Fraunhofer in Korea
Press Release May 15, 2012
The internationalization of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft continues, with Europe’s largest applied research organization further expanding its activities in South Korea. If built up successfully, the recently launched Fraunhofer Project Center for Biopharmaceutical Research in South Korea can move towards becoming a Fraunhofer Center, integrated within a Fraunhofer subsidiary – Fraunhofer Korea Research. The Fraunhofer Senate passed a resolution to negotiate the establishment of a Fraunhofer subsidiary with the Korean funding bodies.
South Korea is one of the most dynamic and economically stable countries in Asia, enjoying economic growth of over 6 percent. It is an important trading partner for Europe, with Germany’s exports to South Korea worth 14.3 billion dollars. A free-trade agreement between the EU and South Korea – the first of its kind with an Asian country – has been in place since July 2011.
Germany does not only export to South Korea, it is also one of the biggest investors in the country. German pharmaceutical and chemical companies have been a prominent fixture in South Korea for quite some time, and it is this industry’s interest in South Korea that makes it attractive to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In order to be able to offer competent advice and research services, it is not only essential for Fraunhofer to collaborate with the best international research groups. As an applied research organization it follows its export oriented clients and must also familiarize itself with markets’ cultural characteristics and specific requirements.
This international commitment is paying off. During the 2011 fiscal year, Fraunhofer’s revenues from international partners and the European Union totaled 200 million euros – excluding license fees – representing growth of 14 percent over 2010. In Asia, revenues rose by 5.3 percent to 18 million euros. This rise reflects above all strong business relationships with Japan, China and South Korea.
The region is not only interesting from an economic point of view. Asian countries are investing more and more in education and research, and their potential for innovation is rising rapidly. Those not wanting to miss out on this progression need to have a local presence and be seeking dialog and active collaboration.
International experience as a recipe for success
Over the last few decades, Fraunhofer has established a number of subsidiaries in order to concentrate its expertise in the most crucial scientific and economic areas across the world. These include Fraunhofer USA, Fraunhofer Austria, Fraunhofer Portugal, Fraunhofer Italy and Fraunhofer Chile, under which various centers have been established. Each one follows the Fraunhofer model in Germany in closely collaborating with excellent research institutes in each host country. Internationalization is also being furthered by way of Fraunhofer Project Centers, temporary collaborations between a particular Fraunhofer institute and a research facility abroad. Such Project Centers have already been established in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Singapore. In South Korea, the Fraunhofer Project Center for Biopharmaceutical Research was recently launched in the South Jeollanamdo province. This Project Center is being set up by the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME. It is financed by the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), which has identified biotechnology as one of the most important growth markets of the 21st century.