• Erik Wiegard, Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science, Brain City Berlin

    Erik Wiegard, Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science

As Managing Director of the Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science in Berlin-Spandau, Brain City Ambassador Erik Wiegard brings together researchers in science, industry, and education to work on the future transformations of production technology, mobility, and energy supply. The Centre's scientific focus is on the technology fields of digitalisation, additive manufacturing, and new materials. 

Brain City Ambassador Erik Wiegard originally comes from Rheine in Westphalia, near the border with the Netherlands. But he moved to Berlin 32 years ago, before the fall of the Wall, looking for an apprenticeship position. “It was more by chance that I found out about a vacancy in Berlin. I was prepared for rejection yet I suddenly found myself confronted with an acceptance after a successful recruitment test, followed by the statement: 'Now you only need to get an apartment, then you can start the apprenticeship.'" 

Just 16 at the time, he didn't know that this would set the course for the rest of his life: After training as an industrial mechanic, he was hired as a journeyman at Siemens' dynamo plant in Berlin. “Early on, I had wanted to study mechanical engineering. I started a family with my girlfriend, now wife, and am now firmly rooted in the city,” says Erik Wiegard. He found the many opportunities in Berlin inspiring from the beginning: "The mix of different people and cultures, the lifestyle in the city, and the openness to new things continues to fascinate me as much as it did then."

Berlin is unique. In its scientific landscape, the city brings together numerous experts and innovators from a wide variety of technology, social science, and cultural areas. 

Erik Wiegard's current responsibilities as Managing Director of the Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science e.V. in Berlin-Spandau, which officially opened in summer 2019, are also diverse. "With the Centre, our focus is on offering a platform for industrial partners, scientific institutions, and small and medium-sized companies as well as start-ups to collaborate on research under both laboratory and real conditions," he explains. His excellent team has been essential in setting up and running the centre, both strategically and operationally. "By using a joint co-location at the point of value creation in the middle of the surrounding industrial plants, we want to increase the speed of innovation and thus establish new products, product generations, processes, and educational aspects in our partner network more quickly and thus sustainably strengthen Berlin industry," he said, describing the objectives of the Centre. "To this end, we are researching the future fields of changing production technology, the forthcoming mobility and energy supply transformations, and technologies related to digitalisation/virtualisation, additive manufacturing, and new materials." 

Erik Wiegard advises young researchers who want to start a career in Berlin: "'Berlin is always worth a trip:' that slogan applies as much today as it did yesteryear. Berlin, with its universities and the unique start-up scene, offers an ideal environment for scientists and entrepreneurs seeking to work on shaping the future today." The potential of the city, he adds, is reflected in the numerous Zukunftsorte in the city. Siemensstadt 2.0 in Berlin-Spandau, where the Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science is located, is one of the places where the future of science and industry in Berlin is being created. 

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