Profile / Structure

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, based in Germany, is a leading applied research organization. It plays a crucial role in the innovation process by prioritizing research in key future technologies and transferring its research findings to industry in order to strengthen Germany as an economic hub as well as for the benefit of society.

As an important customer group, small- and medium-sized companies in particular tap into Fraunhofer's expertise and resources to develop new technologies and maintain their competitiveness. For years, Fraunhofer has been one of the most active patent applicants in Germany and Europe. The research organization is therefore developing an extensive, international patent portfolio in various technology sectors, primarily as a basis for transferring technology through research projects, spin-offs and licensing. In this way, Fraunhofer experts support industry partners from ideation to market launch, and Fraunhofer's interdisciplinary and international collaboration in specific market environments addresses social objectives in important technology areas. Fraunhofer also promotes research into key technologies that are vital for society as a whole by applying specific, interdisciplinary and international collaboration geared to the needs of the market. Examples include technologies for the energy transition, cybersecurity and underlying models for generative artificial intelligence. Fraunhofer is an attractive and established party for public-private partnerships and also makes a significant contribution to strengthening Germany as a hub for innovation and ensuring its viability in the future. Its activities create jobs in Germany, boost investment effects in the private sector and increase the social acceptance of new technology. International collaboration projects with excellent research partners and companies across the globe ensure that the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft remains in direct contact with the most prominent scientific communities and economic areas.

Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 76 institutes and research units throughout Germany. Its nearly 32,000 employees, predominantly scientists and engineers, work with an annual business volume of 3.4 billion euros; 3.0 billion euros of this stems from contract research, which is divided into three funding pillars. Fraunhofer generates a share of this from industry and license-fee revenue to a sum of 836 million euros. This high proportion of industrial revenue is Fraunhofer's unique selling point in the German research landscape. The importance of direct collaboration with industry and the private sector that this requires ensures a constant push for innovation in the economy, while at the same time strengthening German and European competitiveness.

Another share of contract research revenue comes from publicly funded research projects. The final share is base funding that is supplied by the German federal and state governments and enables our institutes to develop solutions now that will become relevant to the private sector and society in a few years.

Highly motivated employees are the most important factor in Fraunhofer’s success. The research organization therefore creates opportunities for independent, creative and goal-driven work. Fraunhofer fosters professional and personal development in order to provide career opportunities for its employees in the private sector and society at large.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is a recognized nonprofit named after the Munich scholar Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826), who enjoyed equal success as a scientist, inventor and entrepreneur.

Last updated: April 2024