The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the world’s leading applied research organisation. With its focus on developing key technologies that are vital for the future and enabling the commercial exploitation of this work by business and industry, Fraunhofer plays a central role in the innovation process.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is a recognized non-profit organisation that takes its name from Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826), the illustrious Munich researcher, inventor and entrepreneur.
One of its most famous inventions is MP3, which was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. MP3 is the most widely used method for encoding and decoding digital audio data.
A total of 74 institutes and research institutions work together under the umbrella of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Fraunhofer Institutes work for clients in business as well as for the Federal Government and the German states (Länder). They aim to make research findings usable in products and applications. For that purpose, Fraunhofer Institutes can draw on the expertise of international teams of experienced developers and creative minds, as well as on their own research departments.
Facts and figures
74 Fraunhofer Institutes and research units
Affiliated international research centres and representative offices
Roughly 28,000 employees, the majority being qualified scientists and engineers
Annual budget: 2.8 billion euros (2019)
623 patent applications (2019)
Forming the core focus of Fraunhofer’s research portfolio, the seven Fraunhofer Strategic Research Fields aim to address needs and markets that will shape the future:
- Digital Healthcare
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Next Generation Computing
- Quantum Technologies
- Resource Efficiency and Climate Technologies
- Hydrogen Technologies
Within these fields, the pre-competitive research specifically targets projects that have high commercial potential, thereby enhancing the impact on society and across multiple sectors.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is engaged in a number of international activities, mainly in Europe, North and South America, Asia and the MENA region.
In addition, Fraunhofer participates in international networks and organisations such as the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), the Global Research Alliance (GRA) and the World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO).
The annual budget amounts to 2.6 billion euros (2018). The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is primarily funded through contract research. Although over two thirds of its assignments come from industrial and service-sector companies, it also realises publicly funded research projects. Basic funding is provided by the Federal Government and the Länder.