Compliance at Fraunhofer

Responsible management means to us, in addition to complying with the law and applicable standards, the adherence to values


Our self-image is anchored in our mission statement, our principles of cooperation and topical guidelines. The Executive Board, as well as management at all levels, closely follows and implements the operational and philosophical principles of our organization.


Compliance Management System

We operate a Compliance Management System based on our philosophy. Compliance requires adhering to the relevant legal requirements and internal regulations defined in the articles of association. This forms an important basis for our corporate success. The goal of compliance is to provide transparency and responsible adherence to legal regulations in order to protect our organization and employees. By treating our business partners fairly and with respect, we also want to contribute to a just and worthwhile society. Numerous preventative and reactive measures, as well as the decentralized implementation of compliance, assist us in achieving these goals.



Adherence to rules has always played an important role at Fraunhofer. Since its launch in 2010, the Fraunhofer Compliance Management System has systematically monitored rule compliance. Compliance responsibilities are decentralized in keeping with the structure of Fraunhofer. The Executive Board bears final responsibility for the system as a whole and is supported by the responsible business units as risk managers, the administrative office for corruption prevention, as well as the Compliance Office.

Management at each of the individual Fraunhofer Institutes is responsible for compliance implementation. Institute and management representatives, in addition to other executives, regularly take part in Compliance Committee meetings as well. During such meetings, participants are informed by the Compliance Office of the latest developments in the Compliance Management System while providing information on the system and suggesting important measures or issues. All roles and responsibilities are described in a Compliance Management System manual and communicated throughout Fraunhofer.


Our preventative measures focus on the transparent communication of Fraunhofer standards and associated values to our employees at all management levels. Internal rules can be centrally accessed, and employees receive custom-tailored training sessions and workshops. In addition, Web-based and on-site training raises awareness of issues such as corruption prevention or data protection. The Compliance Office co-hosts and supports the measures in cross-departmental, system-related workshops and training courses at the executive level. The Compliance Office is also the contact for rule-related questions.


Supervision and improvement

As a recipient of public funding, we are subject to both special rules and regular external audits. We are audited by the Federal Audit Office, the IRS, and external auditors.

Compliance adherence and implementation within the organization is also subject to regular internal supervision and documentation. The departments and the Internal Audit Office perform issue-specific audits. Management at the various institutes monitors the site-specific adherence to the standards.

The Executive Board is informed – regularly or as needed – about the audit findings in special reports. Intentional violations are not tolerated and shall be adequately dealt with. At the same time, the Compliance System will be continuously improved by identifying weak points making appropriate adjustments.


Misconduct, such as corruption or a violation of our standards of conduct, may be reported to our contact address by anyone (internal as well as external). We shall carefully and confidentially examine all reports and prosecute all genuine violations.