Fraunhofer Strategic Research Field

Digital Healthcare

Symbol Intelligente Medizin

More than half of all Fraunhofer Institutes and research institutions are involved in the four major areas of health research – drugs, diagnostics, devices and data, or 4D for short. Many innovations emerge at the interface between medical science, natural science, computer science and engineering. With its emphasis on transdisciplinary research, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft offers the perfect environment for a close collaboration on health research – and on a cost-intelligent precision medicine for the benefit of patients.

The steadily increasing health care expenditures in Germany require cost-intelligent innovations, which result from the convergence where scientific disciplines intersect. Novel, cost-efficient ideas can only be translated into concrete applications under new forms of collaboration. In this context, the collaboration between the four major areas of drugs, diagnostics, data and devices – the 4Ds – is crucial. Currently, only organizations that conduct application-oriented research and operate in a highly transdisciplinary manner, such as the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, are in a position to cover and combine the range of technological disciplines required for cost-efficient innovations.

Research focuses on expanding the sovereignty of medical product and device supply in Germany and Europe, improving the usability of medical data, decoding the immune system and defining transdisciplinary translation cycles to accelerate the applicability of innovative medical products and devices.Against the backdrop of an aging population, cost pressures and shortages of skilled healthcare professionals, our research also focuses on automating healthcare provision in order to maintain quality of care, free up more space for human interaction, and take the pressure off staff.


Web special

Health Research in 4D

Drugs, diagnostics, devices and data are the four major areas of medical science.

High-Performance Center Medical and Pharmaceutical Engineering

The High-Performance Center Medical and Pharmaceutical Engineering is aimed at easing the translation of ideas into successful applications.

The focus of our research and innovation transfer is on patient-specific implants (PSI) and respiratory systems as well as on individualized drug manufacturing.


Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Immune-Mediated Diseases

Early diagnosis and individualized treatment of immune diseases.

Alternative methods for animal testing

Fraunhofer on the way to predictive models of the future

Animal experiments are permitted with reasonable cause to answer scientific questions in basic research and in biomedical research for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in humans and animals. They are also required in regulatory toxicology for legally mandated approvals of products. In each case, it must be determined whether the purpose pursued cannot be achieved by alternative methods.


SaxoCell – “living drug” Made in Saxony

In a digital press conference held by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research on February 3, 2021, the SaxoCell research consortium was announced as one of the clusters selected for funding. The consortium comprises experts from the TU Dresden, Leipzig University, Chemnitz Hospital and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology. Over the next three years, the project partners will collaborate with partners from academia and industry to provide novel cell and gene therapies for previously incurable diseases.


Pharmaceutical research pioneers succeed in Clusters4Future competition

The Fraunhofer Institute for Translational Medicine and Pharmacology ITMP is pioneering the development of a new class of active sub-stances in the PROXIDRUGS project together with seven regional partners, under the leadership of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. The project has now been designated as a cluster for future by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and will be funded with up to 15 million euros.

Impact Goal

Affordable healthcare

The results of Fraunhofer research help keep people healthy and make healthcare affordable across all areas of medical, environmental and nutritional research. Smart assistance systems boost the effectiveness of preventive healthcare, diagnostic medicine, treatment and care. Other key factors in public health include nutrition, food technology and effective environmental protection, all of which feature prominently in Fraunhofer research.

Germany fosters a broad and diverse array of medical technology research with a clear emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. Examples include testing new drugs in clinical trials, searching for specific biomarkers, developing prostheses that provide sensory feedback and developing concepts for secure data management. Health and care is one of the key areas of innovation within the German federal government’s High-Tech Strategy. The idea is to use cutting-edge technologies to develop effective methods and products to improve diagnostics, preventive care, treatment, patient care and rehabilitation.

Most institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are involved in healthcare research. Improving medical capabilities and optimizing processes are key priorities, but so too is the goal of making healthcare affordable for everyone.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is superbly placed to tackle this complex task thanks to its interdisciplinary networks and its ability to pool the required expertise. Overcoming this challenge leads to new technological developments in healthcare research.

Digitalized value chain

Digital transformation affects almost every area of our lives and opens up new opportunities for our society and economy. The impact of new developments and solutions extends far beyond individual applications and provides a stimulus to entire sectors of industry. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft drives forward targeted aspects of digital transformation in order to accelerate and enhance digital value creation across all areas.

Digital transformation poses both major challenges and tremendous opportunities. Entirely new value chains are emerging on the back of increasing connectivity and automation, the pooling of data from diverse sources and the creation of digital interfaces to customers. Digitalization is radically changing our economy by transforming the nature of production, retail, services, logistics and transport. For many years, Fraunhofer has been one of the key drivers behind connected manufacturing and digital innovation in Germany. Its contributions help companies harness the full potential of digitalization.

Fraunhofer researchers tackle key aspects of IT security, data sovereignty, Industrial Data Space, artificial intelligence, next-generation computing and IT infrastructures. Their expertise plays a key role in driving digital transformation and boosting the competitiveness of German and European companies. All in all, our research and development work helps our economy and society to meet the challenges of digitalization and harness the opportunities that digital transformation offers.