50 years of Fraunhofer ISI

At Fraunhofer ISI, we do research every day for a better future. In this year, however, we are also looking back over the past 50 successful years since the institute was founded in 1972.

On this page, we have collected special moments from this year – and the many prior ones. Browse through our commemorative brochure, find out more about the topics in our research anthology, or explore the Institute’s different activities in our social media campaign.

Ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary

© Fraunhofer ISI/Julia Weller

On Thursday, September 15, 2022, Fraunhofer ISI celebrated its 50th anniversary with a grand ceremony in Karlsruhe. Guests from academia, the economy and politics came together to look back over 50 years of innovation research.

Under the motto “Shaping Future Together”, we wanted to celebrate the past and of course dare to look ahead to the future – as our Institute’s topics are more important now than ever before given the current challenges. 

Prof. Dr. Jakob Edler gave an overview of 50 years of Fraunhofer ISI in his keynote speech, which can be read here in an abridged and slightly modified version. The welcoming address, the keynote speeches and the panel discussion on the topic of "Economy and Society in Transition" are available on YouTube in full length.

Anthology on the occasion of the 50th anniversary

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, the staff members of Fraunhofer ISI are compiling an anthology with topics from five decades.

The publication entitled "Innovation and systems research in transition - 50 years of continuity and change in supporting innovation and transformation policies" is a joint effort across all Competence Centers and will soon be published by Springer Verlag (Heidelberg).

On our website we have compiled a preview of the contributions included.

Campaign #50years50weeks

From January to December 2022, we will present current and past research projects, activities and personalities from 50 years of Fraunhofer ISI in 50 social media postings.



Today our anniversary campaign #50Years50Weeks comes to an end with this post. The team behind the posts wishes Fraunhofer ISI all the best again and says goodbye until next year!



The business unit Energy Policy is concerned with designing and evaluating energy policy strategies and instruments, monitoring energy policy targets and the impacts of energy policy instruments on growth and employment as well as the competitiveness and innovative strength of the economy.



Our business unit Demand Response and Smart Grids, led by Marian Klobasa, evaluates new technologies and business models for the integration of carbon neutral technologies holistically with a systemic approach.



Our business unit Futures and Society analyses and evaluates trends and signals of change in society, economy, politics, technology and environments. Currently, the business unit supports the European Environmental Agency in the identification of Emerging Issues.



The climate targets in the transport sector cannot be achieved without an expansion of e-mobility. In today's video, Dr. Till Gnann gives an insight into the research in the cross-cutting topic of electric mobility.



Our business unit Innovation Trends and Science Studies deals, among other things, with current issues relating to technological sovereignty in the context of international cooperation. Today's video explains what this means exactly.



Our business unit Information and Communication Technologies analyzes digital innovations and media, among other things. Most recently, the increasing collection of biometric data was investigated for the Foundation for Technology Assessment - more on this in today's video.



To mark our 50th anniversary, we have published a commemorative publication full of history and foresight. It contains perspectives from staff and friends from research, business, politics and civil society.



The business unit Water Resources Management, led by Thomas Hillenbrand, analyzes current developments, examines and evaluates the application potentials of technical and organizational innovations, and derives measures to improve sustainability in the water sector.



How can an energy transition work for emerging and developing countries? The business unit Global Sustainable Energy Transitions, headed by Inga Boie, supports the planning and implementation of sustainable energy and development strategies in emerging and developing countries.



How does Artificial Intelligence become trustworthy in the field of health? On 5 October, a symposium took place at the ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe in the context of our 50th anniversary. Take a look back in today's post.



The business unit Industrial Technologies investigates technologies such as nanotechnology, battery research and more. We analyse future battery cell production capacities in Germany and Europe for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research - more in the video.



Our business unit Renewable Energies examines policy measures in electricity generation. The AURES project is about auctions for the promotion of renewables - find out more in the video.



A week ago, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of Fraunhofer ISI with a big ceremony at the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. For #50years50weeks, we take a look back at our highlight this year in today's video - with many great impressions!



The time has finally come: Fraunhofer ISI is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a big ceremony in Karlsruhe. Follow our event live on our Twitter channel!



In today's video, our colleagues talk about the Joint Innovation Hub. The JIH looks at and analyses innovation developments from the perspective of organizations and companies in order to subsequently support them in the implementation of innovation processes.



The business unit Demand Analyses and Projections focuses on the transformation of the industry and heating sectors. The business unit develops simulation models to be used in system analysis studies to calculate transformation paths towards CO2 neutrality.



Over the last 50 years, our scientists have published their research findings in various publications. But how many of them have exactly been published since 1972?  You can find out the exact number in the video!



The business unit Mobility conducts research on the systemic and economic aspects of passenger and freight transport. Research topics include among others the economic, social and environmental effects of transport policy strategies, sustainability assessments or innovative business models.



Our business unit Regional Innovation Dynamics and Knowledge Exchange, led by Thomas Stahlecker, explores the structures, processes and dynamics of regional innovation from a systemic perspective. An essential aspect here is how institutionalized technology and knowledge transfer functions.



At Fraunhofer ISI, we not only conduct research on renewable energies, but we have also been actively generating renewable electricity ourselves for years: In November 1995, the "Förderverein Solartechnik am ISI e.V. ('ISI-Power')" was founded.



In today's post, we take a look back at our event on 19 and 20 July: Representatives from municipalities and science discussed possibilities to take action together to adapt to the climate crisis.



Time to reconnect: For our Open House in Karlsruhe, many colleagues, alumni, friends and family came together for a big celebration. We enjoyed inspiring speeches on the role of our institute as well as insights on how the work at ISI has developed since our foundation in 1972.



Today we look back at our first anniversary event this year: the symposium in Berlin on "Innovation and Systems Change". The panel discussion is now available to watch online.



The business unit Foresight for Strategy Development, led by Dr. Ewa Dönitz, supports clients from business, policy and regions in the development of long-term overall, thematic or divisional strategies.



Our business unit Competitiveness and Innovation Measurement  analyses innovation systems and examines the technological performance of sectors, countries and markets.



Our Business Unit Societal Change and Innovation led by Dr Susanne Bührer analyses the patterns of relationships between society, economy, science and policy and the impacts these have on research and innovation processes.



How do municipalities have to change in order to deal with challenges such as the energy transition, climate change or the mobility transition? These questions are being researched in our cross-cutting topic "Transformation and Innovation Systems for urban areas".



A safe and environmentally compatible energy supply needs sustainable supply systems. In the Business Unit Energy Economy headed by Patrick Plötz, market analyses for technologies and services are conducted.



"I would like to know what your innovation research institute looks like from inside“. A good question that one of our followers recently asked us in the context of #50Years50Weeks. The answer is provided in the photo, combined with a short journey back in time!



In our business unit headed by Dr Sven Wydra, current developments and their effects due to the bioeconomy and the life sciences are examined - for example in the areas of medicine, agriculture, industrial production or environmental protection technologies.



Our business unit Electricity Markets and Infrastructures analyses how energy can be provided in a greenhouse gas-neutral way in the future and uses energy supply models such as the Enertile model family for this purpose.



Frieder Meyer-Krahmer (in the middle) led the institute together with Eberhard Jochem and Hariolf Grupp (right) from 1990 until 2005. In today's post we explain why the institute's name changed during that time.



Raw materials are necessary for satisfying the needs of modern societies – which is why our business unit Raw Materials, headed by Dr. Luis A. Tercero Espinoza, examines raw material flows and future raw material demand in the context of current megatrends.



Sustainability is not only an important research topic for us, but also a guiding principle in everyday life – and is also relevant for the employees of Fraunhofer ISI, for example, when commuting to work.



The business unit Actors and Social Acceptance in the Transformation of the Energy System analyses the attitudes and needs as well as the decisions and actions of political, economic and social actors in the transformation of the energy system.



What is the environmental performance of electric cars? Where does Germany stand in terms of digitization? What are the challenges of importing hydrogen? Our Policy Briefs provide answers to these and many other questions.



Research and innovation are important for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. What innovation policy must do to implement them is what the Business Unit Policy for Innovation and Transformation led by Stephanie Daimer explores.



Today we celebrate 50 years of ISI! To mark this special occasion, we asked our Executive Director Prof. Dr Jakob Edler three questions about the Fraunhofer ISI.



Today we celebrate 50 years of ISI! To mark this special occasion, we asked our Institute Director, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Marion A. Weissenberger-Eibl, three questions about the Fraunhofer ISI.



Renting clothes instead of buying them: a promising model for the future? These kinds of questions are researched in the Business Unit Sustainability Innovation and Policy presented by Head Sabine Langkau.



He laid the foundation 50 years ago: Helmar Krupp was the founding director of the Fraunhofer ISI, which he directed from 1972 to 1989. He is considered one of the inventors of the modern Fraunhofer model and is the author of the »ISI Foundation Study«.



The Business Unit Industrial Change and New Business Models researches innovation and competitive strategies of manufacturing companies. A current study researched the effects of the pandemic on the industry.



Instead of a contribution to #50Years50Weeks, we would like to express our shock and bewilderment today in the face of the attack on Ukraine, which is contrary to international law.



With her team, Tanja Bratan investigates innovations in the health system – individual products as well as complex transformation processes. The DESIREE project, for example, explores how AI-based systems are changing the healthcare system.



In the business unit Future Dialogues we design processes for developing alternative futures. Our video explains how a future dialogue works online and how we reach new people with it.



Fraunhofer IOSB took us in at the institute building in the Waldstadt district of Karlsruhe in 1972. Today, some of our staff work in the Technology Park. A video presentation shows some of the new premises.



Our business unit »Regulation and Innovation« analyzes regulatory framework conditions and their effects on innovation. 



How does AI contribute to the energy transition and how well is Germany positioned in terms of research? We address these and other questions in the cross-cutting topic »Artificial Intelligence«.



This year we are celebrating 50 years of Fraunhofer ISI – but today above all the 80th birthday of Prof. Dr. Eberhard Jochem! Since 1973 he has been inseparably linked with the institute.



»50 years of ISI - shaping | future | together« – this is our anniversary motto, which our colleague Aline Scherrer came up with. Here she explains what the motto expresses. 



In 2022 we will celebrate 50 years of Fraunhofer ISI! Under the hashtag #50Years50Weeks we publish a new post every week with information from 50 years of Fraunhofer ISI!