Cooperation FAQ

  • Yes, because innovations are the basis of success for our economy as well as for each individual company. Innovations are particularly important in industries where product life cycles are becoming ever shorter due to global competition and rapid technological development. However, ideas alone are not enough, because the experience of professionals is needed if ideas are to become innovations and ultimately market successes.

  • Research on behalf of clients from industry is the most important business area of the Fraunhofer Institutes. The employees' know-how is geared accordingly: They know the framework conditions in the companies - often because they have already worked with or in industry themselves - and know what is important.

    Intensive cooperation with industry leads to constant adaptation of Fraunhofer research to the changing requirements of companies. Important benchmarks: Objectivity, guaranteed confidentiality, continuity in key positions, first-class technical equipment and reliable project management. Efficiently organized cooperation ensures that clients receive the agreed solution on time and can use it in practice. The handling of usage rights and licenses is professionally agreed.

    Other research organizations, most of which are publicly funded, may appear to be more cost-effective at first glance. However, the high level of professionalism in collaboration and the understanding of corporate requirements that has grown over many years of cooperation ultimately speak in favor of Fraunhofer - also from an economic point of view. The high level of customer satisfaction and the economic impact of Fraunhofer projects show that Fraunhofer enjoys an excellent reputation as a partner for companies.

  • Clients usually have a very specific idea of what tasks need to be solved and by when. Under the heading "Contacts" you will find your competent partner. If this person is not immediately available or if the request cannot yet be narrowed down to one person, the CCPE office will be pleased to help you. You will receive advice and a first overview there.

  • Often a company contacts Fraunhofer itself, or contacts are made during discussions at Fraunhofer seminars, events and trade fairs. This is followed by an initial free and non-binding consultation. At this point, the goals or milestones to be achieved in the cooperation can be explored, as well as the time and financial framework. This is followed by contract negotiations, the signing of the contracts and the start of the research and development work.

  • The cooperation with Fraunhofer is freely configurable. The institutes basically focus on the specific needs of the client. A successful collaboration often begins with an entry-level project. If you have a smaller project to work on, Fraunhofer employees will provide you with research and development services just as professionally as the client of a large project.

  • The first consulting phase is free of charge. Only once the scope of the cooperation has been defined and the relevant agreements have been reached will Fraunhofer charge for its research and development (R&D) work. An initial collaborative workshop can be helpful for this purpose.

  • After-sales services are an important factor in customer satisfaction. Clients can receive information from the Fraunhofer Institute geared to their needs after the innovation has been introduced, for example in the form of employee training and continuing education. In the case of large-scale projects, special Fraunhofer spin-offs can also ensure long-term technological support for the company.

  • Clients of a collaboration with Fraunhofer obtain ownership of products, prototypes and other tangible objects developed on its behalf. In addition, they may obtain the necessary rights of use to inventions, industrial property rights and resulting know-how created by Fraunhofer in the process. These rights/licenses shall be available to clients upon conclusion of corresponding agreements on a non-exclusive or exclusive basis for the application purpose underlying the order. The exclusive application-related right of use provides customers with optimum protection against competition. Fraunhofer usually retains the option to further develop and otherwise use its own know-how, inventions and industrial property rights. As a result, every client also benefits from the extensive technological background that Fraunhofer brings to collaborations.

  • Data and knowledge of the commissioning company are always treated as strictly confidential. As a matter of principle, Fraunhofer works in accordance with the need-to-know principle: Only Fraunhofer employees receive knowledge of customer-confidential information which they need to carry out the specific project. If necessary, separate rooms or segregated laboratory areas are set up to maintain confidentiality. In some cases, competitors in an industry deliberately cooperate with Fraunhofer, as this creates an independent, pre-competitive environment in which synergies can be exploited.

  • Fraunhofer only uses the names of clients for its own PR work if the client expressly agrees to this. Otherwise, the project may only be reported on in such a way that the clients themselves are not recognizable.

  • Yes, even more than that. The technical equipment is always state-of-the-art. The close cooperation of Fraunhofer institutes and universities also provides access to the latest findings and fundamental developments in the respective field. Our international activities keep us constantly informed about the "state of the art" of the respective technology. In many areas, Fraunhofer itself is at the forefront of technological development and excellence.

  • Cooperation with companies is the daily business of Fraunhofer's employees. They draw their professional self-image from the fact that their work always aims at application and implementation. Dealing with many different clients ensures that Fraunhofer has extensive experience with the way companies think and work and gains insight into different, even international, corporate cultures. Many Fraunhofer employees have themselves worked in industry. Fraunhofer research is best compared to a company's research department. Here, as well, the work is aimed at the application of the results. And the self-image at Fraunhofer is accordingly: We work for industry; we enable our clients to turn knowledge into money - whenever you need our expertise and technical infrastructures.

  • To a certain extent, Fraunhofer itself - through the Fraunhofer Future Foundation - can allocate money to projects that are relevant to the future. More importantly for clients, however, many collaborative projects in which Fraunhofer plays a leading role are supported by the government or the EU. Concrete opportunities for collaboration in such projects can be explored during a consultation.

  • The principle of confidentiality applies to us in the international field as well as in the national one. We ensure that the advantage of international research activity is always preserved for our clients and for our funders. Working in international teams and dealing with global market requirements in projects abroad is a first-class experience for researchers, and this also benefits all future customers in Germany.