Fraunhofer annual meeting and presentation of the Fraunhofer research prizes in the organization’s
A success story that has lasted 70 years
Throughout 2019, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is celebrating its 70th anniversary, as are the Federal Republic of Germany and its constitution, the Basic Law. Founded with the goal of rebuilding the local economy, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has a clear focus on new key technologies and markets, and is both Europe’s leading organization for applied research and the German economy’s innovation engine. At Fraunhofer’s annual meeting in its anniversary year, which included presentation of the Fraunhofer research prizes, some 700 guests from the worlds of politics, business and society gathered in Munich to focus on the technologies that will shape the future of German industry, and to honor the stellar achievements of outstanding scientists. Speakers included Germany’s chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, the mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, and the president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Prof. Reimund Neugebauer.
Dieter Reiter, mayor of Munich, stated: “Munich is both the birthplace and the home town of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest organization for applied research. With its new headquarters building on Hansastrasse, Fraunhofer has established a permanent home for itself in the city and, with its institutes and research facilities, its cutting-edge research and high-caliber events, it is enhancing Munich’s status as an international hub for science, research and innovation. That’s why I am delighted that, in Fraunhofer’s anniversary year, the Fraunhofer annual meeting – along with the presentation of the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prizes and the Fraunhofer Human-Centered Technology Prize – is taking place in Munich, further strengthening the close links between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and our city.”
“For 70 years now, Fraunhofer has been a mainstay of Germany’s science community, which is highly respected worldwide. Fraunhofer innovations drive the economy,” explained Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. “By our own understanding, we set the pace and drive technological progress. Our employees are entrepreneurs and visionaries – and the key to our success. After all, Fraunhofer researchers don’t just pose the right questions, they also find answers to them that are sustainable and add value. I am particularly pleased that, in our 70th anniversary year, the high quality of the submissions allows us to award not only the Fraunhofer Human-Centered Technology Prize, but as many as four Joseph von Fraunhofer Prizes.”
Presentation of the Fraunhofer research prizes 2019
This year, the formal presentation of the research prizes was once again the high point of the Fraunhofer annual meeting. Endowed with 50,000 euros, the Human-Centered Technology Prize was awarded for R&D achievements that make a significant contribution to people’s quality of life, enabling them to remain fit and active in their daily lives up to an advanced age. In addition, four Joseph von Fraunhofer Prizes were awarded this year. Also endowed with 50,000 euros each, these prizes have been awarded by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft annually since 1978. They go to Fraunhofer employees whose outstanding, system-relevant achievements have the direct potential to help solve the challenges facing society as a whole and shore up Germany’s future as an economic powerhouse.
As Prof. Neugebauer explained: “Our research prizes honor selected Fraunhofer researchers for their outstanding work – work that clearly mirrors the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s spirit and mission. The excellence of our research demonstrates that we are living up to our mission – and our claim – to be the motor of innovation. Our research helps safeguard and expand Germany’s and Europe’s leading competitive roles internationally – in strategically important areas of research that are acutely relevant to the future development of the German economy and society.”
Further information on the individual prizes can be found here: https://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/newsletterpress/research-news.html
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft – a model for success and a success story
On March 26, 1949, State Secretary Hugo Geiger invited 210 scientists, entrepreneurs and members of society to the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs. He aimed to help revive the economies of Bavaria and Germany by setting up the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. While children played amid the rubble, and the Wirtschaftswunder – Germany’s postwar economic miracle – was yet a distant prospect, the Munich office’s staff of just three people took up the challenge of advancing applied research in Germany. Electing Hermann von Siemens president in the mid-1950s and founding the first of its institutes, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft gradually evolved to become a mainstay of research in Germany. In the mid-1960s, Fraunhofer was officially designated the German science community’s umbrella organization for applied research. In the 1970s, the Fraunhofer model of performance-based funding sparked the dynamic success that shows no signs of slowing. Germany’s reunification presented unexpected opportunities to expand. Moving swiftly and resolutely, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was quicker than other research organizations to seize the day, setting up more than 20 new institutes and facilities in the states that had newly joined the Federal Republic.
Strategic initiatives for Germany’s and Europe’s economies and societies
With 72 institutes and research facilities, more than 26,600 employees, an annual research budget of more than 2.5 billion euros and many international alliances, Fraunhofer is one of the most effective research organizations. Contract research accounts for more than two-thirds of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s budget; funding from federal and state governments for roughly a third. Building on these assets and its clear focus on new technologies and markets, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has become the German economy’s innovation engine. Its inventions range from airbags, white LEDs and dandelion rubber to mp3 technology. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft charted a roadmap for its research activities with the Agenda 2022. One of its key goals is to develop end-to-end solutions to provide the systems Germany needs as a business hub. To make that happen, the organization launched a set of Key Strategic Initiatives (KSIs) centered on seven priority research topics. Fraunhofer pools the expertise of its 72 institutes in these KSIs with the aim of developing comprehensive system solutions for tomorrow’s strategic challenges. All of these topics are of particular relevance to the economies and societies of Germany and Europe. The current topics are cognitive systems, artificial intelligence and data sovereignty, battery cell production, programmable materials, quantum technology, translational medicine, public safety and biological transformation.