A pioneer and mentor of research management


Steinbeis mourns the loss of its Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Professor Dr. Max Syrbe, who passed away in September after a long-term illness.

The passing of Max Syrbe spells the loss of a long-standing supporter of the Steinbeis Foundation. Max Syrbe was not only highly respected and esteemed, but will also be remembered for his warm-hearted, kind manner, his comprehensive specialist knowledge, and his indefatigable commitment to his work. Max Syrbe joined the Board of Trustees in 1983, and acted as chairman since 1991. He was a particularly reliable and trusted colleague who gave his full support to the strategic development of the Steinbeis Network.

Max Syrbe was born in Leipzig in 1929 and studied physics in Frankfurt. After completing his Ph.D., he worked for Brown Boveri in Mannheim. In 1968, he was appointed head of the Institute of Oscillation Research (ISF), which subsequently became the Karlsruhe Fraunhofer Institute IITB in 1970.

In 1966, Syrbe was appointed to the Fraunhofer Society Senate. In 1983, he became Fraunhofer president, a role he fulfilled until 1993. It was thanks to the initiative taken by Max Syrbe that the foundations were laid for the development of the Fraunhofer Society. Syrbe pushed ahead with performance-related contractual research for businesses and public bodies, providing a basis for Fraunhofer to facilitate applied research in the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1975, the Computer Science department at the University of Karlsruhe (TH) appointed Syrbe as honorary professor.

As well as research policy and research management, Max Syrbe’s scientific work revolved primarily around automation and anthropotechnology, especially man-machine systems. Syrbe was a winner of the Fraunhofer Sculpture, the highest honor bestowed by the Fraunhofer Society. He was also an honorary doctor of the Department of Engineering Sciences at the University of Duisburg-Essen and an honorary senator of the University of Freiburg. Further, Syrbe was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit under the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as the Order of Merit of the Federal State of Bavaria. In particular recognition of his lifetime achievements, the Steinbeis Foundation awarded Max Syrbe an honorary Löhn Award in 2009.

The Steinbeis Foundation will always honor the memory of Max Syrbe.


Steinbeis Foundation (Stuttgart)

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