History of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft


The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft responds to the decline in the proportion of military research with a plan to convert certain areas of research and even entire institutes to civil contract research. The greater part of this conversion plan is implemented over the next five years. One example of complete and successful conversion to contract research is the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Materials Research IFAM in Bremen, which will change its name to the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research in 1999. 

Over the last ten years, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has tripled its figures: almost 6,400 employees in 37 institutes now produce a total volume of nearly 700 million marks a year.


The proportion of military research relative to the total budget of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft now lies at only 10 per cent. This relative decline is largely due to strong growth in the civil research fields and institutes.


In Darmstadt, the Working Group for Computer Graphics Research AGD is formed, which quickly grows into a fully-fledged institute, the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD, founded in 1991.


In Erlangen, two working groups are formed in the field of microelectronics, which later become the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, Applied Electronics Department, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, Device Technology Department. The Institute for Aerosol Biology IAe in Schmallenberg is transformed into the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology IUCT.


To provide local industry with access to forward-looking technology, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology is founded in Aachen. 

The Fraunhofer Alliance for Microelectronics is founded, with the aim of avoiding overlapping projects and duplication of work by the institutes working in this field. Today, this Alliance is one of the world. s four leading research bodies in the field of microelectronics. 

In a published report, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft announces its intention to promote the formation of spin-off companies by Fraunhofer employees, because this is seen as a particularly effective way of transferring know-how from the scientific community to private industry. 

After 35 years, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft employs a staff of 3,500. Its 33 institutes generate research to the value of 360 million marks.


Max Syrbe, until now head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Information and Data Processing IITB, takes over the post of president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft from Heinz Keller. His aim is to consolidate the rapid gain in size of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft over the previous ten years by following on with a phase of qualitative growth. 

The Documentation Center for Water DZW in Düsseldorf is divested.