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Rainer Fischer, Ph.D.

Rainer Fischer, Ph.D. President’s Fellow in the Life Sciences
Senior Executive for Innovation and Discovery at the IBRI

Rainer Fischer, Ph.D., was named Senior Executive for Innovation and Discovery in April 2019. Fischer joined the IBRI in April of 2017 as the Chief Scientific and Innovation Officer. In October that same year, he also was named Chief Executive Officer. Fischer spent 19 years building and leading the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) in Aachen, Schmallenberg, Muenster, Giessen, Frankfurt and Hamburg in Germany, and its subsidiaries in Newark, Delaware, USA and Santiago, Chile. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the largest applied science research organization in Europe, with applied research aimed at addressing issues of health, security, production technology, energy, materials, and the environment.

During his time at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Fischer grew the IME Institute from 40 to 680 employees, raised with his team almost one billion euro in extramural research funding, and established international collaborations with academia and industry in more than 25 countries. Those collaborations include many of the leading global companies in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food and chemical industries.

Fischer also served as Department Head of the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology at RWTH Aachen University where he was awarded a Distinguished Professorship in 2015. He created the department, co-establishing both undergraduate and graduate programs that have matriculated more than 500 students including 137 graduated Ph.D. students. Fischer is a prolific presenter and has published more than 420 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters that have been cited almost 20,000 times.

In addition to his academic and leadership experience, he co-founded five biotechnology startups, holds over 50 issued patents and has more than 100 patent applications pending. Fischer also holds a second Professorship at Maastricht University, Netherlands where he co-founded the Aachen-Maastricht-Institute-of-Biobased-Materials (AMIBM) in 2015. In 2018, he was appointed Presidential Fellow and Research Professor at Purdue University.

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