Focus on excellence and global engagement of German industry

The scientific excellence of its partners and the level of engagement by German companies are strategic guiding principles for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft when it comes to focusing its international engagements from a scientific and industrial perspective.

International collaborations with excellent research partners support Fraunhofer’s innovative strength and also act as a benchmark for its own performance. A sound assessment of specific research markets and industrial partners is therefore indispensable. This assessment is undertaken directly by the specialist experts of the Fraunhofer institutes and groups, supplemented by overarching analyses of the innovative strength of potential target countries, for example, along with the degree to which they are networked with German industry.

Collaborations within Europe are particularly important to Fraunhofer, as reflected across every part of its portfolio. Beyond Europe, it pursues a “smart specialization strategy” − i.e., earmarking particular topics of focus in different countries based on each country’s strengths and degrees of specialization, specific regional features and how deeply German and European companies are engaged with it. In addition to a country’s current strengths, an increasingly important factor is how dynamic it is. Today, markets that are likely to be of interest to German industry in future are often located in emerging countries and even sometimes in developing countries.

The priority regions that this analysis identifies, the specific specialist area in which the Fraunhofer institutes wish to establish collaborations with excellent research partners and innovative companies in these regions, and the support of German companies established there are the basis on which the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft selects its future activities and develops its country-specific strategies. These may result in the establishment of new strategic focuses in priority countries and also in the expansion of existing successful collaborations.

Overarching strategies, such as the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s (BMBF) Internationalization Strategy and the development cooperation objective, form the framework that guides Fraunhofer’s international engagement.