The last word … today goes to Dr. Joachim Pelka from the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics

November 20, 2019

After a total of 36 years at Fraunhofer, including 23 years at the business office of the Group for Microelectronics, Dr. Joachim Pelka has now retired.

© Fraunhofer Mikroelektronik
Dr. Joachim Pelka
© Private collection
After retirement, Dr. Pelka will devote more time to his hobbies, including photography.

Dr. Pelka, you were employed at Fraunhofer for 36 years. What do you take with you from this time for your future?

As a lone warrior, you are more or less fighting a losing battle – only in a team can you be successful, especially in today’s highly complex world. During my time at Fraunhofer, I was lucky enough to be always part of well-functioning teams. Together we have somehow coped with (almost) all the challenges and problems that have come up.

What memories do you have of your first day at Fraunhofer?

Pretty frustrating ones: after having had a quiet two-person office at university, I suddenly had to share an office with three frequent phone users! The first tasks were also completely different from those presented in the interview, as someone else had been hired in the meantime. But my colleagues were nice.

Which project of your professional career do you attach the greatest importance to?

The highlight of my career was undoubtedly the establishment of the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD). This was the direct result of a strategic process lasting several years, which I was able to play a key role in shaping.

Looking back, what was the biggest challenge?

It was precisely this strategic process. For the first time, this process succeeded in turning the coexistence of “lone warriors” in the Group for Microelectronics into a coordinated cooperation, a team. And it really wasn’t an easy labor. The process teetered on the edge of failure several times. But our success, in the form of the FMD, shows that we mustn’t have done everything wrong.

How will you spend your retirement and what do you look forward to the most?

To having time for family; to being able to travel, but not having to, and finally being able to pursue my hobbies again – sailing, model boat sailing, model building, and photography.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would that be?

Definitely ending the narrow-mindedness of humanity when it comes to dealing with each other. I have many friends and acquaintances from all over the world and I don’t understand why so many people want to smash each other’s skulls in all the time (and often do) just because they don’t come from the same place.

If you were able to meet a famous person, alive or dead: who would it be and why?

I would like the chance to go sailing with Jochen Schümann (Olympic sailing champion and two-time America’s Cup winner) and to learn from him.

Last but not least, the microelectronics team thanks you for a great cooperation and wishes you all the best for the future. Now you literally have space for a “last word.”

With Next Generation Computing (NGC), a new and exciting theme that has been my companion for almost two years is now getting going in the Group for Microelectronics and the FMD. This is intended to raise the FMD to a European level together with the partner institutions imec from Belgium and Leti from France. I wish my successor, Dr. Patrick Bressler, and the team at the Group and FMD business offices a Midas touch and much success in the ongoing preparation and forging of the European NGC Alliance. I will certainly follow what happens next with interest.


About Joachim Pelka:

Born in Berlin in 1954. Married, 2 children. Studied electrical engineering with a focus on semiconductor technology at the TU Berlin. Doctorate on high-barrier pn junctions at the Institute of Materials in Electrical Engineering. After completing his doctorate, he started working for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, first at what is now Fraunhofer ISIT in the fields of dry etching and process simulation, and later at the JESSI coordination office. Then he moved to Fraunhofer IZM and joined the Group for Microelectronics, first as assistant to the chairman, then as managing director. In the middle of 2018, management was handed over to his successor Dr. Patrick Bressler. Since then, Dr. Joachim Pelka has been a senior advisor and a special representative for strategic tasks.