Background: Boston From Across The Charles River

About Us

Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation

About Us Visual - 60 Years of Fraunhofer, Image Spread
© 2009 Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

As part of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe's largest R&D organization, the Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) provides engineering and R&D services to local and international companies. Established in 1994, CMI was Fraunhofer's first trans-Atlantic expansion aimed at addressing the R&D needs of an increasingly global economy.

In collaboration with Boston University, CMI conducts advanced research and development leading to engineering solutions for a broad range of industries, including biotechnology / biomedical, photonics, manufacturing and renewable energy. Engineers, scientists, faculty and students at the Center scale up basic research into advanced technologies that provide a competitive advantage to our client companies. The primary focus is on the development of high precision automation systems, medical devices and instruments along with the associated biological assays, and other electromechanical systems.

Working closely with our sister Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology in Aachen, Germany, we offer our customers product development assistance, advanced R&D assistance, turnkey automation solutions, and biological assays development for rapid point-of-care diagnostics. Our unique ability to access a global research base and our vast experience give our clients an unparalleled advantage.



The Fraunhofer Society is originally named after the esteemed Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826)—a German researcher, inventor, and entrepreneur. The story of his life clearly shows why he serves as the role model for our company.

Joseph von Fraunhofer

Black and white portrait of Joseph von Fraunhofer

As a youth, Joseph von Fraunhofer worked as a glassmaking apprentice. His potential remained undeveloped until a fateful accident brought him to the attention of entrepreneur Joseph von Utzschneider. Under his tutelage, Fraunhofer studied the craft of lens grinding and worked as an optician in his workshop. Because of his skill and determination, Fraunhofer was quickly promoted to director of the Optical Institute in Benedicktbeuern. His efforts there led to improved methods of glass production. Fraunhofer also designed several optical devices that helped him conduct pioneering scientific research. Two spectral phenomena, Fraunhofer lines and Fraunhofer diffraction, were posthumously named in his honor. His invaluable contributions to science and industry earned him lasting worldwide recognition.

Joseph von Fraunhofer dedicated his life to performing research with practical utility. By adopting his name, our organization aspires to achieve the same principle.


In 1949, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. started as a non-profit organization in Munich, Germany with only three employees. Like its namesake, the Society focused on the commercialization of scientific discoveries. From these modest beginnings, Fraunhofer grew into one of the world's largest applied research organizations with thousands of clients and more than 18,000 employees in offices across Europe, Asia, and North America. Today, the company strives to bridge the gap between research and industry by addressing health, security, communication, energy, and environmental issues.

Fraunhofer USA

To augment its technical expertise and extend its services abroad, the Fraunhofer Society created a U.S.-based subsidiary in 1994. In addition to Fraunhofer USA's headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan, seven specialized research units were established around the country. These centers fostered strong partnerships with nearby, major universities and corresponding Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany. This international, collaborative approach has been very successful and beneficial for both the United States and Germany.

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