The Fraunhofer IWKS project group develops technical and strategic solutions for the efficient use of secondary materials and functional materials.

About us

On 1st October 2018 Prof.Dr. Weidenkaff took up her position as Managing Director of the  Project Group IWKS. Previously, she held the Chair of Chemical Materials Synthesis at the Institute of Materials Science at the University of Stuttgart. With the change to the Fraunhofer Project Group, Prof. Weidenkaff was appointed to the Technical University of Darmstadt. Under her leadership, the new subject area "Materials Chemistry/Materials Engineering and Resource Management" will be created.  

Research focus
The research work of the Fraunhofer Project Group IWKS focuses on the areas of resource cycles and efficient and sustainable resource strategies. The aim of the research work is to establish a closed cycle economy and to avoid waste by recovering and recycling valuable raw materials or replacing them with sustainable alternatives. To this end, innovative processes are being developed in the areas of functional materials (magnetic materials, energy materials, analytics) and secondary materials (urban mining, biogenic systems, material flow management). For resource-efficient handling of raw materials and materials.

The implementation of developments in industry is an important goal of the research work. The Project Group IWKS, with its parent institute the Fraunhofer ISC in Würzburg, conducts research and works at two locations. With a research team of more than 90 employees from the fields of environmental management, process engineering, materials science, industrial engineering, (micro)biology, ecotrophology, chemistry and physics, the Fraunhofer Project Group IWKS focuses on an interdisciplinary research approach.

Located in two locations and in two federal states. The Bavarian Alzenau and the Hessian Hanau. The aim is to establish a fully-fledged Fraunhofer Institute. Since the region has universities and colleges with a focus on natural sciences, materials science and engineering, the Project Group has developed a centre for a competence network for resource strategy, material cycles and substitution, which is also intended to strengthen the structure of the research landscape.

Managing Director

Prof. Dr. Rudolf Stauber took over as founding director of the Fraunhofer Project Group Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies IWKS in 2011 and 2012.  Since 01 October 2018, Prof. Stauber has continued to support the Project Group in its development into an independent institute.

Expert Network Resources

The close networking of the business units with the management team, consisting of Prof. Dr. Oliver Gutfleisch (Technical University Darmstadt), Prof. Dr. Liselotte Schebek (Technical University Darmstadt), Prof. Dr. Anke Weidenkaff (Director) and Prof. Dr. Rudolf Stauber (Managing Director), enables research approaches along the entire value chain. Project partners are thus optimally supported in their individual tasks.

In addition, the Project Group has access to the parent institute Fraunhofer ISC and a Fraunhofer-wide network of experts and universities. The competence network thus available enables outstanding consulting services.   

Expert Network "Resources"

 The structure of the Project Group IWKS


We have combined our core competencies into three areas of business, with a view to certain sectors and products. The close link between the Business Areas, Prof. Dr. Oliver Gutfleisch (Technical University of Darmstadt), Prof. Dr. Anke Weidenkaff (Managing Director Project Group IWKS) and Prof. Dr. Rudolf Stauber (Managing Director Project Group IWKS) allows a holistic approach in the scientific project work and ensures a comprehensive observation across the entire value chain. Thus, the project partners are supported optimally in their individual tasks.

At the centre of our work is the economic success of our clients, an increase in customer utility and an improvement in resource efficiency with regard to the use of material, energy and time.

Our ambition

Our ambition is to convert the latest scientific and technical knowledge into applications and products in a customer-oriented, efficient and sustainable manner.

The specialist expertise of the Project Group is supplemented by the parent institute, Fraunhofer ISC, and, where necessary, by further collaborations within the Fraunhofer Society and in cooperation with appropriate third-level institutions.

The Project Group IWKS has already begun its research with a core team, scientifically interdisciplinary, consisting of 40 employees (from the specialist fields of environmental management, process engineering, materials sciences, industrial engineering, biology, chemistry and physics, etc.) and will be further reinforced during coming years. The objective is the foundation of a proper Fraunhofer Institute in its own right from 2016.

The Project Group IWKS thus confronts the more important challenges of our time and, together with its industrial partners, develops innovative solutions for the future of our society. Each research area is staffed by specialists, while the business areas are strongly interlocked in terms of content and they act together. By these means comprehensive questions can be research holistically and solutions can be found by employing different approaches.