Boris Otto becomes new chairman of the Fraunhofer ICT Group

Bringing together competencies for a digital world that focuses on people

Boris Otto has been appointed as the new chairman of the Fraunhofer ICT Group. As of January 1, 2022, he will succeed Dieter Fellner, whose six-year term as chairman of the Group will end in December 2021.

© Fraunhofer ISST | Sascha Kreklau
From January 1, 2022: Prof. Dr. Boris Otto becomes new chairman of the Fraunhofer ICT Group

Prof. Dr. Otto is the full-time director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST in Dortmund, where he conducts research primarily in the fields of industrial information management, business and logistics networks, and data ecosystems.

Within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer ICT Group bundles the activities of the institutes that deal with digitization topics and technologies. With 21 member institutes, more than 5,000 employees and an annual budget of over 600 million euros – three quarters of which is derived from competitive grant projects and contract research for industry – the Fraunhofer ICT Group is the largest player and most important contact in the field of applied research for information and communication technologies in Europe.

The chairman, who is appointed every three years by the Senate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on the recommendation of the Group Directorate – the group of directors of the member institutes – represents the Group in the Presidential Council of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In addition, he coordinates cross-institute research and project activities and is responsible for the thematic development strategy of the Group within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Wrobel from the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS and Prof. Dr. Dieter Fellner from the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD were appointed as the two vice chairs. Wrobel had already held the position as Vice Chair of the Group since 2015, Fellner takes over the Vice Chair in his position as previous Chairman of the Group.

Digital sovereignty in Germany and Europe must be preserved

For his term in office, the new chairman Boris Otto sees one challenge above all: to research and, in particular, help shape the digitization of business and society in the context of the platform economy.

"We bundle many competencies at Fraunhofer and within the ICT Group. These are also required to be able to exploit the advantages of digital technologies, for example artificial intelligence or quantum computing, for us in such a way that we all end up living in a digital world that is fair and that makes people the focus. We want to advance and help shape the interdisciplinary topic of digitization and not just react to current developments," Otto said after his appointment. He considers the confident handling of data and technologies to be particularly important.

He explains: "When digital technologies penetrate all areas of society and life, the question arises as to who develops these technologies and who sets the rules of the game for their use. In this regard, we as the Fraunhofer ICT Group have a very prominent role, namely to ensure that this sovereignty in the digital space is maintained for Germany, but also for Europe."

Asked about his own personal touch that he would like to introduce to his new position, he explains, "I would like us to bring the competencies of the individual institutes to the road in an even more concentrated manner in line with the Fraunhofer vision, namely to develop technologies that are systemically and socially relevant. This would benefit both industry and society as a whole."

In addition to his duties at Fraunhofer, Prof. Dr. Boris Otto (born 1971 in Hamburg) also holds the Chair of Industrial Information Management at TU Dortmund University. He is a board member of the Gaia-X European Association for Data and Cloud, the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA) and the Catena-X Automotive Network e.V. His professional career includes positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers and SAP, at the Universities of Stuttgart and St. Gallen, at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire (USA) as well as at the Fraunhofer Institutes for Industrial Engineering IAO, for Material Flow and Logistics IML and currently for Software and Systems Engineering ISST.