Fraunhofer Society

The Fraunhofer Society for the Advancement of Applied Research (Fraunhofer ) has approximately 23,000 employees, the largest organization for applied research and development services in Europe, followed by the Dutch institute TNO. It represents an important part of the German research landscape, which (especially the universities ), Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, Science Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and the German Research Foundation consists among other things of universities. The seat of the head office is in Munich.

Namesake of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was Joseph von Fraunhofer ( 1787-1826 ). Its excellent performance was the combination of accurate scientific work and its practical application for new, innovative products. Joseph von Fraunhofer was researcher, inventor and entrepreneur, and was therefore chosen as a model and patron saint of today's Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Founded in 1949, it is the goal of the Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft, to carry out applied research of direct benefit to the company and its benefit to society. The Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft maintains more than 80 research units, including 67 Fraunhofer Institutes, at over 40 different locations in Germany. Around 22,000 employees, mostly with science or engineering, who work with an annual research budget of 2 billion euros. Of this sum, more than € 1.7 billion is generated through contract research. About 70 % of this power range, the Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft generated from contracts with industry and from publicly financed research projects. The rest is contributed by the federal and state governments, also enabling the institutes to give the opportunity to prepare solutions to problems that are in five or ten years for the economy and society ( preliminary research ). Members of a recognized non- Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are well-known companies and private patrons. Approximately 3 percent of the financial volume of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft fall to the power range departmental research for the Ministry of Defence.

Fraunhofer model

Around 40 per cent of their expenses receives the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft of the Federal Government (90 per cent) and countries (10 percent) than institutional funding to operate preliminary research. Planning security through continuous increases in their budgets is given by the Pact for Research and Innovation. The remaining approximately 60 percent of the expenses they must cover by their own income, and this includes both contracts from industry and publicly funded research projects (federal, state, EU). Here, the so-called Fraunhofer model comes into play: Since 1973, the amount of the basic financing of which is determined largely successful depending on the amount of business income. This principle applies to the society as a whole as well as individual institutions. Thus, the political will is implemented to make the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft 's leading provider of applied research. At the same time society and its institutions have the flexibility to react autonomously to changing conditions in the science and in the markets.

The Fraunhofer Institutes are legally not independent units. In fact, given the Fraunhofer model the institutes still a very high degree of independence from the Munich headquarters. The institutions and their leaders bear the responsibility for project results independently, for their own importance in the scientific world, and especially for their own funding. This results on the one hand a high degree of autonomy in the professional setting of priorities in the allocation of resources in the project acquisition and project management, on the other hand, a certain economic pressure and a compulsion to customer and market focus. In this sense, the institutions and their employees act as entrepreneurs and connect ideally the research, innovation and the Entrepreneurial so that the orientation of the patron saint is met Joseph von Fraunhofer.

On political pressure trying increasingly to cooperate with small and medium-sized enterprises, as they rarely own research laboratories can afford. High sees the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Germany, the research at a high level, but when quantitatively this too tight for enough marketable developments, which is why the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft constantly calls for an increase in public subsidies.

Numerous innovations in products and processes are due to research and development work in the Fraunhofer Institutes. The institutes are working to on virtually any application- relevant technologies, such as in microelectronics, information and communication technology, life sciences, materials research, energy technology and medical technology. One of the most well-known Fraunhofer developments is the audio data compression technology MP3. In 2011, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has reported 673 new inventions. This corresponds to about three inventions per day. Of these 494 developments have been patented. The number of active patents and patent applications increased to 6131st


On March 26, 1949, the establishment of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Munich by representatives of industry and science, the state of Bavaria and the nascent Federal Republic took place. 1952 declared the German Economics Ministry and the Donors' Association, the Fraunhofer Society for the third column in the non-university research in Germany by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Max Planck Society ( MPG). The goal of the Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft to support applied research with its own facilities, but long remained controversial.

Starting in 1954, created the first domestic institutions since 1956 including those in the field of Defence. 1959 decreed the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has nine institutes with 135 employees and a budget of 3.6 million marks (about 1.85 million euros ).

1965 recommended that the Scientific Council with the general expansion of the non-university research institutions and in particular the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as a support organization for applied research. 1968 became the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft due operated by it military research in the public criticism.

1969 worked more than 1,200 employees in 19 Fraunhofer Institutes and the Central Administration. The budget of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was 33 million marks. A " Commission to promote the expansion of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft " planned the further development of the FhG. The Commission developed the later so-called Fraunhofer model, which makes the basic funding of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, based on their success in the acquisition of research contracts.

In 1973, the " Fraunhofer model " was adopted by the Federal Cabinet and the Bund- Länder Commission. In the same year the Management Board and central administration moved into the Leonrodstraße 54 in Munich in a common building. The Fraunhofer program to promote contract research for small and medium-sized enterprises ran and won in the following years more and more important. Research and Defense divided in 1977, the political responsibility for the FhG. Federal and state governments shared in civilian research on promoting the ratio of 9 to 1.

1984 had the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft 3500 employees in 33 institutes with a research budget of 360 million marks. 1988, the share of defense research at the entire expense of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft had fallen to 10 percent. In 1989, the FhG then nearly 6400 people in 37 institutions with a total of 700 million marks a year.

In 1991, after the German reunification, numerous research facilities in the former GDR as temporary facilities or as branches of existing institutions integrated into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

1993 exceeded the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a total budget of one billion marks. Presented by their " mission statement in 2000 " defines the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as a market and customer- oriented, nationally and internationally active organization for institutes of applied research.

From 2000 to 2001 were merged on the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the GMD Research Center for Information Technology and the Fraunhofer Society.

In 2000, achieved a notable success at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS: MP3, which is now globally widespread method for encoding and compressing music data, rose to become the most widely used codec for audio files and made Fraunhofer world outside the research area known.

After a two-year pilot phase, the Fraunhofer Venture Group in 2001 was established as a separate department in the Headquarters of the Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft in Munich. She has been responsible for the spin-off and profit sharing program.

In 2002, the Heinrich Hertz Institute for Telecommunications, Berlin GmbH was transferred to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (HHI ) from the Science Association Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz eV ( GWL). With this integration, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the first time exceeded the limit of 1 billion euro financial volume.

2003 involved the Headquarters of the Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft en skyscraper in the district Sendling -Westpark in Munich. The Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft develops and formulates a company-specific mission statement. In a "mission" the fundamental business objectives are summarized in the " Values ​​and Principles " the desired corporate culture is described. This is to give employees a better opportunity be given to identify themselves with the company and release their own creative potential.

In 2004, the former Fraunhofer Working Group for Electronic Media Technology at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS the status of an independent institution. It became the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT. New alliances and networks themes help to strengthen the market presence of the Fraunhofer Institutes in certain areas of expertise.

In April 2005 created the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI and the Fraunhofer Center Nanoelectronic Technologies CNT in Dresden. 2006 in Leipzig, the Fraunhofer Center for Central and Eastern Europe MOEZ was founded.

2006, the activities of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft were bundled in the field of scientific training in the Fraunhofer Academy. The office is located in Munich. The Fraunhofer Academy offers continuing education for professionals and executives from the industry.

In 2007, the Fraunhofer Research Center was founded for Assistive Information and communication environments in Portugal. This is now as Fraunhofer Portugal Research Center for Assistive Information and Communication Solutions ( FHP AICOS ) the first institute established in 2008, the Portuguese branch of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Associação Fraunhofer Portugal Research.

2008 was founded with the Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH another subsidiary in Europe; With headquarters in Vienna. Fraunhofer Austria comprises two business areas: production and logistics management in cooperation with the Technical University of Vienna and Visual Computing in cooperation with the Technical University of Graz.

On 1 January 2009, MeVis Research GmbH, Bremen was taken as the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS (Fraunhofer MEVIS ) in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In Bremerhaven was the same date from the Fraunhofer Institute CWMT an independent institution that is with the Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology of the new Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology ( IWES ) was merged during the year 2009. On 17 August 2009, three defense technology FGAN institutes Fraunhofer Institutes have been.

2011, the cooperation with selected research-intensive colleges began with the model " Fraunhofer Application Centre". The Germany 's first facility of this kind is the Fraunhofer Application Center Industrial Automation in cooperation with the Institute of Industrial Information Technology of the University OWL in Lemgo, North Rhine -Westphalia.

2012, the cooperation with colleges was expanded. It originated in the summer two new Fraunhofer Applications Center. Through cooperation between the Brunswick Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research ( WWI ) and the Fachhochschule Hannover, the Fraunhofer Application Center for Wood Fiber Research HOFZET was founded in the summer. At the same time, founded by also based in Braunschweig Fraunhofer Institute for Thin Film and Surface Technology and the Application HAWK Göttingen Centre for Plasma and photonics.

Fraunhofer Institutes and Facilities

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft today consists of more than 80 research units, including 67 institutions.


  • Walther Gerlach (1949-1951)
  • Roelen Wilhelm (1951-1955)
  • Hermann von Siemens (1955-1964)
  • Franz Kollmann (1964-1968)
  • Otto Mohr (1968-1973)
  • Heinz Keller (1973-1982)
  • Max Syrbe (1982-1993)
  • Hans -Jürgen Warnecke (1993-2002)
  • Hans -Jörg Bullinger (2002-2012)
  • Reimund Neugebauer (2012 - )