Impact of Fraunhofer Research

Applied research at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft powers the innovative capability of companies and promotes Germany’s status as a place for doing business. Various studies show that the different contributions made by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft demonstrably increase the business success of cooperating companies and help to strengthen Germany’s standing as a preferred business location that fosters innovation. Quantifiable contributions have an impact on various areas, such as:


Contribution 1:
Fraunhofer innovations measurably strengthen the German economy’s competitiveness and the performance of the German innovation system

With the application of theoretical technology cycles to real technology developments Fraunhofer demonstrates its ability to guide technologies through phases of “sobering” and re-orientation (valley of death) with its continuous research efforts. For technology such as laser technology in production processes, material sciences, and renewable energy, Fraunhofer has significantly contributed to the international competitiveness of German industry as well as to Germany’s reputation as an innovative business location.
(Source: Contribution to the German Innovation System – Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft pg. 11 ff.)


Contribution 2:
Companies that collaborate with Fraunhofer are more innovative and successful 

Compared to companies that do not cooperate with Fraunhofer, the companies that do are more likely to launch new products with a probability that is 10.2 percentage points higher. In the case of completely new product categories, this effect is even more pronounced at 13.2%.
(Source: Contribution to the German Innovation System – Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, pg. 47 ff.)

More than 80% of the 215 SME customers surveyed would collaborate with Fraunhofer again and recommend Fraunhofer to others.
(Source: The Significance of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s for the German SMEs with which it cooperates, pg. 59 ff)


Contribution 3:
Fraunhofer boosts the financial success of companies

A one percent increase in expenses for projects with Fraunhofer leads to an increase in sales growth of 1.3 percentage points and an increase in productivity growth of 0.8 percentage points. Extrapolated to the German economy, this means that doubling the Fraunhofer industrial budget would increase the productivity of the German economy by 0.55%.(
Source: Do Companies Benefit from Public Research Organizations? The Impact of Fraunhofer, pg. 18 ff.)

In addition to conducting contracted research for industry, Fraunhofer institutes also collaborate with companies in consortium research projects. After completion of joint research projects, many companies opt to continue working with Fraunhofer. Fraunhofer receives an average of three follow-up contracts within five years from companies with which it has collaborated in consortium research projects.
(Source: Contribution to the German Innovation System – Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, pg. 47 ff.)


Contribution 4:
Investments in applied research at Fraunhofer have positive effects on Germany’s economic strength and increase tax revenues on the national, state, and municipal level

The monetary effects on gross domestic product linked to Fraunhofer exceed Fraunhofer’s project revenues 18-fold. This means that for every euro of public funding spent on the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the nation, individual states and municipalities receive four euros back in the form of higher tax revenues.
(Source: Contribution to the German Innovation System – Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, pg. 47 ff.)

Applying other means of modeling approaches, the macroeconomic results of the study “Contribution to the German Innovation System – Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft”  are significant and high. The results should not be interpreted as precise point estimates though: Different modeling assumptions certainly have an influence on the outcome level.  

Studies at a glance

A microeconomic perspective on the impact of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Rainer Frietsch, Peter Neuhäusler, Angela Jäger, Torben Schubert | Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI
January 2022

The macroeconomic effects of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Torben Schubert, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI


The macroeconomic impact of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
A CGE approach, using micro-evidence

Fraser of Allander Institute
University of Strathclyde Business School, UK, 2020

Do companies benefit from public research organizations?
The impact of Fraunhofer


Dartmouth College, Hanover (United States), Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim (Germany), Lund University, Lund (Sweden), 2017


Contribution to the German Innovation System – Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft 

Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, 2016


Significance of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s for the German SMEs


Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW, 2016