Fraunhofer USA History

In 1994, in order to meet the challenges of globalization of business and science, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft took steps to strengthen its international presence.

Fraunhofer USA was incorporated in Rhode Island as a non-profit 501 (C) 3 in September of that year.

Fraunhofer USA, with the support of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institutes of Production Technology and Laser Technology, started the operations in Massachusetts and Michigan that formed the early foundations of the organization.

The following years brought the growth and changes resulting in the expansion of Fraunhofer USA into its current business locations in Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut, in addition to the long standing Massachusetts and Michigan locations.

Fraunhofer USA Centers today cover a wide variety of research subject and are continuously broadening the scope of research fields to meet ever changing demand.

The organization has formed mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations with excellent academic institutions such as the University of Maryland, Boston University, Michigan State University and the University of Delaware.

As Fraunhofer USA has been in operation for over a quarter century, it can not only draw on those years of experience here in the US, but also on over 70 Years of expertise from the key coopertion partner, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. With this pool of expertise, the name “Fraunhofer” is synonymous with all current topics of applied research, such as Industry 4.0 and Cyber-Physical Systems.

History of Fraunhofer

Portrait of Joseph von Fraunhofer
© Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
Portrait of Joseph von Fraunhofer

As it stands today, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has attained a size and influence that makes it an undisputedly vital element in Germany’s industrial and scientific landscape. But the early years were far from easy. The research organization was founded in 1949, in the same year as the Federal Republic of Germany, and started out as a small office with just three employees. The original purpose of the non-profit organization was to distribute grants and donations for research of direct relevance to industry. The impressive march of progress as seen and experienced by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is documented in the Chronicle.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft owes its name to Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826), the successful Munich researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. The story of his life and works clearly indicates why he was chosen as the role model for our organization.

Born of a family of modest means, Joseph von Fraunhofer was a glass-grinding apprentice when discovered by the privy counsellor Joseph von Utzschneider. He took up employ in the latter’s Optical Institute and, at the age of 22, became the director of glass manufacturing. He was responsible for the development of new methods of glass production and processing