Ethics in Research

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Innovation and ethics

Ethics means reflecting on moral concepts and beliefs in a methodological, critical and systematic way. The need for moral self-assurance is often felt only when we encounter different cultures and forms of life, as well as in times of social and scientific change. This is why in particular applied research, which drives groundbreaking innovations and future technologies with a broad impact on society, must be embedded in a culture of trust, fairness and sustainability. Innovation and ethics are hence not a contradiction in terms of a “driving” and a “braking” force –  they are both prerequisites for the economic and social success of any research project.


Ethics in Fraunhofer research

Ethics therefore plays an important role in research at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Addressing questions of ethics and scientific responsibility is relevant for both the orientation of research and the research work itself as well as for the handling of research results. The following is an overview of the various ethical issues, guidelines and points of contact.

Good scientific practice

We consider scientific integrity a necessary basic belief that must be maintained and promoted. Scientific indicators developed in recent years specifically for Fraunhofer ensure a constantly high level of quality in scientific activities. Accordingly scientific integrity is flanked by a number of other measures in parallel to the introduction of scientific indicators. 

Ethics and Scientific Responsibility

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is aware of its responsibility in dealing with both the freedom of research and the potential risks associated with research, and actively promotes responsible handling of research issues. Its objective is to go beyond the requirements of legal regulations in sensitizing its employees to the ethical acceptance of responsibility and in further developing the structural prerequisites for ethically responsible research. 

Fraunhofer Ethics Committee for Security-Relevant Research (REC)

In the context of its commitment to corporate responsibility, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is dedicated to its responsibility whenever its activities have an impact on the economy, on staff, the environment or society. In the case of research with major ethical implications, the Fraunhofer Ethics Committee for Security-Relevant Research (REC) provides guidance and promotes reflective practice.