Current projects

With its materials research and process development, Fraunhofer ISC makes important contributions to solving global challenges

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The focus of our research is on climate change, environmental pollution, excessive use of resources, the energy transition, as well as material innovations with and for artificial intelligence and digitization, an aging population in industrialized countries, and growing urbanization.

Our work must be measured against these challenges, and we at Fraunhofer ISC want to make essential contributions to solving them.


A clean and sustainable future starts with the material

In our 2022/2023 annual report, you will find projects dedicated to the topics of "Biotechnology" and "Sustainability".


@Fraunhofer ISC

Through biotechnological processes, we can find new ways to combat diseases, improve healthcare and develop sustainable solutions for people.


Focus on sustainability

Sustainable research aims to develop environmentally friendly and socially acceptable solutions that have a positive impact on society and the environment. Sustainable research processes for sustainable technologies!

From our current Research Topics

Fluorine-free functional coatings - promising alternatives to PFAS

PFAS, also known as perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds, are chemicals with outstanding technical properties. They have the ability to repel water, dirt and grease, and are therefore known as "everlasting chemicals". The molecular structure of PFAS consists of bonds between carbon and fluorine that are very stable and therefore difficult to break down in the environment.


By combining physical and chemical effects in ORMOCER® coatings, tailor-made solutions can be developed to replace PFAS.

ORMOCER® was developed over 30 years ago at the Fraunhofer ISC as an inorganic-organic hybrid polymer. It is characterised by high hardness and resistance to wear, temperature and environmental influences. ORMOCER® combines the advantages of inorganic materials such as glass or ceramics with organic polymers to create a new hybrid material.

Although a fluorine-free all-in-one solution has not yet been developed, various combinations of functions are possible for different applications such as non-stick, medical products and aerospace. Each combination can be tailored to specific requirements.

Project ZeroF: Focus on alternatives to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

The aim of the project is to replace PFAS with renewable and non-toxic compounds. The materials developed should be highly resistant to water, oil and grease and reduce environmental impact by at least 25%.

The Fraunhofer ISC is focusing on the development of an omniphobic coating for textiles as an alternative to PFAS. The ORMOCER® System developed at the ISC will be used and optimised through chemical composition, various additives and nano- and microstructuring.

The project partners will analyse the technological, economic, socio-economic and regulatory incentives for new PFAS-free coating materials to facilitate their introduction in the textile and packaging industries.

Replace. Reduce. Refine.

Progress in finding alternatives to animal testing

In recent years, research in the medical and cosmetics industries has made great progress in finding alternatives to animal testing. The 3Rs principle - Replace, Reduce, Refine - is at the heart of this. By reducing the number of test animals, improving test methods and using surrogate models such as cell cultures and computer-based simulations, efforts are being made to minimise the need for animal testing. These advances are not only ethically important, but also enable research results to be obtained more quickly and cost-effectively. The search for alternatives to animal testing is therefore an important step towards an animal-free future.

One of the goals of the Fraunhofer ISC is to establish alternatives to animal testing as a recognised standard for the general public, research and industry. The Fraunhofer Translational Centre for Regenerative Therapies TLC-RT in Würzburg develops in vitro human tissue models and works on standardised manufacturing and testing methods. In addition to various research projects, the TLC-RT plays a key role as coordinator of the WI3R initiative, which was founded in close cooperation with the academic partners University Hospital and University of Würzburg. The long-term goal of WI3R is to establish alternatives to animal testing as an accepted standard in the public, research and industry.



Würzburg Initiative 3R WI3R

"Würzburg Initiative 3R" (WI3R) is a pioneering project that aims to promote and establish alternatives to animal testing. The initiative is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Translational Centre for Regenerative Therapies TLC-RT in Würzburg and carried out in close cooperation with the University Hospital and the University of Würzburg.


Press Release

Projekt »SAPs4Tissue«

Human tissue models with customised biomaterials

A joint project between the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz, and the Translational Centre for Regenerative Therapies at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, Würzburg, will develop scientific principles and biomaterials for the standardised production of valid tissue models.


Press Release


DFG Animal Welfare Award for the Fraunhofer Translational Centre for Regenerative Therapies

The Würzburg Initiative 3R (WI3R) presented the development and application of six in vitro models of the barrier organs skin, cornea, intestine, blood-brain barrier and lung, as well as of solid tumours, which serve to "replace" the 3R concept.


In vitro models

At the Fraunhofer TLC-RT we offer a variety of in vitro tissue models focusing on barrier organs such as skin, intestine, airways and the blood-brain barrier. Our models consist of human cells derived from either primary cells or stem cells. In addition, we offer standardised tumor models on a biological tissue matrix that contain a basement membrane and are used to analyse invasion behaviour.


Partners for EU projects

Fraunhofer ISC has an excellent track record in European collaboration and can build on a large international network of research partners from industry and research.


We take on responsibility

We consider sustainability at all levels, because climate-neutral research and work requires all factors in the environment to be taken into account.

Press Releases


Plants instead of petroleum – making new bio-based material solutions tangible on a pilot scale

The INN PRESSME joint project, funded by the European Union with around 14 million euros, was launched three years ago. The aim of the 27 project partners from nine European countries is to establish a Europe-wide ecosystem for the development and production of plant-based, recyclable, and/or biodegradable packaging, energy, and transportation solutions, as well as consumer goods. The planned nine test cases with prototypes have currently been completed, and the results are very encouraging.
more info


Institute Director Prof. Dr. Gerhard Sextl retires

On 1st April 2024, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Sextl retired as Institute Director at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg. Since February 2006, he has actively shaped the development of the Fraunhofer ISC and redefined its course. Over the past 18 years, the Institute has grown considerably under his leadership and has successfully established new fields of research and technologies related to the core competence of chemically based materials development.
more info


Project "ReUse" - Efficient direct recycling for low-value lithium-ion battery waste stream

The ReUse project, short for "Efficient direct recycling for low-value LFP battery for circular and sustainable waste management," is a 36-month research initia-tive. It is funded by the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innova-tion program, operating under Grant Agreement No. 101137774, with a substan-tial EU contribution amounting to €4,927,664.93 in funding. The project com-menced in January 2024.
more info


Launch of the EU project "SUNGATE" - A new technology platform for the sustainable production of solar fuel using artificial photosynthesis

In October 2023, the EU project "SUNGATE" was launched under the coordination of Fraunhofer IME in collaboration with 11 partners from industry and research. The aim of the project is to develop a novel, sustainable and cost-efficient biohybrid technology based on artificial photosynthesis that will enable the highly efficient and scalable production of solar fuel.
more info

Your local contact

Marie-Luise Righi

Contact Press / Media

Marie-Luise Righi

Head of PR and Communications

Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC
Neunerplatz 2
97082 Würzburg, Germany

Phone +49 931 4100-150