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.