Fraunhofer: A unique ecosystem that accelerates research from lab to market
It is 10 years since I began the journey with Fraunhofer in India, and 5 years since we inaugurated our Indian office in Bangalore, housing an experience theatre which showcases some of our technologies, as well as the Fraunhofer Innovation and Technology Academy which brings Fraunhofer experts from various Institutes to connect with our clients and partners. While we have been active in India for several years, this augmentation of our visibility has indeed resulted in highlighting our competencies and unique positioning across industry, academia and government.
Very often I am asked this question: How does Fraunhofer achieve its present positioning: 69 Institutes, nearly 20 research centres, 25000 employees and an annual Budget of 2 Billion Euros? The answer lies in the unique ecosystem which has evolved over 60 years, that is much admired globally but difficult to replicate elsewhere in the world. Mr Barack Obama underscored his admiration for Fraunhofer, when he announced a 2 Billion Dollars funding to set up a Centre of Excellence for Manufacturing in USA 2 years ago, on the lines of Fraunhofer. Several countries like France, China, Korea and England often discourse with Fraunhofer to understand the structure and functioning of our organisation. Back home in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mentioned Fraunhofer’s excellent model for Industry-academia cooperation during the advisory meet of the Council for Science and Industrial research. Mr Pallam Raju, Union Minister for Human Resource Development invited Fraunhofer to present its model to a group of eminent researchers, industry captains and distinguished academics. And the list goes on…
Fraunhofer has achieved this status due to its clear strategy of staying true to demand driven applied research, ensuring growth through partnership with its stakeholders and single-minded focus on sustainable operations. Every Fraunhofer Institute links closely to the Universities and academic centres of its location through the Head of the Institute who is also a Professor. A strong pipeline of students who do their Doc and post Doc studies at the University and their research at Fraunhofer enable the strengthening of this link. Finally, through its services to the Industry, Fraunhofer completes the seamless engagement of Industry and academia cooperation, thereby accelerating research from the Lab to the market. The fact that each Institute has to generate at least 50% of its Budget through client-financed projects ensures that Fraunhofer stays focussed on applied research. The funding from the Government to the tune of nearly 30% of its Budget makes it possible for Fraunhofer to undertake basic research and thus stay ahead of the technology curve. Annually Fraunhofer conducts nearly 7500 projects thus constantly pushing the envelope and working not just with the large companies but more so with the SMEs that are the real drivers of innovation. When the world went through an economic crisis in 2009- 2010, Germany was one of the first countries to bounce back. Fraunhofer was lauded as the “real stimulus package” for the German Industry as it focussed on resource efficient production and innovation to support the German Industry become profitable in a short span. We coordinate nearly 23 Innovation clusters in Germany that bring together multiple stakeholders in a particular technology focus, and help them fast track innovation.
While our international footprint is growing steadily, our growth in India is equally exciting, as we move into a more strategic and long term partnership with our clients and partners. Increasingly, we are entering into long term R&D cooperation, where we not only work with Industry on New Product Development but also with the Government on augmenting the research capability and delivery in India. Our India Website illustrates our cooperation with the stakeholders from R&D in India. Also on showcase are the path-breaking technologies developed by our various institutes.
We will make every effort to keep this website updated and constantly bring new technologies, new initiative and even more exciting events to you.
We look forward to your feedback and contact,
Head, Fraunhofer Representative Office, India