Expenditure and revenue of the Fraunhofer Groups in the contract research segment 2015

Collaboration in groups based on related areas of expertise enables the Fraunhofer Institutes to develop cross-institutional research strategies and to coordinate the procurement and shared use of strategic items of equipment. What is more, the chairs of the groups can bring the influence of the institutes to bear on the overall policy of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. There are six Fraunhofer Groups comprising Fraunhofer Institutes and Research Institutions in the contract research segment, plus the Fraunhofer Group for Defense and Security VVS, in which the institutes funded by the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) have joined forces.

Fraunhofer Group for Materials and Components – MATERIALS

With budgeted expenditure of €491 million in 2015, the Fraunhofer Group for Materials and Components – MATERIALS is the largest group within the Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft in financial terms. It encompasses 14 institutes whose areas of expertise extend from developing new materials, improving the properties of existing materials, materials characterization and evaluating the behavior of materials under different conditions of use, to the development of production processes. An outstanding example is the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI. In 2015, this institute was distinguished with the GreenTec Award, Europe’s largest environmental and business prize, for developing an environmentally friendly foam material based on wood fibers that possesses exceptional mechanical and acoustic properties. The 14 institutes that make up this group generated project revenues of €362 million in 2015. Both budgeted expenditure and project revenues thus remained stable, enabling the group to maintain the proportion of operating expenditure covered by project revenues at the very high level of 83 percent.

Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics

The Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics consists of 11 member institutes that conduct cutting-edge research and develop application-oriented solutions in the fields of semiconductor technology, communications technology, ambient assisted living, energy-efficient systems and e-mobility, lighting systems, safety and security, and entertainment electronics. A noteworthy example of pioneering development work is that of Prof. Dr. Oliver Ambacher, who received the Karl Heinz Beckurts Prize in 2015. In cooperation with industrial partners, the director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF and his team have developed highly efficient electronic components based on the novel semiconductor material gallium nitride (GaN) for use in mobile communication systems. The new GaN technology is an important step toward implementing the 5G mobile communication standard that the European Union plans to introduce in 2020. In 2015, this Fraunhofer Group’s budgeted expenditure increased by 12 percent to €413 million, thus growing at a higher rate than any of the other groups. As in 2014, industrial revenue covered a major part, namely 51 percent, of the group’s operating expenditure.

Fraunhofer ICT Group

The Fraunhofer ICT Group combines the expertise of 17 Fraunhofer Institutes and Research Institutions that offer tailored IT solutions, professional technology consulting and pre-competitive research for new products and services in the business areas of digital media, e-commerce and e-government, information and communication technologies, energy and sustainability, medicine, production, security, financial services, and automotive manufacturing. Examples of the group’s work include the development of imaging techniques for use in medicine and integrated software solutions for applications ranging from the interconnection of different media to the digitalization of historic monuments. In 2015, the group’s budgeted expenditure amounted to €250 million, or slightly more than in the previous year. On the income side, industrial revenue increased substantially by 10 percent to €84 million, which represents 35 percent of the group’s spending equirements.

Fraunhofer Group for Production

The Fraunhofer Group for Production combines the expertise of 7 Fraunhofer Institutes that specialize in the fields of product development, manufacturing technologies and systems, logistics, production processes and production workflow management. Together they offer a range of services encompassing the entire product lifecycle and every link in the supply chain. Focal areas of the group’s research include energy-saving and resource-conserving manufacturing technologies and efficient logistics design. In 2015, the group’s budgeted expenditure increased by 7 percent to €254 million. This growth was supported by a rise of 13 percent in ublicsector revenue, which increased to €93 million and thus covered 40 percent of the group’s funding requirements.

Fraunhofer Group for Life Sciences

The Fraunhofer Group for Life Sciences pools the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s expertise in the biological sciences, bomedicine, pharmacology, toxicology, and food technology. The 7 member institutes of this group give their customers access to innovative know-how in the fields of medical translational research, biomedical engineering, regenerative medicine, healthpromoting foods, biotechnology, and safety issues pertaining to processes, chemicals and pesticides. In 2015, the group’s budgeted expenditure increased by 6 percent to €168 million. Its industrial revenue grew by 18 percent, which is a higher rate than that achieved by any other Fraunhofer Group. Altogether, project revenue from all sources covered 83 percent of the group’s operating expenditure, which is an exceptionally high funding ratio.

Fraunhofer Group for Light & Surfaces

The 6 member institutes of the Fraunhofer Group for Light & Surfaces conduct research into the key enabling technologies of photonics and surface engineering. The group’s core competencies include coating systems and functionalized surfaces, laser-based manufacturing processes, materials processing, optical measuring techniques, and the development of micro-optical and precision-engineered systems. Through this work, the group follows in the footsteps of the organization’s eponym, Joseph von Fraunhofer, who was the first scientist to measure the absorption lines in the solar spectrum, over 200 years ago. In 2015, the group’s budgeted expenditure increased by 6 percent to €155 million. Industrial revenue grew by 12 percent to €61 million, resulting in a project funding ratio of 44 percent and placing the group in second place among the Fraunhofer Groups in this respect.

Fraunhofer Group for Defense and Security

The Fraunhofer Group for Defense and Security VVS brings together the expertise of the 7 defense-related Fraunhofer Institutes and their respective civilian-sector contract research departments. The main focus of its research activities is concentrated on the protection of people, enhancing the security of criticalinfrastructures, pro-active crisis management, and  monitoring risks to the civilian population and armed forces. In Germany, the group has established a strong reputation as a driver of innovation in all areas of defense and security research. The member institutes are also very active at the European level, and make use of their many networking contacts to carry out joint research activities. In 2015, the group’s budgeted expenditure increased by 7 percent to €238 million. This growth is due in equalmeasure to an increase in the volume of defense research contracts and of contract research for civilian applications.