Wilhelm Klauditz Fellowship

February, 2020

Interview with Wilhelm Klauditz Fellow
Dr. Hatem Abushammala


Dr. Hatem Abushammala joined the Fraunhofer WKI as Wilhelm Klauditz Fellow in August 2017. He conducted research on the production of electrically conductive nanocellulose. In addition to his role as a fellow, he also led an international research project. Dr. Abushammala will leave the Fraunhofer WKI in March 2020.  


What made you apply for the Wilhelm Klauditz Fellowship?

I appreciated the freedom offered to the fellow to develop and work on own research project and the skills that grow along with such experience, in addition to the research profile of Fraunhofer WKI, which matches my research expertise. I also valued the possibility that the material I am planning to develop could ultimately become a product through the involvement of industrial partners.


What research did you pursue during the fellowship?

I worked on developing novel electrically-conductive nanocellulose. Such nanocellulose could have great potential in many applications including electronics and sensing and could tackle the issue of electronic waste.


How did you choose your area of research? What is your personal motivation?

When I started my master studies in 2009, there were more and more voices calling for a stronger dependence on sustainable resources to cover our energy and material demands. That triggered me to take my first steps into the area of biopolymers and I was fascinated by what can be made out of them. I am personally excited about the opportunity I have as a researcher in this field to simultaneously contribute in the scientific community and the wellness of our planet through the development of environmentally-friendly solutions and products.


What aspect of the fellowship have you enjoyed the most?

I did enjoy the independency I had as a fellow and the positive impact it had on my scientific growth and personality.


How did you find Braunschweig as the location of your fellowship?

It was the right location for my research project as the equipment I needed were available not only through the Fraunhofer WKI but also through the Technical University of Braunschweig and the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films (IST).


What will be your next step?

I am moving back to the United Arab Emirates to continue my career there.


What would you say to researchers thinking of applying for the fellowship at the Fraunhofer WKI?

Wilhelm Klauditz Fellowship is a great opportunity to the researchers who want to work independently and improve their research profile on one of the many research topics at Fraunhofer WKI. It is a door opener to a career in academia, applied research, or industry.