Dr-Ing Joachim Szodruch

The Board unanimously decided to confer the CEAS Award 2015 to Prof Dr-Ing Joachim Szodruch.

Joachim Szodruch has contributed in an outstanding way to the German, European and international aerospace community by motivating people and institutions to cooperate and by initiating powerful networks in an often visionary way.

Statement of justification



• Due to his ability of thinking and acting across borders – countries, subject matters, etc. – he always managed to bring together a critical mass of the “right” people from the “right” institutions to move forward together.

• He was very successful in bridging the gap between fundamental research and industrial development to yield an efficient transfer of scientific progress into product advancements by creating networks to foster cooperation. Even his career path closed the loop from science via industrial R&T to institutional research.

• He advanced technologies such as laminar flow control for aerodynamic drag reduction, always considering the impact on the overall aircraft and the air transport system.

• Joachim Szodruch has authored and co-authored more than 70 publications.

•He launched one of the first large European aeronautical research projects: “ELFIN” (European Laminar Flow Investigation) in 1989. He successfully coordinated the associated large-scale, complex wind tunnel tests with hybrid laminar flow wing models as well as flight tests of a laminar part-span wing glove on a Fokker F100 aircraft. Thanks to his profound knowledge and diplomatic skills, he mastered to lead this European cooperation with partners at universities, research establishments and in the industry to a world-wide respected success.

•After some 20 successful years within the aerospace industry, he became member of the Executive Board of DLR and embedded DLR even more into an international network. Together with Fred Abbink (NLR), he fostered the German-Dutch relationship in the field of Air Traffic Management by founding AT-One1 in 2007. He played a key role in the acquisition of the Airbus A320 “D-ATRA” for the DLR research fleet in 2008 as a modern and flexible flight test platform setting a new benchmark for flying test beds in European aeronautical research. As a very active member and co-chair of EREA2, and a very passionate co-founder of IFAR3, the worldwide network of government-supported aviation research establishments, he actively promoted cooperative aviation research across borders.

• Joachim Szodruch became a key player within the activities of ACARE4. He was acting as co-chair together with François Quentin for several years and was jointly responsible for the Strategic Research Agenda to achieve the goals of the Vision 2020.

• During his presidency of DGLR he initiated the transition towards a more modern aerospace society with increasing membership. He was and still is quite creative and successful in attracting younger people to aerospace and into the DGLR as part of CEAS. As CEAS president he launched the CEAS Aeronautical and the CEAS Space Journal in 2009. Furthermore, he managed to attract very successful conferences to Germany, e.g. the IAC5 2003 in Bremen, the ICAS congress 2006 in Hamburg, and the first CEAS conference 2007 in Berlin with more than 1000 participants.

Curriculum Vitae Prof Dr-Ing Joachim Szodruch

Joachim Szodruch was born in Ebingen, South Germany, in the year 1945, but grew up in Berlin. He graduated from the Technical University Berlin in 1971 followed by a post-graduate study at Cambridge University, UK.
1973 – 1977 Scientific assistant at the Aerospace Institute of the Technical University Berlin, where he obtained his doctorate (Dr.-Ing.) in 1977.
1978 – 1980 Research Associateship from the National Research Council at NASA Ames Research Center in California, USA.
1981 – 1983 Test Engineer at VFW-Fokker (later on merged to MBB-UT) in Bremen.
1984 – 1990 Programme Manager Aerodynamic Research and Deputy Chief Aerodynamicist at MBB-UT (Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Civil Transport Division)/Deutsche Aerospace Airbus in Bremen.
1991 – 1994 General Manager Research & Technology at Airbus Industries in Toulouse.
1995 – 2000 Vice President Future Projects and Technology Coordination at DaimlerChrysler Aerospace Airbus in Hamburg.
2001 – 2002 Vice President Research and Future Projects at Airbus in Toulouse.
2002 – 2010 Member of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Centre DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) in Cologne, particularly responsible for Aeronautics and – until 2007 – Energy. Within this function he was also a member of the Supervisory Board for the two European wind-tunnel organisations DNW (Deutsch-Niederländischer Windkanal / German-Dutch Windtunnel) and ETW (European Transonic Windtunnel).
Since 2003 Honorary Professor for Aeronautics at Technical University of Berlin.