FAQ

10 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS TO FRAUNHOFER ITALIA

1. How can we work together with Fraunhofer?

Fraunhofer undertakes contract research for companies of all sizes, institutions and public clients. A cooperation with us can take place in many ways: From participating in one of our seminars via assigning us a complex task (for example the development and implementation of mechatronics sensor systems and interlinked actuators) through to a partnership in an international research consortiums.  Moreover, we are specialised in undertaking suitable studies for every concern, no matter if you just need basic information or if you want to have profound solutions for complex problems: We are experienced not only in choosing the best methodology but also in the practical implementation of the resulting solutions.

2. What are the advantages of a cooperation with Fraunhofer?

Our company is always up to date with the current state of science and technology, since all our employees received highly respected university degrees and acquired a lot of practical experience in various industrial companies.As we are collaborating with the top management team as well as with the skilled workers, we can guarantee that all our innovative solutions can be realised without any problems.

 

3. What are the differences between private and  public research projects?

If a private company assigns a research study directly to the Fraunhofer Innovation Engineering Center, we are normally able to start the project soon. In this case, the collaboration takes place in mutual confidence and the principal gets the exclusive rights of use finally.

In contrast to this, it is necessary to find an appropriate call for public research projects, then we have to create an adequate proposal, which meets all the special requirements (for example of the EU or the province Bozen) and our proposal must be accepted. Consequently, it can takes several months until the project will start. However, it is common that the public sponsor absorbs between 30 and 100 percent of the chargeable costs. Furthermore, public research projects contain often a higher uncertainty degree regarding the achievable results and the obtained results have to be publicized regularly. Moreover is normal that many companies are involved in the same public project simultaneously. After finishing the project all these companies can profit from the resulting usage rights.

4. Why should I choose Fraunhofer as a partner?

Research on behalf of the client is the primary business activity of Fraunhofer IEC. Consequently, all our employees are qualified to fulfil even the most challenging research assignments. Each member off our staff knows exactly the environment of the companies, speaks their language and has long-lasting experience in the treatment of projects and in the creation of innovative approaches, so we are finally able to implement the solutions within the firms successfully.  The intensive cooperation with the industry makes sure that our solutions are fitted to the fast growing business challenges.

All collaborations between Fraunhofer IEC and our clients are based on the following principles: Confidentiality, established expertise in various technologies and research methods, professional management of the project and continuous advancement all practices. Our practice-oriented solutions are innovative and economically success promising.

 

5. What is the minimum size of an assignment?

The cooperation with Fraunhofer can be tailored exactly to the customer´s particular requirements. We carry out small projects with the same aspiration in terms of research performance, consultancy services and course of instructions like major projects. In order to be able to solve highly complex and challenging tasks we collaborate with other research centres and Fraunhofer institutions. In this way, we are able to bring together and pool the relevant knowledge to meet even the highest customer needs.    

6. How does Fraunhofer calculate the projects?

The Fraunhofer IEC is a common-benefit instution, which means that it is not profit-oriented. The salary of our employees is determined through the collective agreement for trade and services and all our expenses are subjected to the strict regulations of the public sector. All our projects are calculated on basis of the net costs with the aim to have a balanced budget at the end of every year.

7. Fraunhofer is a reach institution- What does Fraunhofer know about the problems of the economy?

Working together with firms is our “daily bread”.  Due to the previous collaborations, our employees are familiar with different forms of corporate cultures and therefore they are able to put themselves in the way of thinking of our principals and can understand the work processes quickly. Thus, the various collaborations with different principals ensures that each member of our staff exactly knows the real problems of the firms. The final aim of our work is to pass our knowledge to our clients to develop practical applications. Based on this strategy, we derive our central principle:

The Fraunhofer IEC is working to support the economy: We want to help our clients with transforming knowledge into money by combining up-to-date research results with practical experience.   

8. Does Fraunhofer only collaborate with large companies?

No, our clientele includes companies of all sizes. In this context, it is important to note that we adopted our service range to the business structure of South Tyrol. This means that we are focused on the special needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

This adaption pervades the entire Fraunhofer IEC service range from developments tasks via research services through to the consulting in organizational, technical or strategic questions. 

9. Are there connections between Fraunhofer and Universities?

The Fraunhofer IEC is connected closely to the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano.  The Collaboration is grounded on a win-win-situation, cooperation agreement and personal links. For example, the chief of our Institute, Prof.Dr.-Ing Dominik Matt is simultaneously professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Bolzano.

On the one hand, Fraunhofer makes results of the university research suitable for application and implements the approaches in local enterprises.  On the other hand the University receives suggestions and existing problems and is doing own research activities to find solutions. Moreover, the University formulates exact requirements for the basic research methods and an appropriate teaching.  

These exchanges processes complete the cycle consisting of University, Fraunhofer and the Industry. The aim of this cycle is to transform money into knowledge and to retransform the resulting knowledge into money.

10. The Fraunhofer IEC is part of the Fraunhofer Corporation. How can Fraunhofer IEC guarantee that the no subsidies are used for projects outside Italy?

Our institute has the legal status of a non-profit oriented consortium with limited liability. The Consortium partners is the business association of South Tyrol (Unternehmerverband Südtirol), which is also non-profit oriented. As the majority shareholder, the Fraunhofer Corporation holds 99 Percent of our shares, while the business association of South Tyrol possesses the remaining one percent. All budget resources of Fraunhofer Italia more precisely the Fraunhofer IEC are used exclusively for the research infrastructure of Italy respectively South Tyrol and the payment of our employees. The beneficiaries of our operations are the industrial companies, the corporation and the region, since we foster the spreading of knowhow and provide attractive places to work.

In analogy to our German parent corporation, a significant proportion of our budget comes from public resources. In our case, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano provides about one third of our budget. This amount of money is used to do preparatory research to prospective projects.