Sustainable Use of Plastics: Joint Research Platform SPIRIT Opened in Colombia

Press Release FIT / 25.6.2018

Besides smart phones, smart cities and smart data, plastics are supposed to become smart, too. "It's high time", said Fraunhofer FIT and, in cooperation with the Colombian ICIPC institute, established the SPIRIT joint research platform that will focus on smart plastics.

Dr. María del Pilar Noriega Escobar, the director of ICIPC.

In late May, more than 120 guests from academia and industry attended the opening ceremony in Medellin, one of the Colombian cities with more than a million inhabitants. Among the speakers were Dr. Daniel Alscher, head of the department for cultural, educational and scientific cooperation at the German embassy in Bogotá, and Ms. Yaneth Giha Tovar, the Colombian minister for education.

The idea for the joint research platform for Sustainable PlastIcs and Related IoT-Applications – SPIRIT grew out of a long collaboration between the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology and the Instituto de Capacitación e Investigación del Plástico y del Caucho – ICIPC. The two institutes with their complementary fields of activities intend to cooperate closely in their research on smart plastics.

"Our research will focus not only on the societal challenges involved in the sustainable use of plastics, but targets the Colombian industry and German companies in Colombia", said Dr. Markus Eisenhauer, initiator of the project at Fraunhofer FIT. Together with Dr. María del Pilar Noriega Escobar, the director of ICIPC, he signed the cooperation agreement in the festive opening event.

Fraunhofer FIT will bring their expertise in R&D on the Internet of Things, user-centered design (UCD) and smart data to the cooperation, while ICIPC, a not-for-profit organization, will contribute their experience in the production and processing of polymer plastics and their excellent contacts to the Colombian and German industry.

Among the guests who attended the opening ceremony in the auditorium of EAFIT University were Dr. Juan Luis Mejía, the EAFIT president, Dr. Alejandro Playa, director of Colciencias, Frau Leonor Hidalgo Ciro, research director of Ruta N (a local industry-sponsored project agency in Medellín), the presidents of the chamber of commerce, and Mr. Alejandro Tieck, German honorary consul in Medellín, as well as Mr. Hans Udo Steinhäuser, founder, sponsor and chairman of the board of curators of ICIPC, and Mr. Daniel Mitchel, CEO of Acoplasticos.


ICIPC ( is the leading Colombian technology center developing technologies for the plastics, rubber and related industries. The not-for-profit organization offers innovative, high-quality services in materials sciences and plastics processing, targeting the needs of national as well as international companies. In 2017, research, development and engineering accounted for 68 percent of ICIPC 's services to Colombian companies, while lab services accounted for 15 percent and education and training for 13 percent.