Industrial competitiveness

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Analyzing industrial innovations and innovation processes has been part of Fraunhofer ISI’s research portfolio for many years now. The projects conducted are based on a broad research approach that explores and links the supply and demand side of innovations from the perspective of industry and the affiliated service sector. We look at the level of individual workplaces as well as macroeconomic effects. Specific solutions and recommendations for how to develop industry in a competitive and sustainable way are elaborated together with decision makers from politics and industry.

Industry Survey / Company survey

The thematic field of industry uses ISI’s German Manufacturing Survey or its European variant, the European Manufacturing Survey EMS for its research.

The analyses are used to improve the scientific knowledge, to evaluate technology policy or economic policy measures, to inform associations and trade unions as well as to advise companies in terms of benchmarking. Selected results are prepared in topic-specific brochures and made available to the participating firms and the interested public.

Projects and Publications

A company’s competitiveness is determined by both technical and non-technical innovations. Besides the specific innovation mix, the current developments in certain fields of industry and production are primarily relevant for the value added of the individual company. Together with the companies, Fraunhofer ISI develops design options to combine the innovation fields of “process innovations”, organizational innovations”, “technologies and materials” as well as “services and business models” to form a sustainable value added strategy. The focus here is on questions concerning a company’s innovation management strategy in industrial value chains.


Industrial processes are influenced and can be radically changed by current economic, social or technology trends. In its research projects, Fraunhofer ISI therefore examines to what extent markets, value chains or sectors will alter in the future as the result of these trends. Strategies are developed together with companies, associations or interested parties such as chambers of commerce and industry to safeguard and strengthen the future competitiveness of different industries.


Industry and the economy as a whole are subject to processes of structural change at regular intervals. Fraunhofer ISI takes an empirical approach to dealing with structural shifts due to industrial change and looks in particular at how technical and non-technical innovations can support and strengthen industrial competitiveness. The perspective taken focuses on the role of industry in the innovation system and is mainly geared towards stakeholders from innovation and industrial policy.


Industry and industrial service providers are the basic actors developing and applying innovative technologies that involve completely novel potentials for value added. Within this field of research, growth opportunities are analyzed for different technology fields like robotics, 3D printing, industrial biotechnology or innovative materials as are their application potentials for future markets. A particular focus here is on the digital transformation and the increasing links between the industrial and the digital economy.



Industry is one of the biggest consumers of energy and resources. Sustainability innovations and improving the energy and material efficiency of production are of critical importance given the increasing global shortage of natural resources and the goal of lowering CO₂ emissions. On behalf of policy makers, industrial and social stakeholders, Fraunhofer ISI therefore researches what contribution technical and non-technical innovations can make to a sustainable industry and how to design transformation pathways leading to a green economy. The question of how energy saving and resource efficiency can positively influence the global competitiveness of companies also plays an important role.


Developments in technology and society are closely intertwined with industry and have repercussions on it. Therefore, both companies and policy makers have to deal with future industrial trends at an early stage and make the right strategic decisions in good time in order to be able to meet future needs. Fraunhofer ISI supports decision makers with its research activities and helps them to develop visions and strategies that safeguard the future viability of companies and the economy as a whole when facing disruptive trends.