"Our Guiding Principles are the compass for our research and actions."

Compliance at FZI stands for adherence to laws, guidelines and self-imposed regulations. Our internal compliance guidelines and measures set binding standards for our employees to support lawful behavior, raise awareness of what is rightful, and prevent situations that could jeopardize our reputation.

Our compliance management system, which is still being developed, is based on the ISO37301 standard.

Lawful and value-oriented actions create the basis of trust for our collaboration, both internally at the FZI and with our partners in businesses and public institutions. Our Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct form the cornerstones of our guiding principles. They are supplemented by our Leadership Principles, which are based on the same principles and underline the special importance of managers as role models in these issues as well.

These three guiding principles define our self-image, characterize our corporate culture, and set the legal boundaries for our actions. At the same time, they protect against risks and thus safeguard the further development and future of the FZI.

Our Code of Conduct

Compliance at the FZI stands for adherence to laws, guidelines and self-imposed regulations. Our internal compliance guidelines and measures set binding standards for our employees to support lawful behavior, raise awareness of what is rightful, and prevent situations that could jeopardize our reputation.

One of our compliance measures is this Code of Conduct. It is binding for all colleagues – regardless of their position and role. The code is intended to support employees, managers, directors and board members alike in complying with our principles in their day-to-day work. It is based on the FZI’s Code of Ethics and, together with other internal guidelines and company agreements, forms the basis for lawful conduct at the FZI and towards our partners.

In addition, other guidelines, particularly more specific ones such as the data protection guideline, complement the regulations already addressed herein.

The FZI is a knowledge transfer institution and thus a link between business, public institutions, universities and other research institutions. As a non-profit foundation under civil law, we are committed to the common good and our independence. In order to maintain this independence, we do not enter into any collaborations that involve more than one eighth of our total annual budget or could entail a similar risk of economic dependence.

With this Code of Conduct, we express a high standard of compliance for ourselves. We expect the same basic approach from our partners with regard to the provisions set out in this policy. We encourage our partners to take these into account in their own corporate policies.

The following principles apply as minimum standards to protect the integrity of the FZI, our partners and all employees. More detailed content on this can be found in our mission statement brochure.

  • Respect human rights
  • Cultivate diversity and variety
  • Make factual decisions without bias
  • Prevent corruption and money laundering
  • Advocate fair competition
  • Ensure careful handling of third-party funds
  • Guarantee safety
  • Conserve resources
  • Protect personal data
  • Maintain confidentiality and safeguard intellectual property

Even minor violations of applicable compliance regulations or legal provisions can have serious consequences. Reputational damage and liability for the FZI, the Executive Board and the employees are the result. Violations of this Code of Conduct are therefore consistently prosecuted and appropriately sanctioned. Depending on the seriousness of the breach, there may be the threat of measures under labor law, including termination of the employment relationship, as well as liability for damages and even criminal penalties.

All employees represent the FZI with their conduct and actions. Regardless of careful behavior, we may find ourselves in a situation in our daily work where we cannot decide without harboring doubts. If we are uncertain about a suspicion or a violation, we speak openly about it and contact our respective superiors or the persons responsible for compliance. The contact persons are intended to help identify possible violations and prevent misconduct. In cases involving data protection law, we contact the data protection officer. If employee interests are affected, the Works Council can also be consulted.

To support law-abiding conduct by all FZI employees, a compliance organization is created that is headed by a compliance officer. This is regulated in a compliance organization guideline.

In addition, we offer employees as well as external parties the opportunity to report potential violations anonymously in a secure and confidential manner. An experienced compliance expert is available as an external contact and ombudsperson for this purpose.

Contact details for the whistleblower procedure, the compliance officer and other contact persons can be found in the internal portal or on our homepage.

Our compliance organization

Compliance is the responsibility of all FZI colleagues, including executives and board members. Notwithstanding this joint compliance responsibility, certain roles are particularly entrusted with the identification of compliance risks and the accountability for appropriate standards of conduct and processes as well as corresponding control and audit measures. These include primarily the Compliance Officer, who is assisted by the Compliance Team. In addition, there are the specialized functions, particularly those responsible for occupational health and safety, data protection, information security, quality management and the Head of Research Administration (RAD). A Compliance Board has been set up to coordinate the functions entrusted with compliance tasks and cooperation with the departments.

Our whistleblower system

Have you noticed any non-compliant conduct by one of our employees and would like to report it? Do you have questions about our Compliance Management System? Then please contact our Compliance Officer directly:


Sabine Schneider-Faber

Qualified lawyer
and Compliance Officer (certified)

Please note

We will treat your information confidentially, provided that you request this and we are permitted to do so by law.

We conscientiously examine all information and consistently punish actual violations to the appropriate extent. Reports can therefore result in investigations that may have a negative impact on employees as well as on the FZI as such. Therefore, before submitting a whistleblowing report, please carefully check the accuracy of the facts known to you.

Our employees have various internal communication channels at their disposal through which compliance reports can be made and information provided. In addition, it is also possible to contact our external ombudsperson anonymously by telephone.