Principles of Cooperation

Principles of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft regarding cooperation

The mission, vision and principles of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V. are described in our statutes and guiding principles. As a publicly funded, non-profit organization we naturally ensure to realize our mission in accordance with the legal requirements.

The requirements which apply to us are implemented in our internal regulations. All employees receive our internal Code of Conduct, which transparently summarizes these regulations as well as the principles which are important for us. To systematically ensure compliance, we operate a compliance management system, which was successfully evaluated for appropriateness in 2015.

With the following principles concerning cooperation with our external partners, we want to position ourselves proactively regarding topics important to us. 

We also expect that our partners comply with the applicable regulations and agreements, sensitize their employees in terms of lawful and responsible action and that they do not expect or demand any illegitimate action from us.

We appreciate your trust and look forward to a positive and successful cooperation.



1. Respect and fairness in dealing with business partners

We practice respectful and fair behavior towards our business partners and observe the requirements concerning competition. We are independent and maintain our neutrality towards the interests of individuals or groups from the fields of politics, business and society.

Dealing with conflicts of interest

We design our processes in order to avoid situations in which our employees, as part of their activities, could face a conflict between their private and business interests. We actively provide clarification regarding situations in which conflicts of interest may arise and we avoid them. This applies to relationships with so-called Fraunhofer-related companies (startups and companies in which Fraunhofer employees, their dependents or Fraunhofer itself are involved) as well as to insider information. Trading in securities is only permitted within the legal stipulations concerning insider trading. We remain neutral towards interest groups and consistently reject illegitimate efforts to exercise influence on our work.


Corruption prevention

Demanding, accepting or offering bonuses, other representational gifts, free or discounted services and other benefits for procuring an advantage is prohibited to all employees of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. These guidelines of the »Federal Government Directive Concerning the Prevention of Corruption in the Federal Administration« are implemented accordingly. All employees are mandatorily trained regarding corruption prevention.


Fair competition

We are conscious of our scientific quality and excellence and are therefore persuasive in competition with other market participants. Both as a contractor and as a client, we naturally observe the requirements for competition.


Selection of business partners

We choose our business and cooperation partners based on objective and transparent criteria and free of personal interests. We pay attention to their seriousness and reliability.  We conduct the legally required inspections, such as sanction list screening. We expect that our business and cooperation partners comply with thelegal requirements and mandatory regulations, that they sensitize their employees in terms of lawful and responsible action and that they do not expect or demand anyillegitimate action from us. 


Donations and sponsorship

Our action is subject to the economical and efficient use of funds. Donations and sponsorship of third parties by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are therefore notpossible.  As a non-profit organization, we are entitled to accept donations. Besides the tax-effective donation receipt, the donor does not receive any entitlement to anycounter-performance. The strategic orientation of our research planning is performed independently and autonomously in each case.


2. Respect and fairness in dealing with employees

Our success relies on the knowledge and enthusiasm of our employees for applied research. Fraunhofer offers its staff excellent work conditions paired with a high degree of autonomy.


We ensure the adequate remuneration of our employees. We observe the provisions of the Minimum Wage Act, acknowledge the national and international laws and regulations of labor law which apply to us and respect the principles of the UN Global Compact network as well as the standards of the International LaborOrganization (ILO). We do not tolerate forced labor, child labor or undeclared work and recognize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). For thesake of work-life balance, we support modern forms of work design. We respect the right of employees regarding freedom of association as well as their right tochoose their representatives freely and independently. We guarantee that the representatives can fulfill their legal mandate and that they will not be exposed to anyform of discrimination.



We offer our employees attractive development options, extensive training opportunities and reliable conditions in the working environment. We create workingconditions  in which our employees can thrive, and we consistently encourage and support them. Our offers are target group and needs oriented and supportthe qualification and development of employees at different stages of their professional activities.



For us, diversity is a key item on the agenda of our personnel policy. Diversity as a strategy opens up competitive advantages and increases the success in innovation. In addition to equality in terms of gender, diversity also includes the aspects of age, origin, sexual orientation, religion and disability for us. We are committed to meet the differences of the Fraunhofer employees in a appreciative and constructive way. This is also reflected by our membership in the Diversity Charter.



Our managers have a special responsibility. They are responsible for organizational success, personnel management and the design of the work environment. At the same time, they also serve as role models. We support our managers as well as possible in the exercise of their delegated responsibility and offer them opportunities to develop their leadership skills. We express our joint understanding of leadership and provide guidance for management by means of the Fraunhofer guiding principles of management.


Health and safety at work

The protection of our employees’ health and the associated safety at work are extremely important to us. In terms of prevention, we place high demands on work safety, the quality of work places and personal behavior in everyday work. We comply with applicable health and safety guidelines. We support employees whose health has been impaired by reintegrating them into the work process.


3. Quality and professionalism in performance and cooperation

We understand our clients and know their challenges of tomorrow. Together we develop integrated solutions for their long-term success.

Good scientific practice and scientific integrity

In our research, we comply with the principles of good scientific practice and promote scientific integrity in terms of comprehensive responsibility for the integrity and quality of our research. We follow clear rules to clarify scientific misconduct. Ombudspersons are established at each institute for the sake of good scientific practice. Information security, privacy and confidentiality Information that we process and compile often require special protection. This applies to personal data as well as to company data, research methods and research results that are entrusted to us. We make sure that these information are used only within the legal, contractual, operational and data-protection laws and that they are protected against unauthorized access by third parties.


Protection of intellectual property

Our scientific discoveries and intellectual property are of great value to us. Patents, inventions and other expertise are particularly important to us so that we can ensure our position as an attractive research partner over the long term. We exercise special care with our intellectual property and we respect the intellectual property of others.


Export control and customs

For reasons of security, export control regulations restrict foreign trade. This includes the cross-border exchange of goods, services and knowledge-sharing with third parties. Customs regulations restrict trade with third countries and are used primarily to protect the economy, to control imports and exports which are subject to authorization or permission as well as to enforce prohibitions and restrictions. We comply with all the rules that apply to the import and export of goods, services and information.


4. Social responsibility

Through our research we contribute to the sustainable development of an ecologically sound environment, and an economically successful and socially balancedworld. We  are strongly committed to this responsibility. We publicize our understanding of sustainability as part of regular organization-wide sustainability reportingpursuant to the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).


Scientific responsibility and ethics

We are aware of our responsibility in dealing with freedom of research and research risks and therefore encourage the responsible handling of research. We participate actively in political and social discussions concerning scientific fields in which we operate or to which we can contribute with our expertise.

Responsibility for the environment

We adhere to the requirements for environmental protection and support the pursuit of the sustainable design of society, the economy and the environment. We contribute to these objectives by means of the responsible implementation of new technologies as well as through research and studies for public contracting authorities.


Non-profit status

We are a non-profit research organization which is committed to the promotion of applied research. Our non-profit status provides Fraunhofer with privileges, but our actions are also bound by the principles of this status.


Responsibilities with respect to financial resources

As beneficiaries, we are subject to strict financial legal constraints and the prohibition of favoritism (Besserstellungsverbot). We comply with the requirementconcerning the economic and efficient use of funds. We handle our resources carefully and economically.