Fraunhofer Lighthouse Projects – Reducing Time to Market

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. By pooling their expertise and involving industrial partners at an early stage, the Fraunhofer Institutes involved in the projects aim to turn original scientific ideas into marketable products as quickly as possible. 

Critical Rare Earths

The purpose of the rare earth metals project is to assure industry's access to these and other critical resources. Rare earth metals are needed for example to produce the powerful magnets employed in wind turbines and electric motors. In the course of the project, solutions will be developed for both the substitution and the recycling of the rare earth metals neodymium and dysprosium.

Electricity as a Raw Material

Ten Fraunhofer Institutes led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT have joined forces to work on the Fraunhofer lead project “electricity as a raw material”. Their aim is to develop and optimize processes that enable low-carbon power to be used to synthesize important base chemicals. 

Go Beyond 4.0

Digital printing and laser technologies are as yet only rarely used for the individualization of products in mass production. However, this combination of approaches would make it possible to create individualized series products in a resource-efficient and cost-saving manner, even down to manufacturing single unique items. Mastering this challenge is the objective of the new Fraunhofer lighthouse project "Go Beyond 4.0".

Theranostic Implants

The Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project »Theranostic Implants« aims to develop active implants that combine therapeutic and diagnostic functions in a single medical device. To this end, Fraunhofer researchers are developing the following three demonstrators: a smart hip-joint prostheses, a sensor implant for monitoring blood circulation and a myoelectric prosthetic hand controller.

Finished Lighthouse Projects


What will the manufacturing industry of tomorrow look like? E³ stands for Efficiency, Emissions reduction, and Ergonomics. The E³ project aims to develop concepts and technologies that support integrated materials-flow and energy management. Equal importance is attached to developing instruments that evaluate energy efficiency and integrate ergonomic aspects into production.


As part of its electromobility systems research project, Fraunhofer developed various prototype components with a view to putting more electric vehicles on the road. 

Cell-Free Bioproduction

Producing proteins without cells in industry suited dimensions – that was the ambitious goal of the Fraunhofer project »Cell-Free Bioproduction«. Scientists and engineers out of eight different Fraunhofer-Institutes worked in this interdisciplinary research project and developed biotechnological processes that can synthesize proteins without using living cells.