The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) in Karlsruhe, Germany, has the main goal to analyse the scientific, social and political origins and market potentials of innovative technological developments and their impacts on economy, state and society.

To this end, the institute applies interdisciplinary analytical, evaluation and foresight methods, such as innovation indicators, Delphi surveys, in-depth interviews, scenarios and system modelling.

The Institute’s interdisciplinary research teams focus mainly on emerging technologies, industrial and service innovations, energy policy and renewable energy sources as well as the dynamics of regional markets and innovation policy.

The Institute’s interdisciplinary research is formalized into the activities of different competence centres:

  • The Competence Centre Policy and Regions researches the interrelationships between global scientific and technological dynamics, industrial innovation strategies and regional and national development trajectories and investigates the shaping options open to policy-makers.
  • The Competence Centre Regulation and Standardization.
  • The Competence Centre Innovation and Technology Management and Foresight is focusing on a broad and integrated approach to research innovative solutions and to assess the impact of emerging technologies. The Centre has the main goal to foster and support an information and knowledge transfer between science, economy, and society.
  • The Competence Centre Industry and Service Innovations analyses, on behalf of enterprises, associations and policy administrations, which technical and organisational innovations offer high growth potentials at international level.
  • The Competence Centre Emerging Technologies examines the emergence, diffusion and application of new technologies, biotechnology, I&C technologies, nanotechnology, neuro-technologies and their potential applications in social and industrial fields.
  • The Competence Centre Energy Policy and Energy Systems contributes towards handling energy in a sustainable fashion.
  • The Competence Centre Sustainability and Infrastructure Systems supports administration, policy-makers, associations and enterprises with scientific studies and analyses.

The Institute has a permanent staff of 140. Of the approx. 90 scientists, one third are natural scientists and engineers. About two thirds of the researchers are economists and social scientists. They carry out about 250 research and consultancy projects per year.

Through close cooperation with universities and other research institutions both within and outside the Fraunhofer, the institute has ready access to additional manpower, expertise and experience if required.

The budget of Fraunhofer ISI amounts to € 12 m p.a. ISI‘s most important client is the public sector, in particular several German federal Ministries and Ministries of the federal states with more than 50 per cent of the total budget. In addition, with a share of about 23 per cent, numerous projects and research experiences are carried out for the European Commission. Further clients are industrial enterprises and industrial associations with a share of ca. 14 per cent. Approx. 7 per cent of the budget stems from research promotion (DFG and others).

Moreover, since it was founded, the Fraunhofer-ISI has been closely collaborating with European and overseas partners.