Fraunhofer Annual Report 2022


Political Sovereignty through Economic Competitiveness

Fraunhofer Annual Report 2022





Prof. Reimund Neugebauer
Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, former president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Society as a whole faced multiple challenges in 2022. Nevertheless, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is on a scientifically excellent and economically stable path. Our business volume increased by 5 percent to around € 3.0 billion last year. This is in large part due to the great commitment, hard work and fruitful ideas of the approximately 30,800 people currently employed at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Although Germany is now managing one of the most difficult crises in the post-war era, we are still facing the critical challenge to advance the transformation of the economy to climate neutrality. Sustainable innovations in the energy sector are the best way to increase productivity in the context of climate targets, to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and hence to secure Germany’s competitiveness as a technological powerhouse on a long-term basis.

At the same time, increasing and expanding domestic energy production provides opportunities for OEMs to re-establish and relocate in Germany and Europe. This is the case, for example, for photovoltaic production, manufacturing capacities for wind turbines or electrolysis operations for the production of green hydrogen. By pooling its scientific expertise in a targeted manner, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has already been successfully conducting research projects on resource efficiency and climate innovations for years. An example of excellent energy research that can accelerate the expansion of renewable energies in the short term is highly efficient solar cells. Fraunhofer researchers have been able to increase the efficiency of the best solar cell to date to 47.6 percent.


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The executive board of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Reimund Neugebauer

Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft until May, 25, 2023

Alexander Kurz

Executive Vice President for Innovation, Transfer and IP Management until September 1, 2023


Axel Müller-Groeling

Executive Vice President for Research Infrastructures and Digital Transformation


Elisabeth Ewen

Executive Vice President for Human Resources, Corporate Culture and Legal Affairs


Sandra Krey

Executive Vice President for Finances and Controlling

New senate members

New chair of the senate

Hildegard Müller

Hildegard Müller, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), was elected as a senator by the ordinary general assembly in May 2022 and as senate chair by the Fraunhofer Senate at its meeting in October 2022. She started this role at the beginning of 2023. 

New senate member

Ulrich Rüdiger

The physicist  Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h.c. mult. Ulrich Rüdiger has been r5ector of RWTH Aachen University since 2018.

New senate member

Vanessa Wood

Prof. Dr. Vanessa Wood is Vice president for knowledge transfer and corporate, Chair at the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering as well as Head of the Materials and Device Engineering Group at the Institute for Electronics (IfE) at ETH Zürich.

Senate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

The Senate has around 30 members, comprising eminent figures from the worlds of science, business and public life, representatives of the federal and state governments, and members of the Scientific and Technical Council (STC).

“Strong industry is the key to effective climate protection and sustainable economic growth. The only way we can continue to invest so heavily in the restructuring of our economy and in solutions for climatefriendly mobility is with a sound economic foundation.”


(Dipl.-Kffr. Hildegard Müller, Chair of the Fraunhofer Senate)

“I like the idea of shaping and developing a leading technical university — especially one that uses interdisciplinary research to develop solutions to global technical and social challenges.”




(Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h.c. mult. Ulrich Rüdiger)

“Research is essential in moving industry forward. I have always been fascinated by the interplay between research and industry. Knowledge transfer promotes exchange between the field of research, industry and the political arena, allowing us to promote innovation in society.”



(Prof. Dr. Vanessa Wood)

Fraunhofer world records in 2022


Quadruple solar cell with antireflective coating breaks efficiency records


Generating quantum keys at multiple kilobytes per second on an international level


A record for magnetocaloric cooling and heating systems


Transferring quantum information with minimal noise


Demonstrating a novel approach to measuring magnetic fields


Range record for future 6G mobile communications

Putting research into practice: results find their place in industry and society

Non-university research institutions in Germany are transmitting their efforts to strengthen the country’s industry and society via the 7 transfer paths set out in the Pact for Research and Innovation. As the Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft’s mission is centered on applied research, the deciding factors it uses in measuring its own success are whether research results are being put into practice, and what impact they are making financially, environmentally and socially.

Transfer activities 2022– Selected examples

Contract research

cerenergy®-Hochtemperaturbatterien für die stationäre Energiespeicherun
© Fraunhofer IKTS
cerenergy®- High-temperature batteries for stationary energy storage are robust, safe, powerful and inexpensive

Key figures for 2022: 
€ 627 million from industry contracts (within Germany and internationally, excluding license-fee revenue)


Commercializing ceramic solid-state batteries

With a research contract for a eight-figure sum and the founding of the joint venture Altech Batteries GmbH: Fraunhofer is well on the way to commercializing ceramic solid-state battery technology. This project was one of the first to be funded by the Fraunhofer Future Foundation. In order to build a battery factory at the Schwarze Pumpe industrial park near the Saxon town of Hoyerswerda, the Altech Group and Fraunhofer founded the joint venture Altech Batteries GmbH. They will use this facility to mass-produce cerenergy®, a platform for ceramic solid-state batteries developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS. These resource-efficient sodium-nickel chloride high-temperature batteries can be used to store renewable energy, thus providing what has so far been the missing link of the energy transition. The cerenergy® batteries can be used for grid energy storage when power generation fluctuates, as a buffer between energy generation and consumption, in the charging infrastructure for electric transportation and as a stationary storage solution for industry and private households. Instead of working with critical raw materials such as lithium or cobalt, the batteries use less expensive, readily available resources like aluminum oxide for the ceramic solid-state electrolyte and sodium chloride and nickel for the cathode medium. What’s more, the ceramic batteries are fire- and explosion-proof, barely age at all during charging cycles and are 40 percent cheaper to manufacture than comparable lithium-ion batteries, according to the calculations of researchers at Fraunhofer IKTS. Now that the cerenergy® technology is set to go into mass production, shares in Altech have been included in investment recommendations — by Ecoreporter magazine, for example.



Daten aus dem All werden dabei helfen, auf der Erde die Ressource Wasser gezielter als bisher einzusetzen.
Data from space will help to make more targeted use of water as a resource on earth.

Key figures for 2022: 
18 Spin-offs | 4 shareholdings

The agriculture of the future begins in space

Data from space will help secure food supplies on Earth and save water in the process: This data will come from a fleet of microsatellites, each the size of a shoe box, that monitor the surface temperature of our planet. Their measurements are accurate to within 50 meters and can provide information on changes in plant health, and enable more efficient irrigation of agricultural land and more precise crop yield predictions. With this information, ConstellR is making huge strides toward a form of agriculture that is adapted to climate change. In March 2022, the technology proved its functionality when the measuring instrument LisR (Long-wave Infrared Sensing demonstratoR) was installed and put into operation on the International Space Station. The data that it has been receiving from and transmitting to Earth since April last year has laid the foundations for a number of pilot projects that ConstellR is currently working on. The development of LisR was led by the Freiburg-based Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach- Institut, EMI, in collaboration with its spin-off, ConstellR. The measuring instrument consists of a data processing unit and a thermal infrared camera with compact upstream free-form mirror optics that can be used to determine the land surface temperature of the Earth from space. The free-form optics were developed and manufactured by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and its spin-off SPACEOPTIX. As a prototype, LisR’s functionality was put to the test and it passed with flying colors, allowing ConstellR to raise 10 million US dollars in seed capital by the end of 2022. Two ConstellR microsatellites will be launched into orbit in mid-2024, and more will follow in 2025.

Intellectual property

Key figures for 2022

7,414 active patent families | 443 invention disclosure reports | 375 patent applications | € 160 million of license-fee revenue


Bowing out with license in hand

In 2022, the Fraunhofer spin-off Arioso Systems was sold to Bosch Sensortec. In 2019, the parent institute, the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS, and its spin-off, Arioso Systems, concluded a licensing agreement for the technology that it is based on — and this agreement is still in effect. It began with Nanoscopic Electrostatic Drive (NED), a powertrain technology for micromechanic systems that made the innovative sound transducer possible. To achieve this, the novel MEMS-based NED bending actuators were integrated into MEMS silicon chips, allowing for the production of miniaturized hearables. The advantage of silicon technology is the high extent to which it can be miniaturized. In addition, the electrostatic drive is also energy-efficient.

The NED technology was developed through a collaboration between Fraunhofer IPMS and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. The basic patent for the loudspeaker was granted in 2018, and the associated patent portfolio steadily expanded. In 2019, Arioso Systems GmbH was founded as a spin-off of Fraunhofer IPMS, with the aim of bringing the miniaturized headphones and micro-loudspeaker technology to the market. The spin-off got its start as a project of the Fraunhofer-Zukunftsstiftung (Fraunhofer Future Foundation). In the 2020 round of seed financing, which included premium investors such as the High-Tech Gründerfonds, Arioso Systems GmbH received € 2.6 million in venture capital. The exit occurred in 2022 when the spin-off was sold entirely to the large German company Bosch Sensortec GmbH, a international leader in the industry and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH. 


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Video: MEMS technology for headphones

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Wireless headphones with MEMS speakers for the Internet of Voice based on the energy-efficient transducer principle.


Key figures for 2022:

1,235 standardization activities


Regulations for artificial intelligence in cars

There is hardly any other field of technology where artificial intelligence is as safety-critical as it is in autonomous vehicles. There is already a standard for functional safety, ISO 26262, while ISO 21448 focuses on the question of whether the system’s design is adequate for a specific situation. Many Fraunhofer institutes have already had representatives in standardization organizations in the automotive sector for years. For example, the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS is shaping the future of safe autonomous driving as part of important bodies such as ISO, AUTOSAR, 5GAA and ASAM. One key concern here is the safe use of artificial intelligence, which is the focus of ISO/AWI PAS 8800. Fraunhofer IKS is acting as the international coordinator for the development of this standard. Fraunhofer is also involved with other standardization organizations that work in areas such as future software architecture for vehicles (AUTOSAR) and the safe use of third-party software such as Linux operating systems in vehicles (ISO/AWI PAS 8926). This will allow knowledge from Fraunhofer research to be codified and used in future vehicles.

Continuing professional development for external specialists and managers

Lernlabor Cybersicherheit für die Energie- und Wasserversrogung am Fraunhofer IOSB in lmenau
© Fraunhofer IOSB
Cybersecurity Training Lab for energy and water supply networks in Ilmenau

Cybersecurity Training Lab for energy and water supply networks

Companies in Germany sustain € 203 billion in damages per year due to stolen IT equipment and data, espionage and sabotage. This figure comes from a study conducted in August 2022 by the industry association Bitkom in collaboration with the German federal intelligence services (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz). When critical infrastructures such as energy and water supply networks are attacked, the material damage also causes enormous harm to society. It is becoming increasingly difficult to secure supplies: For example, more and more decentralized facilities for data collection and transmission are coming into operation, and the generation, distribution, storage, and use of energy is being controlled by IT-based systems. There are also geopolitical interests involved here. In order to prevent cyberattacks from damaging critical infrastructures, the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB has established a Cybersecurity Training Lab specifically for energy and water supply networks at its Ilmenau and Görlitz locations. Here, scientists are using the findings from their research to develop new methods and procedures for detecting and averting cyberattacks. The applications and prototypes they create are transferred to hardware platforms in the training lab to be tested and validated in a realistic environment. Only then can they be added to training courses or incorporated into the training lab’s cybersecurity assessments. In particular, the intensive technical courses on the mobile training platform have attendees ranging from employees to security personnel at energy and water supply networks.


Virtuvirtual tour of the Cybersecurity Training Lab


Employees and careers

Key figures for 2022

65 percent of employees that left Fraunhofer in 2022 were switching to a career in industry (according to exit interviews)


Training future managers

An important aspect of Fraunhofer’s mission is ensuring that scientific staff in particular can complete their management training during their employment at the organization. Fraunhofer has a 10 percent turnover rate in its scientific section. As part of the exit interviews, departing employees were asked where they were planning to go next in their careers. It was found that two thirds of departing employees were switching to careers in industry; around half of these were taking up management positions.

 carrers at Fraunhofer

Messwagen nutzen ein Echolotverfahren, um tiefe Gesteinsschichten geophysikalisch zu charakterisieren.
© Fraunhofer IEG/A. Jüstel
Messwagen nutzen ein Echolotverfahren, um tiefe Gesteinsschichten geophysikalisch zu charakterisieren. Diese Daten können helfen, heißes Thermalwasser in der Tiefe aufzufinden.

Key figures for 2022

No figures are available in this area (yet). These can currently be seen in other transfer paths.

Living laboratories for geothermal systems and georesources

Around a quarter of Germany’s heating demand could be covered by climate-neutral deep geothermal systems, according to a road map by researchers at Fraunhofer and the Helmholtz Association. A shift to geothermal energy could be particularly effective in North Rhine-Westphalia, as the state is home to the largest district heating networks in Europe that still use waste heat from coal-fired power plants. In order to use renewable energy for district heating, Germany must tap into the large underground thermal water reservoir in Northwestern Europe, as the Netherlands, Belgium and France have already done. The TRUDI living laboratory, run by the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Systems IEG, is helping to test technologies under realistic conditions, and then quickly and safely scale them up for market launch. In the Fraunhofer Metropolitan Laboratory for Connected Underground Systems and Energy System Transformation TRUDI, heat sources such as solar thermal energy and waste heat are connected to high-capacity thermal storage facilities such as flooded coal mines and high-temperature heat pumps to create heat networks for large cities such as Bochum, which can serve as role models for other locations. In 2022, following a multi-stage selection process by Zukunftsagentur Rheinisches Revier GmbH, the way was cleared for a Fraunhofer living laboratory focusing on deep geothermal systems in the Rhineland region. This could create a large research infrastructure for geothermal energy that is the first of its kind in Europe. At the planned site in Weisweiler, Fraunhofer IEG aims to conduct research with industry partners into areas such as georesources, borehole technologies, exploration and heat storage.


Science communications

Key figures for 2022

According to a media engagement analysis, Fraunhofer appeared in 11,026 articles; of these, around 60 percent were initiated by Fraunhofer itself. They were viewed 5,511.2 million times.


Participation and co-creation

In addition to the traditional communication channels, citizen participation is becoming a more important aspect of science communication at Fraunhofer. Various Fraunhofer institutes have gained experience in the area of citizen science. In order to expand these activities in a structured way, an internal working group of experienced stakeholders from the Fraunhofer institutes was founded. The group is advised and supported by the Public Formats and Initiatives department at headquarters. The Center for Responsible Research and Innovation (CeRRI), a department of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, is also involved. This department can bring to bear its many years of experience and methodological expertise on the topic of citizen science. In addition to integrating citizen science into its own organization, Fraunhofer is also seeking to engage more actively in dialogue with external stakeholders. For example, Fraunhofer has representatives in the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s discussion group on participation.

The participation of ordinary citizens is also key when it comes to more efficiently harnessing the potential of digitalization for rural regions. For projects in this area, the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE supports cities and regions through a co-creation approach. This participatory method means that groups such as citizens, administrators or industry stakeholders are actively involved in collecting ideas, defining requirements, and evaluating strategies and digital solutions that have already been put in place. Fraunhofer IESE’s best-known examples of this approach are the Digital Villages (“Digitale Dörfer”) and Smart.Rural.Regions (“Smarte.Land.Regionen”) projects.

Fraunhofer is tackling the current challenges facing industry head on. Its lighthouse projects put the focus on strategic objectives with a view to developing practical solutions from which economies such as Germany’s can benefit. The topics these projects address are geared towards economic requirements. 


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Projects of high impact

Fraunhofer Strategic Research Fields

Forming the core focus of our research portfolio, the seven Fraunhofer Strategic Research Fields aim to address needs and markets that will shape our future. 

Fraunhofer Research Awards

Joseph von Fraunhofer Prizes 2022

Since 1978, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has awarded annual prizes for outstanding scientific achievements by its employees. These awards are for achievements that have practical applications and a potential to directly and decisively help solve societal challenges and safeguard the future of Germany as a business location.


Unique measurement technology − 3D-based position control in radiotherapy



Dr. Peter Kühmstedt, Dr.-Ing. Christoph Munkelt and Matthias Heinze

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF


A new precision method − fluorescence measurement technology for quality assurance in production


Dr. Albrecht Brandenburg und Dr. Alexander Blättermann

Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM


Always ready to receive – RFicient chips for a sustainable Internet of Things



Dr. Frank Oehler, Dr. Heinrich Milosiu and Dr. Markus Eppel

Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS

Stifterverband Science Prize

For over 15 years, the Stifterverband has been awarding the prize (worth 50,000 euros) every two years together with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The prize rewards research projects in applied research that demonstrate scientific excellence, where Fraunhofer institutes work together with industry and/or other research organizations.


Stifterverband Science Prize 2022

Virtually frictionless — virtual material probe sheds light on the friction gap

Prof. Dr. Michael Moseler and Prof. Dr. Matthias Scherge (Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM))
Dr. Ing. habil. Joachim Otschik (EagleBurgmann Germany GmbH & Co.)


Research awards 2023

On May 25, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft honored excellent projects by its researchers. Three Joseph-von-Fraunhofer prizes as well as the Fraunhofer prize for Human- and Environment-Centered Technology were awarded.

Hugo Geiger Prize 2022

The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy awards the Hugo Geiger Prize for outstanding dissertations written in collaboration with Fraunhofer institutes. The award is named after the Bavarian secretary of state Hugo Geiger, who sponsored the inaugural assembly of the Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft on March 26, 1949.


First prize: Medical application of MEMS micropumps

Dr. Agnes Bußmann: Doctorate with Fraunhofer EMFT


2nd prize: Infrared measurement with quantum sensor technology

Dr. Chiara Lindner

Doctorate with Fraunhofer IPM


Third prize: Laboratory-scale synchontrons

Dr. Robert Klas

Doctorate with Fraunhofer IOF 


National and international prizes and awards 2022

In addition to numerous prizes for first-class scientific achievements, Fraunhofer researchers received some particularly important national and international awards for advances in applied research.

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People in research


Prof. Katharina Hölzle MBA

“We can only tackle the great challenges of our time and develop solutions if we pull together, at a social, political, industrial and scientific level. Empowering people for this togetherness — that’s what I stand for."


Prof. Bruno Burger


“We have to leave the age of fossil fuels behind us once and for all and move to renewable energy supplies. There is no alternative.”


Prof. Michael Lauster



“There can be no doubt that the care we take in making strategic decisions today directly determines what kind of future we will live in tomorrow.”



Dr. Alethea Vanessa Zamora Gómez


“The Fraunhofer model, with its strong ties to industry, is unparalleled worldwide. With my knowledge of sensors, I can help develop technological solutions that will contribute to the good of society as a whole in the future.”