INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute has hired the man who will set the agenda for the research and innovation that comes out of the center. Rainer Fischer, who has been named chief scientific and innovation officer, most recently led the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology in Germany. IBRI Chief Executive Officer David Broecker calls Fischer the "epitome of world class talent" that the institute is trying to attract to the 16 Tech district in downtown Indianapolis.

Fischer has developed and led the Fraunhofer Institute for 19 years. In that time, it has grown from 40 to 680 employees and raised almost 1 billion euro in research funding. It also has international collaborations with educational and industry organizations in more than 25 countries covering sectors including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food.

He has also co-founded five biotechnology startups, holds 40 patents and has more than 60 patent applications pending.

Fischer also brings academic experience to his new position. He has served as department head of the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology at RWTH Aachen University, where he co-established both undergraduate and graduate programs. He has published more than 330 peer-reviewed scientific papers that have been cited nearly 15,000 times.

Fischer says he sees "huge potential" in the IBRI and Indiana, adding that he wouldn't have taken the position otherwise. He says his overarching goal is to bring people and technologies together and turn innovative ideas into reality, specifically in the areas of metabolic diseases and diabetes.

Fischer will be a keynote speaker Wednesday at the BioCrossroads 2016 Life Sciences Summit in Indianapolis.