June 06, 2013
Martin Stratmann has worked very closely with leading industrialists for many years in his position as Director. The Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung is a company (GmbH) jointly financed by the Max Planck Society and the German Steel Institute (VDEh). “Establishing a first-rate scientific environment in which industrial research can also flourish was our top priority. We have always perceived ourselves as an initiator of innovation and have succeeded in transferring our exploratory vision to industry,” remarked Stratmann. Half of the institute’s budget is provided by industry via the VDEh – with funding of over €100 million, this has been one of Germany’s biggest public private partnerships in the past ten years.
Stratmann initially studied chemistry at the Ruhr University in Bochum in 1974 for which he received a fellowship from the German National Academic Foundation. He graduated in 1979. He then obtained his doctorate from the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung with an electrochemical study of phase transitions in rust layers. He undertook research at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland (USA) from 1983 to 1984 as a Max Planck Society fellowship holder. Returning to the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung, he was initially employed as a member of the academic staff in the corrosion research group until 1987. He was then appointed leader of this research group in 1987. In 1994, Stratmann moved to the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremburg where he was appointed Chair for Surface Science and Corrosion. He returned to the Max Planck Society six years later as a Director and Scientific Member in Düsseldorf.
Today Stratmann not only leads the "Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering" department at the Max Planck institute but he also collaborates closely with his old alma mater, the Ruhr University in Bochum, where he is a member of the Materials Research Department. Thanks to his efforts the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and industry have taken over the financing of three endowed chairs at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Advanced Materials Simulation (ICAMS) in which the MPI für Eisenforschung is also involved. “The combination of research, lecturing, support of junior scientists and industrial relevance will enhance Bochum’s attractiveness as a location,” explained the chemist.
Martin Stratmann has already gained considerable experience of research policy in his positions as Chairperson of the Chemistry, Physics and Technology Section from 2006 to 2008 and as Vice President of the Max Planck Society from 2008. Being used to building bridges between knowledge-driven and needs-oriented research, he worked intensively on the structural cooperation with the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft established in 2004. He also made a major contribution to the Max Planck Center concept as part of the internationalization strategy initiated by the President.
He also played a key role in the substantive and administrative reorganization of the Minerva Foundation as its Managing Director. The Minerva Foundation was founded in the 1960s as a subsidiary of the Max Planck Society and is the flagship organization of German-Israeli academic cooperation. At the Minerva German-Israeli Science Festival at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in November 2012, Stratmann - together with the Federal Minister of Research at the time - presented the new Minerva research centers, identified as part of a competitive selection procedure, which will constitute the cornerstone of academic cooperation between Germany and Israel over the coming years. “I envisage the Minerva centers of the future as “hotspots in science” – outstanding, high-profile, with an interdisciplinary structure and focussing on the scientific topics of the future but not constrained to the mainstream of the research landscape,” explained Stratmann.
Martin Stratmann is a fellow of the Electrochemical Society and a member of Acatech and the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences.