Contract research is the mainstay of Fraunhofer’s business activities and, in line with the Fraunhofer funding model, consists of three core areas, each contributing equal amounts to the organization’s finances:
- Research directly contracted by industry
- Publicly funded research projects
- Pre-competitive research financed through base funding
In 2021, the base funding requirement amounted to €780 million. Base funding is provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the state governments in a ratio of 90:10. An additional €93 million in federal government funding for applied research by non-university research institutions enabled Fraunhofer to adopt measures for retaining expertise, particularly internal pre-competitive research projects aimed at delivering a powerful kickstart to the industry sector as it makes its way out of the crisis. Initial signs of recovery could be seen in industrial revenue, which, at €723 million, returned to pre-crisis levels in absolute terms. Revenue from industry contracts rose to €609 million and license-fee revenue grew to €114 million. Revenue from publicly-funded projects once again showed a significant increase, and continued to serve as an important source of support during the second year of the pandemic.
Project funding from state governments jumped sharply by 20 percent to €236 million. Project funding from the federal government also grew by 14 percent to €554 million. At €93 million, EU revenue was on a par with the previous year. In the coming year, the new Horizon Europe framework program offers considerable potential for the Fraunhofer Strategic Research Fields in particular. Other revenue increased by 8 percent to €132 million, and includes funding granted by foundations, universities and other research-funding institutions.