History of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft


The Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectric Circuits and Systems IMS is founded. The department for microstructure technology of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solid State Technology IFT is transformed into the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure Technology in Berlin, and in 1994 moves to Itzehoe as the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology ISIT.


In Dortmund, the Fraunhofer Institute for Transport Technology and Goods Distribution ITW is opened, later known as the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML. The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO is devolved from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart.


The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in founded in Aachen. The very first Fraunhofer Institute, the Institute for Applied Microscopy, Photography and Cinematography IMPK, ceases to operate in the same year. 

The increasing demand for solar research as a result of growing environmental awareness and the energy crises leads to the establishment of the Working Group on Solar Energy Systems ASE. It is later renamed the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.


30 years after its foundation, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft comprises 27 institutes. Their 2,200 employees generate a research volume of close to 187 million marks.


The Fraunhofer programme to promote contract research for small and medium-sized enterprises, initiated in 1976, grows into a nationwide government programme for SME support. This programme is to become a major growth and prestige factor for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. 

The constitution is changed and the administrative council is dissolved. Its duties under the articles of association are passed to the Executive Board and the Senate respectively. 

At the request of the regional government, the Freiburg-based Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Research - which does not form part of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft - adopts the name Kiepenheuer-Institut for Solar Research (KIS). This creates the legal precedence allowing the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to refer to all of its establishments in a uniform manner as "Fraunhofer Institute". 

The Fraunhofer Technology Development Group TEG starts work in Stuttgart. 

The Fraunhofer Prize is inaugurated. It is awarded each year to members of staff of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft - for outstanding scientific work in the application-related solution of technical and scientific problems.


The general agreement on research promotion comes into force for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. According to the terms of this agreement, the ministries of research and of defence share political responsibility for Fraunhofer, whilst promotion of civil research is supported by the federal and regional governments at a ratio of 9:1. 

Hans-Ulrich Wiese is appointed as a member of the Executive Board with responsibility for finances, replacing August Epp.


The Fraunhofer programme to promote contract research for small and medium-sized enterprises is initiated. Government promotion of the projects considerably improves the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's chances in contract acquisition. 

The existing institutes are divided into three categories: military research, contract research and service establishments. 

In Berlin the Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK is set up. The Hamburg-based Research Group for Radio Meteorology IRM is taken over by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Hygiene in Munich is closed down.


The Science Council produces a new evaluation of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, but its effects are nowhere near as significant as those of 1965. 

The proportion of military research in the overall budget of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has fallen from over 50 per cent at the end of the 1960s to nearer a quarter.


Heinz Keller, formerly member of the board of the Metallgesellschaft corporation, takes over the post of president, while Eberhard Schlephorst is nominated the first full-time Executive Board member for legal and personnel affairs. 

The optimistic mood at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is reinforced by a reshuffle of the Senate: its new members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as the social scientist W. Goldberg, journalist Marion Dönhoff and trade union leader Franz Steinkühler. 

New establishments in this year include: the Institute for Solid State Technology IFT in Munich and the Institute for Technological Trend Analysis INT in Euskirchen.On its 25th anniversary, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft can look back at an impressive record. With a staff of nearly 1,700 working in 27 institutes, the association. s total revenue now for the first time exceeds 100 million marks.


The offices of the Executive Board and central administration, until now spread across nine buildings in the Nymphenburg district of Munich, move under a single roof, at Leonrodstrasse 54. The increased powers and staffing of the central organization, required under the new policy, lead to conflicts with the institutes, who fear for their autonomy; these conflicts are only gradually laid to rest over the following years. 

A cabinet decision approves in principle the structures of the . Fraunhofer model. , enabling the introduction of largely results-dependent basic funding and a supplementary support fund administered independently by the organization. s executive board. This serves to confirm, among other things, that government decision-makers firmly intend to transform the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft into the leading umbrella organization for applied research institutes. At the same time, the association gains the flexibility to respond as required to changing overall conditions in the scientific community and in the market for contract research. Over the next few years, the new settlement leads to permanent and sustained growth of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. 

In a departmental agreement between the ministries of research and defence, together with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, it is agreed to open up the military-oriented institutes for civil research. 

The Institute for Food Technology and Packaging ILV in Munich joins the association. It is later renamed the Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV.


The joint planning committee for research and expansion presented its first draft report, which generated intense debates within the organization. Among other things, it proposed the idea of the so-called "Fraunhofer model", whereby state funding was to increase in proportion with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. s success in acquiring contract research work. This meant that research and development work had to be oriented strictly in accordance with the market. 

From now on, the pay scale for permanent staff was brought fully in line with the German official pay scale for civil servants and white-collar workers (Bundesangestelltentarifvertrag, BAT). This reduced the organization's competitiveness against industry in seeking qualified staff on the market. 

In February, the general works council of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft held its founding session. Rudolf Zapp was elected its first chairman. 

The nuclear safety programme introduced by the federal ministry of research in 1971 led to the first cross-institute cooperation in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. 

The year brought about considerable changes in existing Fraunhofer institutes: new establishments included the Institute for Non-Destructive Testing IZFP in Saarbrücken, the Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe, the Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut for Wood Research WKI in Brunswick, and the Institute for High-Voltage Electron Microscopy IHEM in Karlsruhe. The latter, however, together with the Technical Development Center Lindau TES, left the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in the same year.