Interview 6

Heike Wittek


Heike Wittek studied mechanical engineering at the Leibniz University of Hannover where she obtained her doctorate. She is deputy head of the department Processing Methodology at Deutsches Institut für Kautschuktechnologie e.V. ( and has been helping to advance the digitalisation of rubber processing as part of the project DIGITRUBBER since 2021.

What do you find most exciting about the MaterialDigital initiative?

What I find exciting about working in the MaterialDigital initiative is the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of scientists beyond my own field of research. It's great to see how you start out speaking 'different languages' and develop a growing understanding of topics that were previously difficult to grasp over the course of the project. This interdisciplinary collaboration is definitely something special about the MaterialDigital initiative. Admittedly, it was also a bit of a challenge at the beginning to get involved and not always stay in familiar territory.

What would you wish for the digitalisation of materials science?

That things move faster! We keep coming up against obstacles, often due to a lack of funding. More funding programmes would be great!

Why do you work in science?

I like working in science because you are always dealing with new topics and it never gets boring. There is no ‘day-to-day business’, there is room for ideas and you have the opportunity to realise them. I also like learning new things. I want to encourage young people to study engineering or science, it opens up countless opportunities. And there are so many areas you can specialise in - there's something for everyone!

What do you do in your spare time outside job and research?

In my free time, I balance my work at the desk with spending time with my three children and my husband. We are all sporty and enjoy outdoor activities – in particular cycling or hiking in the Deister or slacklining in our garden. I also try to find some time for a long-held dream: last year I started to learn playing the piano.