Stronger integration of standardization and research

DIN and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft sign a cooperation agreement

Prof. Alexander Kurz, Executive Board Member and Vice President for Innovation, Transfer and IP Management at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Christoph Winterhalter, DIN Executive Board Chairman, sign the cooperation agreement.
© Christian Kruppa

The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are further expanding their cooperation as regards standardization as a transfer instrument for future technologies. The two organizations have concluded a cooperation agreement to this end: Christoph Winterhalter, DIN Executive Board Chairman, and Prof. Dr. Alexander Kurz, Member of the Executive Board of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Vice President Innovation, Transfer and IP Management, and member of the DIN Presidial Board, signed the document on May 11, 2022, on the occasion of a meeting of the "DINalog" discussion series with members of the German Bundestag in Berlin.

With this cooperation, Fraunhofer and DIN are also addressing the EU Standardization Strategy, which was published at the beginning of February 2022. The strategy aims to strengthen the EU's global competitiveness, facilitate the shift toward a resilient, green and digital economy, and embed democratic values in technology applications. The close networking of research and standardization – as agreed in the cooperation between DIN and Fraunhofer – is a critical success factor for achieving these objectives.

Standards strengthen the competitiveness of the EU

Standards and specifications are indispensable tools, according to the EU Commission. They help manufacturers ensure the interoperability of products and services, reduce costs, improve safety and transform innovations into marketable products. They also support the transfer of knowledge from research results to industry and society.

The EU Commission's strategy provides for a whole package of measures. One of these measures focuses on the promotion of innovation, with the aim of linking research and innovation even more closely with the processes of standardization. The cooperation between DIN and Fraunhofer is making a significant contribution in this regard: The two organizations will cooperate closely, particularly in the cutting-edge research fields of bioeconomy, artificial intelligence, next generation computing, quantum technology, resource efficiency, hydrogen technologies, smart farming, building information modeling (BIM) and other innovative topics.

The partners also want to provide impetus for special training and continuing education programs in the natural sciences and engineering. These are intended to promote understanding of the importance of standardization and bolster the development of corresponding competencies.

Further boosting cooperation

Fraunhofer and DIN are already able to look back on successful joint projects: Together with the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and other research partners, for example, the "Certified AI" project was established. It aims to ensure technical reliability and responsible handling of this technology.

Both cooperation partners are convinced of the benefits of the more in-depth collaboration. "With our agreement, we are setting an important precedent in terms of the EU Standardization Strategy. In doing so, we can optimally build upon our already strong cooperation and successful projects," emphasized Christoph Winterhalter. As Prof. Alexander Kurz, Executive Board Member and Vice President for Innovation, Transfer and IP Management at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft explained: "The ever-increasing number of new products, services and technologies also increases the importance of standards and specifications, which are central elements in the development of marketable innovations. The early inclusion of standardization processes in the development of innovative technologies is thus an important prerequisite for a stable and, above all, rapid means of transfer – especially for German and European companies to introduce and establish their solutions on the market quickly, broadly and cost-effectively. With the intensified cooperation between the German Institute for Standardization and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, we are providing an important impetus for the technological and digital sovereignty of Germany and Europe. Particularly in view of the enormous challenges posed by the energy transition and current crises, this cooperation sends a powerful signal here for technological excellence and reliability."

As far as public policy is concerned, the cooperation partners recommend keeping an eye on the importance of standardization for combating climate change and its consequences, as well as for the digital and green transformation of the economy, and to always consider standardization in strategies for innovative technologies.


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