History of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

2009

Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES established

The Fraunhofer IWES in Bremerhaven was established. It builds on the work of the Fraunhofer Center for Wind Energy and Maritime Technologies CWMT created in 2006.

60th anniversary

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft celebrated its 60th anniversary. 15,000 employees in 57 institutes and the headquarters generated revenues of 1.4 billion euros.

Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH established

Subsidiary companies were established in Europe for the first time. In Austria, Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH was formed as an umbrella organization for existing and future project groups and branches of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Integration of the »Forschungsgesellschaft für Angewandte Naturwissenschaften (FGAN)« into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

With effect from August 17, 2009, the »Forschungsgesellschaft für Angewandte Naturwissenschaften (FGAN)« was incorporated into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. From now on, the three FGAN institutes are Fraunhofer institutes.

Fraunhofer president Bullinger appointed »Manager of the Year 2009«

In its december issue the German magazine »manager magazin« presents the »Manager of the Year 2009«. The six-member jury of economic experts selected Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Jörg Bullinger, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, as mananger of the year. According to the official statement, under his management the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft »has contributed more than ever before to technological innovations and economic growth.«

Integration of MeVis Research GmbH

MeVis Research GmbH with its research expertise in medical technology was integrated in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as the new Bremen-based Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS.

Research policy responds to the financial crisis

As a multinational contract research organization, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft continually adapts to developments in the research sector and to changes in the business world. This involves interpreting macroeconomic social trends, integrating innovative research scenarios and identifying relevant markets. The core capabilities and business activities have to respond flexibly to change, but also require reliable medium-term perspectives as it takes time to develop expertise in the R&D sector.

European strategy

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has been consistently widening its European and international orientation for several years on a sustainable basis. The Executive Board confirmed the presented European strategies in 2002 and 2007 and numerous strategically important measures were implemented as a result.

2008

Prof. Marion Schick new Senior Vice President Human Resources and Legal Affairs

The President of the University of Munich, Prof. Dr. Marion Schick, took over from her predecessor, Dr. Dirk-Meints Polter, as Senior Vice President Human Resources and Legal Affairs on October 1, 2008.

Fraunhofer Research Institution for Marine Biotechnology EMB

The same organizational change was made to create the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Marine Biotechnology EMB in Lübeck, which hitherto had been a department of the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT.

Bundling expertise for frontline themes

On an organization-wide level, discussions are regularly held to identify significant issues to which particular importance will be attached for a period of around three years. Alongside the initiatives at institute and alliance level, the Fraunhofer frontline themes form the basis for an additional alliance-overarching process. The aim is to pool resources and capabilities on selected key areas of research of high relevance to the market and society in general, and develop them through to market readiness within a time horizon of three to five years by exploiting synergy effects.

Expansion of international relationships

Substantial growth in worldwide bilateral contract research activities and EU-funded joint projects, a subsidiary company operating successfully in the world's biggest and most important research market, the establishment of further subsidiaries, branches and representative offices, and the initiation of a host of collaborative ventures with prestigious partners are impressive testimony to the international development of the organization. The aim is not only to maintain this position but to steadily build upon it.

Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) established

The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) added a new dimension to the network run by Fraunhofer USA. The direct cooperation partner on site, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is one of the most prestigious research organizations worldwide.

Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nanosystems ENAS

The Chemnitz branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM gained separate organizational status as the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nanosystems ENAS.

Leibniz Prize to Prof. Holger Boche

New impulses for the mobile communication technology – Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. rer.nat. Holger Boche, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI, receives the Leibniz-Prize 2008 for his research about cellular networks. The prize endowed with 2.5 million euros.

Dissolution of the Fraunhofer Technology Development Group TEG

Mid-2008 the Fraunhofer board passed a resolution to dissolve the Fraunhofer Technology Development Group TEG as an independent Fraunhofer organization and merge its various departments with the relevant institutes at the Stuttgart site.

Fraunhofer-Zukunftsstiftung (future foundation) established

Capitalized with 95 million euros from MP3 license-fee revenue, the Fraunhofer-Zukunftsstiftung was established. Its remit was to promote pre-competitive research in fields of technology where patent clusters can be specifically developed.

Fraunhofer Forum inaugurated

The Fraunhofer Forum was established in Berlin – the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's communications platform in the German capital.

Associação Fraunhofer Portugal Research established

In Portugal, the Associação Fraunhofer Portugal Research was established to run the new Fraunhofer Center for Assistive Information and Communication Solutions (AICOS) in Porto.

2007

Leibniz Prize 2007 to Prof. Peter Gumbsch

The German Research Foundation DFG awarded the Leibniz Prize to Peter Gumbsch, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg and Halle. Peter Gumbsch was honored for his outstanding research work into the processes involved in the deformation and fracture behavior of materials with the highest research award in Germany in 2007.

Integration of institutes from the Research Establishment for Applied Science (FGAN)

In a statement the German Science Council recommended that the three institutes in the Research Establishment for Applied Science (FGAN) involved in research into security issues be integrated into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Introduction of »Fraunhofer Attract«

The introduction of the "Fraunhofer Attract" program was designed to help Fraunhofer recruit excellent independent scientists with innovative ideas. Calls for proposals for 40 "Attract research groups" were advertised between 2007 and 2009, with up to 2.5 million euros earmarked for each group.

Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics established

The Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics CSP was established in Halle, run by the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. It aim was to provide research-technology support to photovoltaics companies in Saxony-Anhalt.

Investment in intellectual property

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has set up an extensive program designed to increasingly generate patent clusters over the next few years. This massive investment in in-house research has enabled Fraunhofer scientists to consistently develop patentable ideas and inventions and ensure they can be commercially exploited thanks to patent families. The first two projects "Solar cells based on metallurgical silicon" and "Micro fuel cells" each received funding to the tune of up to 10 million euros.

Growing with Europe

Europe poses a challenge yet enriches the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft at one and the same time: researchers have to prove their worth in an internationally competitive field, but also have the opportunity to gain new experience and expertise through international projects and excellence networks.

Institutes dissolved

The Fraunhofer Patent Center for German Research PST was dissolved for reasons of tax law. The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Publication and Information Systems IPSI was dissolved; its promising research areas were transferred to other institutions, primarily to the Fraunhofer Institutes for Secure Information Technology SIT and for Information and Data Processing IITB.

German Future Prize 2007 – Light from crystals

As part of developing thin-film LEDs, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors carried out pioneering work – supported by Fraunhofer researchers from Jena. Dr. Klaus Streubel and Dr. Stefan Illek from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors together with Dr. Andreas Bräuer from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena won the German Future Prize 2007, the technology and innovation award bestowed by the German President, for the joint development of LED-based illumination modules.

Annual general assembly 2007 – Presentation of research prizes

Three Joseph von Fraunhofer Prizes and three Hugo Geiger Prizes were awarded at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft annual general assembly. The "human-centered technology" ("Technik für den Menschen") prize singled out a development that helps improve people's quality of life.

Ongoing internationalization

In Austria the project group of the Fraunhofer IGD at Graz University of Technology started work.
Fraunhofer USA opened an affiliated research center on the West Coast of the USA. Fraunhofer Digital Media Technologies (DMT) in San José offered a new platform for customers from the IT sector, predominantly for key companies in the surrounding Silicon Valley.
In South Korea, Fraunhofer expanded its network of representative offices in Asia with an office in Seoul. The MENA countries have also become a compelling proposition. In the form of the Fraunhofer Representative Office Middle East in Dubai, Fraunhofer established a first point of call in the region.

2006

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Buller
© Fraunhofer / Ansgar Pudenz

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Buller

Dr. Ulrich Buller appointed new Senior Vice President, Research Planning

Doctor of chemistry Ulrich Buller, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Golm, was promoted to the newly created post of Senior Vice President, Research Planning. This new seat on the Executive Board was created with the intention of lending greater weight to the practical considerations of research in the organization’s governing body.

Creation of Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS in Sankt Augustin

The Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS was created through the merger of two existing institutes, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Autonomous Intelligent Systems AIS and for Media Communication IMK.

Prof. Holger Boche receives »Vodafone Research Award«

The mobile communication of the future is the specialty of Prof. Holger Boche. The director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI searchs for new ways to expand cellular networks of the third generation. For his work, he receives a »Vodafone Innovation Award« in Dresden.

Inauguration of Fraunhofer Center for Central and Eastern Europe MOEZ in Leipzig

On July 17, 2005, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft inaugurated its new Center for Central and Eastern Europe MOEZ in Leipzig, with the aim of promoting cooperation between industry and science in East and West.

Fraunhofer Prize Award 2006

During the annual conference of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft the following prizes were awarded: The Technology Prize for Human-Centered Technology, three Joseph von Fraunhofer prizes and three Hugo Geiger prizes.

Stimulating innovation

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft lent ongoing support to the German government’s high-tech strategy through a variety of activities.

Investment in the future

In 2006, a financial volume of 1.186 billion euros was generated by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In the future, the research organization wants to expand its technological and human capacities.

Federal Order of Merit for Professor Hans-Jörg Bullinger

The President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Prof. Hans-Jörg Bullinger, was distinguished with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

2005

12 signposts to tomorrow’s markets

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft continued to develop its technology portfolio and published a list of 12 “signposts to tomorrow’s markets”, highlighting the themes it considered to have exceptionally high innovation potential, require intensive research, offer immediate market prospects, and tally with existing areas of Fraunhofer expertise.

Prof. Andreas Tünnermann receives Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Prize

Prof. Andreas Tünnermann of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF receives a Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Prize 2005 for his ground-breaking studies about the development of high-performance fiber laser.

Exploring future markets through innovation clusters

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft strengthens its role as a networker in the German process of innovation. After the identification of future markets for Germany, the bundling of relevant strengths for leading themes is now on the agenda. The Fraunhofer institutes are qualified as regional nuclei for establishing regional innovation clusters. The goal is to advance the networking of companies and universities or non-university research institutions.

Foundation of a Pilot Plant Centre for Polymer Synthesis and Polymer Processing (PAZ)

The Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Centre for Polymer Synthesis and Polymer Processing (PAZ) was founded in Schkopau. It is intended to strengthen the research and development capabilities of the Middle German chemical industry.

Foundation of the Fraunhofer Technology Academy

The Fraunhofer Technology Academy was founded in cooperation with the University of St. Gallen, RWTH Aachen University, and the Hagen University of Distance Learning.

Prof. Joachim Luther receives »Deutschen Umweltpreis«

Prof. Dr. Joachim Luther, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, receives the German Environmental Award 2005 for his research about the advancement of the solar energy use. The highly remunerated prize is awarded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (BDU).

Opening of the Fraunhofer Representative Office in Moscow

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft set up a local presence in Russia in the form of a Representative Office in Moscow, aiming to support technology transfer and build strategic partnerships.

Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI founded

The Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI is founded in the organic city Leipzig. It is intended to find special problem solutions for partners from industry and economy at the interface between medicines, life sciences, and engineering sciences.

Endowment of the technology award »Technik für den Menschen«

The technology award »Technik für den Menschen« was endowed by former executive Board members and institute directors of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to honor outstanding scientific achievements by Fraunhofer employees which help people to remain active in daily life up to a very old age and improve the environment in which they live.

Fraunhofer Fonds

In cooperation with a venture capital company, Fraunhofer set up a fund to finance innovative high-tech firms, with special emphasis on spin-offs from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Record industrial revenues

In 2005, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s industrial revenues rose to the record level of 36 percent. This helped to boost the organization’s total business volume by 17 percent to 1.25 billion euros.

2004

Fraunhofer IDMT in Ilmenau

Creation of new Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau

As of January 1, 2004, the former working group on electronic media technology AEMT at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS was accorded the status of a fully fledged Fraunhofer Institute. From then on, it would be known as the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT.

Future Prize 2004

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology ISIT in Itzehoe received the German Future Prize 2004 for their development of a lab-on-a-chip system in collaboration with Siemens and Infineon Technologies.

Positive funding situation despite difficult economic climate

55 years after the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was founded, the organization comprised 57 institutes and employed a staff of around 12,700 employees working with a research budget in excess of a billion euros. In 2004, despite the difficult market for research and development services, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft made good progress and was able to increase its total business volume to 1.069 billion euros. The proportion of expenditure covered by earned revenue increased to 63 percent.

Wider cooperation among the Fraunhofer Institutes

New networks and alliances devoted to specific research topics enabled the Fraunhofer Institutes to consolidate their market presence in selected fields.

Initiative »Partners for Innovation«

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft becomes heavily involved in the »Partners for Innovation« initiative launched by German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and in which he continued to take personal interest.

Establishment of the Fraunhofer Center for Nanoelectronic Technologies CNT in Dresden

The Fraunhofer Center for Nanoelectronic Technologies CNT was established in Dresden. The facility, financed as a public-private partnership, provides a place where new process technologies for nanoelectronic systems can be developed jointly by science and industry.

Fraunhofer Project Group for Production Management and Logistics (PPL)

The Fraunhofer Project Group for Production Management and Logistics (PPL) is founded in Vienna, Austria.

2003

The new »Fraunhofer Haus«

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s central administrative departments finally move into their own building: the new “Fraunhofer Haus”, thus also confirming the organization’s intention to maintain its headquarters in Munich.

Twelve leading-edge innovations: Creating opportunities for Germany

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft develops and formulates a set of guiding principles. The fundamental goals of the organization are summarized in a mission statement, and the corporate culture is described in a set of values and principal objectives. The guiding principles serve the purpose of giving staff a better opportunity to identify with the organization and to release their own creative potential.

2002

The former Fraunhofer Institute for Atmospheric Environmental Research IFU joined the Karlsruhe Research Center

The former Fraunhofer Institute for Atmospheric Environmental Research IFU joined the Karlsruhe Research Center at the beginning of 2002, and is now being managed by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers (HGF).

Heinrich-Hertz-Institut

The Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Berlin, is transferred from the Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz e.V. (WGL) to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Through this enlargement, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s operating budget for the first time exceeds the sum of 1 billion euros.

New President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Hans-Jörg Bullinger
© Ansgar Pudenz/Fraunhofer

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Jörg Bullinger

Further changes take place in the Executive Board: Professor Hans-Jürgen Warnecke, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft since 1993, cedes his office to Professor Hans-Jörg Bullinger, formerly Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO.

Dr. Alfred Gossner

Dr. Alfred Gossner takes over responsibility for finance and controlling from Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wiese, who had held this post for 24 years.

Forming of cross-institute alliances

The practice of forming cross-institute alliances within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft becomes widely established: Over 50 institutes now work within such alliances; the involvement of the alliance spokesmen in the decision-making processes of the Executive Board provides an opportunity for more creative management.

Defense and Security Alliance

Five Fraunhofer Institutes join together in the Defense and Security Alliance in order to coordinate their research activities in this field.

Prof. Karl Leo receives Leibniz Prize 2002

Prof. Karl Leo, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS, receives the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Prize 2002for his research about Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED). The Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Prize is the highest remunerated promotion prize in Germany.

2001

Integration of GMD – Forschungszentrum für Informationstechnik GmbH

The legal aspects of the integration of GMD – Forschungszentrum für Informationstechnik GmbH are finalized and the institutes themselves are integrated. This, alongside the integration of institutes in the eastern part of Germany, represents the biggest major change since the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was founded. 

A new change at Executive Board level: The former chairman of GMD, Professor Dennis Tsichritzis, is appointed as the fourth Senior Vice President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Further education with Fraunhofer

With the field »Further Education« the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft opens a new business area. Thus, research and research news are opened up to a broad public.

Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB) established

The Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB) is established in Newark, USA. Within a few years, it becomes the most successful branch office of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in the U.S.

Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology IUCT is now Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME

Due to the great success and growth of the molecular biology department of the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology IUCT, the institute changes his name into Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME.

Integration of the Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM

The Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM, established in 1995, is integrated into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. It adds the field of applied mathematics to the portfolio of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Cooperation Fraunhofer-Chalmers Research Centre for Industrial Mathematics (FCC)

In Europe, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft takes a step forward that is pointing the way. On the initiative of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM, the Fraunhofer-Chalmers Research Centre for Industrial Mathematics (FCC) in Göteborg is established in cooperation with Chalmers University. It is the first institutional cooperation of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Europe.

Fraunhofer Group for Life Sciences

Four Fraunhofer institutes join together into the Fraunhofer Group for Life Sciences.

2000

One particular invention brings international fame to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft: MP3, the encoding and compression technique for music data, which has meanwhile developed into a worldwide de facto standard. Its developers Karlheinz Brandenburg, Bernhard Grill and Harald Popp at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS are awarded the German Future Prize, valued at DM 500,000, by the President of the German Federal Republic.

Cross-institute alliances have become an established instrument of internal networking, and the concept is therefore being applied on a wider scale. At the present date, 33 institutes are grouped in six working alliances, as a means of coordinating their activities and presenting a unified market image.

A new, central “Venture Community” is created, tasked with helping spin-off companies and preparing joint ventures. In 2000, 48 new companies are spun off from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, over half of which are soppurted in their efforts by the Venture Community.

A major topic of discussion at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft this year concerns preparations for the merger with GMD – Forschungszentrum Informationstechnik GmbH. The first joint projects are defined. 

Prof. Alex Gershman receives Wolfgang Paul-Prize

Prof. Alex B. Gershman of the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS receives the Wolfgang Paul-Prize. With the 2.3 million euros award, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation appreciates his research about intelligent antenna systems for wireless communication with low radiation for the people.

Fraunhofer Venture Group

The task of the new central »Venture Group« is to supervise spin-offs and to prepare capital participations. In 2000, 48 spin-offs were established by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. More than half of them were accompanied by the Venture Group.

Board of management grows

In context of the integration of the GMD, Fraunhofer’s board of management is extended to four persons:

  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Warnecke (president)
  • Dr. Dirk-Meints Polter
  • Prof. Dr. Dennis Tsichritzis
  • Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wiese

Establishment of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Brussels Office

The establishment of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Brussels Office shows Fraunhofer’s attempt to act like a European research institution. The task of the new office is to support Fraunhofer institutes in competing for EU research funding.

»Wissenschaftspreis« of the »Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft« awarded

In 2000, the »Wissenschaftspreis« of the »Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft« was awarded for the first time. The organization honors scientifically excellent joint projects of applied research which are carried out by Fraunhofer institutes in cooperation with industrial companies and/or other research institutions.

Integration of the GMD – Research Centre for Information Technology

The preparation of the fusion of the GMD – Research Centre for Information Technology and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was the main topic of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.