Open-minded research and diversity at Fraunhofer IOF

Statement by the head of the Institute

"Excellent research must be open to the world"


Dear readers, dear colleagues, 

In the context of current social discourses, it is urgent for us to emphasize, that ideologies that restrict open-minded thinking not only obstruct groundbreaking innovations but also pose a sustainable threat to the prosperity and potential of our society. We strongly reject developments that go against the rule of law and democracy. 

Our institute has always stood for the freedom of science and a culture of diversity. We are proud to be a place where people come together regardless of age, ethnic background and nationality, gender and gender identity, physical and mental abilities, religion and worldview, sexual orientation, and social background to jointly research groundbreaking ideas for the world of tomorrow. 

The culture at Fraunhofer IOF has been, is, and will continue to be characterized by appreciation, respect, and tolerance. Our past successes are testament to the fact that the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as well as Fraunhofer IOF can only benefit from these values. Therefore, we explicitly stand for it: Excellent research must be open to the world! 

That is why it is self-evident for us at Fraunhofer IOF to be part of the initiative "Weltoffenes Thüringen". Only through open dialogue and the exchange of diverse perspectives can we find innovative solutions to the challenges of our time. 

Head of the institute

(In february 2024)

Statements by our employees

"Excellent research needs..."

At Fraunhofer IOF, we are convinced that diversity is the key to unlocking great potential. Above all, it is our employees who contribute to the development of groundbreaking ideas and solutions to global challenges through their different perspectives, backgrounds and methods. Research and life at Fraunhofer IOF are colorful, diverse and multifaceted.  

Our employees live this culture of diversity every day. Here they have their say and tell us what they think "Excellent research needs... " at Fraunhofer IOF.

Excellent research needs...diversity


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Excellence knows no color. Diversity solves problems.


Dr. Falk Eilenberger
Head of the Micro- and Nanostructured Optics department. In his team, around 35 people work on the production and characterization of high-end micro- and nano-optical elements of the highest resolution.

Excellent research needs... curiosity



Excellent research requires open-mindedness and a constant curiosity to look at things from different perspectives without prejudices.


Susanne Vogel
Assistant to the Head of Department for opto-mechatronical Components and Systems.

Excellent research needs... innovative ideas and creative people


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Innovative ideas and excellent research do not emerge in a vacuum. Above all, they require creative people who can meet in friendship and exchange ideas openly in constructive discussions. The more diverse we create this environment, the more successful we will be in the face of those who are stuck in entrenched and backward-looking ways of thinking. Diversity encompasses all aspects, from cultural background and professional expertise to sexual orientation. Nothing can be demarcated or excluded. And everything contributes to the success of a diverse team.


Dr. Christian Vetter
Group Leader for Advanced Optical Design in the Optical and Mechanical System Design department.

Excellent research needs... a diverse and inclusive work culture


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Excellent research requires open-mindedness and a diverse and inclusive working culture in which everyone feels comfortable and can develop their full potential. As a doctoral student in the field of science and technology, gender equality is particularly important to me. We need an environment in which all voices are heard, regardless of gender, origin and background.


Johanna Conrad
Johanna Conrad completed her Master's degree in Physics in August 2023 and is now a doctoral student in the Future Technologies department. Here she has specialized in the field of quantum communication.

Excellent research needs... different perspectives



Embracing diversity and interconnectedness of humanity allows diverse perspectives to contribute richer and more comprehensive research outcomes. Excellent research involves not only knowledge, but also a deep understanding of the various ways in which individuals from different backgrounds approach scientific inquiries


Uday Chandrashekara
Uday Chandrashekara has a Master's degree in photonics and is a research assistant in the Future Technologies department. His research there focuses on quantum technologies.

Excellent research needs... respectful cooperation


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Excellent research requires open-mindedness and respectful and appreciative communication


Katharina Wolf
Katharina Wolf works in the HR department of the Fraunhofer IOF and is responsible as a recruiter for young researchers and new employees at the institute.

Excellent research needs... a fair distribution of opportunities



Diversity not only contributes to a more equitable distribution of opportunities but also ensures that the scientific community reflects the diversity of the broader population. Ultimately, excellence in science is closely tied to the richness of perspectives and ideas that arise from a diverse and inclusive community.


Gesa Räcke
Employee of the Strategy, Organization and Communication department and responsible for the Fraunhofer IOF website and the social media presence of our institute.

Work culture characterized by appreciation, respect and tolerance


Fraunhofer IOF supports "Weltoffenes Thüringen"

The Fraunhofer IOF stands for the freedom of science and a culture of diversity.


Fraunhofer IOF is part of "Charta der Vielfalt"

The "Charta der Vielfalt" is an employer initiative to promote diversity in companies and institutions.



Fraunpower am Fraunhofer IOF

Fraunhofer IOF supports women in the natural sciences and research.


Fraunhofer IOF supports "Family&Job"

Fraunhofer IOF supports the compatibility of family and career.

We stand for the freedom of science and a culture of diversity

In einem Mosaik sind zahlreiche Fraunhofer IOF Mitarbeitende zu sehen. Alle stehen für ein weltoffenes Miteinander in Forschung und Gesellschaft.
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