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Newly Established: The Helmholtz Institute Freiberg

Joint press release of Helmholtz Association, TU Bergakademie Freiberg and Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, June 14, 2011

The Senate of the Helmholtz Association has approved the founding of a new Helmholtz institute in Freiberg recently. The Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) will be located in Freiberg and operated as an external institute of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). It will research new technologies designed to safeguard and assure the supply of raw materials, utilize resources more efficiently, and recycle them in an environmentally friendly manner.


“In the future, we’ll have to utilize scarce raw materials and resources in a more efficient and environmentally friendlier manner. The Helmholtz Institute Freiberg will develop new solutions for these challenges and, thus, make a vital contribution towards safeguarding the future,” says Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek, President of the Helmholtz Association. The new institute will research innovative technologies for the exploration, extraction, and utilization of mineral and metalliferous raw materials. Issues revolving around the recycling as well as the exploration and utilization of domestic raw materials will be examined as well. Educating skilled employees in the raw materials sector as well as promoting the general and continued education and training of foreign specialists and professionals in the resource sector will be the third focal point.

“The resource university TU Bergakademie Freiberg and the materials science research sector in Rossendorf will complement each other perfectly in the new Helmholtz institute,” notes Prof. Roland Sauerbrey, the HZDR’s Scientific Director. “We’ll also contribute our biological expertise in the development of efficient high tech procedures to extract, process, and recycle rare earths and other metals. The close proximity permits future employees to also use the large-scale research facilities at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf.” At the TU Bergakademie Freiberg as the university of resources, research is conducted along the entire value chain in the four fields of core competency geosciences, material science, energy science, and environmental science to warrant the sustainable utilization of materials and energy.

Just recently, the HZDR Board of Directors appointed Prof. Jens Gutzmer as the founding director of the Freiberg institute. He is the Chair for Economic Geology and Petrology at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg. “The new institute fills a major gap in Germany’s non-university research community. Our research will be dedicated specifically to new technologies for raw materials utilization along the entire value chain from the exploration all the way to recycling. With this focus, the institute complements the activities of the German Raw Materials Agency (DERA) which was founded last year at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) in Hannover,” says Prof. Gutzmer.

Leading positions at the new Helmholtz Institute Freiberg are to be joint appointments by the TU Bergakademie and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. Last year, an advisory council appointed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) evaluated the resource institute’s scientific concept and rated it very positively. Another prerequisite for the successful transfer into a Helmholtz institute is a good “Helmholtz fit.” “The scientific spectrum of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg is a perfect match for the mission of the Helmholtz Association to safeguard the future through research,” notes Prof. Mlynek.

With the Helmholtz institutes, the Helmholtz Association raises the cooperation between Helmholtz centers and universities to a new level. Since 2009, Helmholtz institutes have been founded in Mainz, Jena, Saarbrücken, and Ulm. These institutes are subsidized by the federal government and the federal states; thus, strengthening non-university research in promising future-oriented fields.


Further Information

Prof. Jens Gutzmer
Founding Director
Helmholtz Institute for Resource Technology
Chair for Economic Geology and Petrology at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg
Phone ++49 3731-39-2626/2662


Contact to the Media

Cornelia Riedel
TU Bergakademie Freiberg
Phone ++49 3731 39 23 55

Dr. Christine Bohnet
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
Phone ++49 351 260-2450 or ++49 160 969 288 56