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The Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences Introduces Itself

Gerald Roman Berger-Weber conducts research and teaches at the JKU’s Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences at the Institute of Polymer Processing and Digital Transformation.

Gerald Roman Berger-Weber; Credit: privat
Gerald Roman Berger-Weber; Credit: privat

Why did you choose to come to the JKU?
Gerald Roman Berger-Weber: In the area of digital transformation in polymer technologies, the JKU offers an ideal, transdisciplinary environment in engineering, computer sciences, natural sciences, law, business, education, medicine and social sciences, that also includes Upper Austria’s strong plastics industry. It all culminates in the perfect environment. When it comes to polymer technologies, I consider the Linz Institute of Technology (LIT) - particularly the LIT Factory – as a place to support digital education, learning, and research; a place that supports and enables joint collaboration.

What is your area of research?
Gerald Roman Berger-Weber: I conduct research in the area of polymer processing, meaning the process starting with plastic as a raw material all the way to the finished component or semi-finished product, particularly optimization and digitalizing processing operations.

What do you find particularly fascinating about your area of research?
Gerald Roman Berger-Weber: Polymer processing operations, such as extrusion and injection molding, are complex. Efficiency depends on many factors and the way they interact in the areas of plastics (from new material to post-consumer waste), the processing machine’s design and process control, the molding tools, the product design as well as quality measurement. The interaction between holistic view needed and immersing myself in detailed problems and coming up with a systematic solution never ceases to fascinate me.

Why is this research even necessary, meaning how will it improve our lives?
Gerald Roman Berger-Weber: Society is facing major challenges in the 21st century (climate issues, energy, environmental issues, digitalization, sustainability, and more). While plastic often gets a bad rap in the court of public opinion, plastic is an indispensable part of our everyday lives. Used correctly, plastic is an important part of the solution! My research focuses on bringing higher amounts of plastic into the recycling process and make technological processes more efficient, both ecologically and economically.

Why should students take your classes?
Gerald Roman Berger-Weber: I believe that in addition to solid professional training, I put my students’ enthusiasm, learning success, and skill acquisition in the foreground. I apply student-centered educational methods, meaning flipped classroom and problem-based learning, but also in the context of blended learning. In an effort to consistently improve my classes, my students’ feedback and regular didactic training (currently www.polyflip.eu, opens an external URL in a new window) are important to me.

What are you currently working on?
Gerald Roman Berger-Weber: On one hand, I am working on modernizing education in polymer technologies at the JKU, and on the other hand, I would like to revisit a topic regarding intelligent molding tools that I was fascinated with in the past. In general, I am interested in the challenges pertaining to twin transition, particularly hybrid modeling, digital twins, and intelligent quality controllers in support of polymer processing.

What are your hobbies?
Gerald Roman Berger-Weber: As boring as it may sound, I enjoy hiking and walks in the woods together with my family, solving Sudoku puzzles, and some cardio at the gym.

What else do you want to do or achieve in your life?
Gerald Roman Berger-Weber: Of course, I would like to become a successful and recognized professor at the JKU. Together with my colleagues, I want to create “Future Skills” (to prepare for very demanding future professional requirements in the VUCA world of the 21st century) as well as modern, student-centered education and learning forms as integral components of education in polymer engineering at the JKU. On the personal side, I would like to one day walk the Camino de Santiago.

About Gerald Roman Berger-Weber

Born in Braunau am Inn in 1975, Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Gerald Berger-Weber studied polymer engineering at the University of Leoben (MUL). After a brief period in the automotive industry in Munich, in 2002 he moved over to the new Polymer Competence Center Leoben. He completed his dissertation in 2016 in the main subject area of polymer processing (second subject in surface technology) and subsequently managed several projects in the area of application-oriented research. At the end of 2010, he moved to the Chair of Injection Molding of Polymers as a post-doc candidate, earning his degree in the subject area of polymer processing at MUL in 2018. After three years as an associate professor, he followed a call to the Johannes Kepler University Linz to assume a professorship position for Polymer Processing and Digital Transformation. He is married and has two daughters.

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