NEW PATH – New handling of exploitation concepts in heterogeneous project constellations

Completed project



By the activities of the Fraunhofer Network »Science, Art and Design« (German shortcut: WKD) the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is strengthening its cooperation with non-scientific stakeholders by integrating actors from the fields of design and art into the research and development (R&D) processes of the Fraunhofer institutes. On the one hand, these collaborations are motivated and promoted by the basic mandate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to conduct research with, and for the society, as well as by current socio-economic trends and political developments on the other hand. Due to the heterogeneous motives of those involved, these new types of cooperation constellations require alternative or modified cooperation and exploitation concepts that expand the classic approaches of exploiting intellectual property (Intellectual Property, shortcut: IP) and thus contribute to strengthening the willingness of external actors to cooperate in R&D.



The project New Path aims to address these new challenges in order to increase the social, scientific and economic impact of the Fraunhofer network WKD and its partners, and thus, also to increase the attractiveness of the Fraunhofer-Society as a project partner for new non-scientific and non-industrial stakeholders as a whole.

For this purpose, firstly, the existing contractual frameworks are to be redesigned and adapted to the new requirements in close collaboration with the Fraunhofer headquarters with particular regard to the cooperation with Fraunhofer scientists as well as to the relevant rights of use.

Secondly, best practices should be elicited and cataloged to enable future cooperation partners to make self-determined and informed decisions in dealing with heterogeneous IP.

Furthermore, a consulting concept is to be developed which will enable the WKD network and its member institutes to integrate new players into the broad spectrum of research activities of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in the long term. In this way, the participation of the heterogeneous stakeholders within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft shall become more permanent.


Role of Fraunhofer IRB

To implement these project goals, the Fraunhofer IRB works together with various legal departments of the Fraunhofer headquarters as well as with the WKD network office over the entire duration of the project and complements the existing competencies with its expertise in the field of Citizen Science and Open Science.

In order to catalog the best practices on alternative exploitation concepts within the WKD network, the Fraunhofer IRB first collects new data with the help of guided expert discussions and also determines the need for advice and support in this regard.

In the second step, the Fraunhofer IRB aggregates this data collected with the findings of the previous project Best Etab II – Open-IP to create a portfolio of best practices that is as comprehensive as possible on the one hand.  After appropriate target group-specific processing this portfolio will be made available for the WKD network and its members, for the Fraunhofer headquarters and for the external cooperation partners.

On the other hand, the Fraunhofer IRB will develop a holistic consulting concept by combining the approaches for sustainable citizen participation within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft determined during the duration of »New Path« with the guidelines and information material of the previous project.



The contract templates and processes for organising the heterogeneous project constellations created in the course of the project were made available to the WKD network for permanent use. All lessons learned in the project were summarised in a consulting concept and made available to the network's office.