The Fraunhofer Society (German: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e. V., "Fraunhofer Society for the Advancement of Applied Research") is a German research organization with 72 institutes spread throughout Germany, each focusing on different fields of applied science (as opposed to the Max Planck Society, which works primarily on basic science). With some 28,000 employees, mainly scientists and engineers and with an annual research budget of about €2.8 billion, it is the biggest organization for applied research and development services in Europe.
Some basic funding for the Fraunhofer Society is provided by the state (the German public, through the federal government together with the states or Länder, "owns" the Fraunhofer Society), but more than 70% of the funding is earned through contract work, either for government-sponsored projects or from the industry.
It is named after Joseph von Fraunhofer who, as a scientist, an engineer, and an entrepreneur, is said to have superbly exemplified the goals of the society.
The organization has seven centers in the United States, under the name "Fraunhofer USA", and three in Asia. In October 2010, Fraunhofer announced that it would open its first research center in South America. Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd was established as a legally independent affiliate along with its Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, in Glasgow, Scotland, in March 2012.