Press Release 055/2009

Gisela Lanza Wins Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Award

KIT Scientist Wins Distinguished Award for Young Scientists in Germany
Preisträgerin Gisela Lanza
Award winner Professor Gisela Lanza (Photo: Fabry)

Professor Gisela Lanza of the Institut für Produktionstechnik (Institute for Production Technology, wbk) today at the Arithmeum in Bonn received the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), one of the most prestigious awards to be won by young scientists in Germany. Professor Lanza, who holds a shared professorship and works alternately at KIT and in industry, simulates global production processes and optimizes them. Her activities focus on global production planning.

Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, Undersecretary at the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), and Professor Matthias Kleiner, President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), gave the award named after former DFG President, Professor Heinz Maier-Leibnitz. The award in the amount of EUR 16,000 has existed since 1977. For the first time this year, the award is won by four female and two male, mostly young, scientists.

Business engineer Lanza, who obtained her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, heads the Production Systems Unit at the Institute for Production Technology (wbk) of KIT. Her research team simulates models of production processes. The focus is on finding solutions in time, and taking effective countermeasures, whenever unstable factors arise, for instance, in quality capabilities, availability of materials, or currency fluctuations. The purpose is to develop production processes at minimum cost and maximum quality. The scientist is interested, above all, also in intercontinental differences in production processes. “To understand the principles of Chinese production which may partly be equipped with German machines and facilities, we set up an outstation in China in early 2009, the Global Advanced Manufacturing Institute (GAME),” Lanza comments on her international research activities.

The interesting area of global production is Lanza’s current main topic. “Parts for complex products nowadays are manufactured in various places all over the world. In these production networks it is important, on the one hand, to utilize the innovative capacity of high-wage countries, such as Germany, for instance for flexible production technology and, on the other hand, benefit from the cost advantage is of low-wage countries,” states Gisela Lanza, who holds a shared professorship combining teaching and research activities at KIT with management duties in the automotive industry. “The very same mind that produced the initial idea also commercializes it,” is the way in which Lanza describes synergy effects. In this way, Lanza’s models and simulation techniques would equally be of scientific relevance and economic importance in industrial practice, finds DFG.

Gisela Lanza was born at Biberach/Riß in 1973. She studied Business Engineering at the Universität Karlsruhe (TH) and obtained her doctorate with distinction at the Mechanical Engineering Faculty of the Universität Karlsruhe (TH) in 2004 on the subject of “Simulation-based startup support on the basis of the quality capabilities of production processes.” Her work in addition won the “CIRP Best Paper Award of the 36th CIRP International Seminar on Manufacturing Systems“ and the 2005 Erna Scheffler Prize.

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is the merger of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, member of the Helmholtz Association, and the Universität Karlsruhe. This merger will give rise to an institution of internationally excellent research and teaching in natural and engineering sciences. In total, the KIT has 8000 employees and an annual budget of 700 million Euros. The KIT focuses on the knowledge triangle of research – teaching – innovation.

The Karlsruhe institution is a leading European energy research center and plays a visible role in nanosciences worldwide. KIT sets new standards in teaching and promotion of young scientists and attracts top scientists from all over the world. Moreover, KIT is a leading innovation partner of industry.

lg, June 04, 2009
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