburg University, I landed a student assistant job with Prof. Buhl. Since then I have been involved in the Project Group, now as a scientist and working towards my doctoral degree. My reason for that is at the same time trivial and essential: the job is stimulating and great fun! The trust of my co-workers is a great inspiration, too. Moreover, the Fraunhofer TALENTA start program fosters my personal and professional development. In particular, I appreciate the support whenever I entered a new phase in my life. After a one-year parental leave, I am back in the job now. To spend enough time with my baby son, I am working part-time, and I am very grateful for this arrangement.

Dr. Sisay Chala#

© Lena Utz

I joined Fraunhofer FIT as a researcher in Software Engineering. I obtained my PhD in Computer Science from University of Siegen, where I was a Marie Curie ITN Fellow. Earlier, I worked for Haramaya University (Ethiopia) as an ICT Director and system administrator for over three years. I also taught in the same university for more than eight years. At Fraunhofer FIT, I am involved in projects that work in the area of smart data analytics. I enjoy my stay at FIT due the conducive and vibrant working environment that encourages healthy work-life balance and sustainable productivity. Tackling real-world challenges by applying multidisciplinary approaches is also what captivates me a lot here at FIT. Moreover, what is more fascinating than working in a multicultural team that FIT offers? 

Carina Goretzky#

© Carina Goretzky

My career at Fraunhofer FIT began in 2012 as a student assistant in the High Content Analysis (HCA) department of the Life Science Informatics research group. I became aware of the institute through the Master's program "Life Science Informatics" of b-it (Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology), since some courses are held by professors of FIT. At that time I focused on the topic of image processing.

After graduating in 2015, I was offered a position as a research assistant at FIT's SYMILA application center in Hamm. My office was in Birlinghoven, though. Since then my field of research has changed a lot. I am now working in the field of frontend web development and in the last years I have mainly contributed to the development of a portal for the care of chronically ill people. Being accepted into the TALENTA start program, a support program for women at Fraunhofer, gives me the additional opportunity to work in the field of project management.  Furthermore, I am involved in the acquisition of new projects. In this way I can deepen my knowledge in programming on the one hand, and improve my knowledge in project acquisition and management on the other hand. By attending training courses and conferences I have the opportunity to develop further.

What I appreciate most is the great cooperation with my colleagues and that I can always immerse myself in new research topics. I learn a lot and the work is always fascinating and never boring. Acquisition needs occasionally traveling, which is sometimes exhausting but quite often exciting and interesting.

Clemens Putschli#

© cologne IT summit_ c/o JOGECON GmbH
Here I demonstrate the Smart Glasses solutions of the FIT at the cologne IT summit_ 2016.

I have been a member of FIT's scientific staff since March 2016. But I have been affiliated with FIT for much longer, as I wrote my bachelor's and master's theses here. The variety of challenges is what I value in my job for FIT. From a smaller industry project to a large European project everything is possible. I particularly like how my colleagues immediate put a lot of trust in everybody. Early on I was encouraged to supervise a course for students and to join the institute's steering committee. And I am working here in a really technophile group, where everybody is fond of the latest gadgets. For me, FIT offers a healthy mix of enthusiasm for technology, scientific research and cool industry projects.

Dr. Anja Linnemann#

© Anja Linnemann

My career at Fraunhofer FIT started in 2011, right after my doctorate in biochemistry at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.

At first, I was mainly responsible for laboratory work. But I quickly learned what it means to work in a team that is diverse in every respect. The clashing of different characters, languages, cultures and disciplines presented a challenge. On the other hand, it is an incredible enrichment not only for working life, but also for personal development. Over time the focus of my tasks has changed to the management of projects and other processes.

Although I am a career changer, FIT provides me many possibilities to develop personally AND professionally. Thus, I was able to participate in an internal promotion and development program for women scientists, the "Fraunhofer TALENTA excellence"program, that gave me free space to develop my strategic career. Currently I am studying research management. This is also an internal program for on-the-job training with the aim of encouraging and supervising change processes, which are indispensable in the fast-moving field of research and development. The focus is always on the targeted, effective transfer of research results and innovations into the application.

What has inspired me from the very beginning of my work at FIT is the great team atmosphere and the fact that my work will benefit people directly.