Guiding Principles

Responsible for the common good

Shaping the future requires clear orientation

Research is the engine of the future. The FZI Research Center for Information Technology as a non-profit foundation under civil law stands for applied research and technology transfer. Since our foundation in 1985, we have been conducting research in various fields related to computer science. Through innovative research at the highest level and open-mindedness towards technical novelties, we would like to continue to inspire with new ideas and solutions in the future. In doing so, we want to shape the future responsibly. At the FZI, we are happy to make our contribution to the common good. We do it out of conviction and with a view to the generations that will follow. Anyone who shapes the future needs clear orientation. In our daily collaboration – with each other and our partners – we are guided by clear values and convictions, set out in our Guiding Principles.

Equal opportunities and gender equality are firmly anchored in our Guiding Principles. We also demonstrate this with our Gender Equality Plan.

Our Code of Ethics

We explore the potential of digital technologies and develop innovative applications for business and society at the highest international level. In doing so, we attach great importance to high ethical standards, good scientific practice and anticipating the possible consequences of our research. We are committed to acting sustainably in ecological, social and economic terms. With each of our innovations, we strive to add value to society.

As enthusiastic problem solvers, we shape the digital world of tomorrow and build bridges between science, business, politics, administration, and citizens. The highest scientific standards combined with interdisciplinarity and diversity are the basis for our innovative capacity and performance. Thanks to the latest methods and technologies, state-of-the-art laboratories and test fields, as well as our network of innovative partners, we can test creative ideas directly in practice. This research and working environment offers colleagues ideal conditions for a professional future in specialist and management positions as well as in their own companies.

As a non-profit foundation under civil law, we are committed to the common good. We maintain our legal, economic and moral independence. We rely on the initiative and integrity of all our colleagues. We accept our responsibility: We play an active role in shaping debates about the opportunities and risks of technological innovations and back up our words with action.

We communicate with each other and with our partners on an equal footing. In doing so, we rely on openness and readily accept constructive criticism. For us, transparency means that decisions are understandable. Cooperation at the FZI is characterized by trust, commitment and willingness to help and is geared towards clearly defined goals. Team spirit is actively lived at our company: We can rely on and stand up for each other.

We show the same respect and appreciation to our colleagues, partners and clients, and are guided by the principles of equal opportunity and fairness. We are united by our enthusiasm for digital technologies of the future. For individual professional and personal development, we rely on a flexible and family-friendly working environment.

Our Code of Conduct

Compliance stands for adherence to laws, guidelines and self-imposed regulations. Internal compliance policies and measures set binding standards for all employees to support lawful conduct, raise awareness of the right thing to do, and prevent situations that could jeopardize the reputation of an institution.

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

In addition, other more specific guidelines – like the Privacy Policy – round off the regulations already addressed in this Code of Conduct.

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 generally 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 compliance standard for ourselves. We insist on the same basic attitude from our partners regarding 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. You find more in-depth content on this in our Guiding Principles 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 losses 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 should help identify possible violations in good time and prevent misconduct. In cases involving data protection law, we contact the data protection officer. If employee interests are affected, the workers council can also be consulted.

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

In addition, we offer both internal employees and external personnel the opportunity to report potential violations anonymously in a secure and confidential manner. For this purpose, an experienced compliance expert is available as an external contact and ombudswoman.

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

Our Leadership Principles

We are convinced that the FZI achieves its best results when we inspire ourselves and others with our work. As leaders, we assume a central role. In line with our foundation’s mission, we ensure that good ideas are implemented in order to achieve the goals we have set ourselves and benefit society. Within this framework, we provide creative freedom for all employees to develop their innovative power from the roots of scientific and professional excellence.

We are convinced that the FZI achieves its best results when we inspire ourselves and others with our work. As leaders, we assume a central role. In line with our foundation’s mission, we ensure that good ideas are implemented in order to achieve the goals we have set ourselves and benefit society. Within this framework, we provide creative freedom for all employees to develop their innovative power from the roots of scientific and professional excellence.

Our cooperation requires honesty towards others and ourselves, but also tolerance and understanding for other points of view. We create an environment from which we work for a fair and transparent distribution of tasks.

We are open to different perspectives and include them in finding solutions. We see the diversity of our employees as an enrichment and are therefore very committed to interdisciplinarity. We face conflicts constructively and use them as an opportunity to improve cooperation. We attach particular importance to confidentiality and the protection of privacy. We are committed to a healthy, family-friendly and safe working atmosphere.

We owe the success of the FZI to the knowledge, experience and commitment of all our employees. We offer scope for creativity and participation so that our colleagues can further develop their skills and potential. In particular, we actively encourage the proactivity and commitment of all employees to contribute their knowledge and experience. We also invest in individual, personal and team-oriented training and further qualification.

Through personal feedback, we encourage rather than just demand performance. We motivate through recognition, but also with constructive criticism.

We maintain appreciative, transparent and open communication, and lead by example. We actively engage in respectful dialogue with our employees and with each other. We exchange information on relevant developments within the legal framework. We delegate responsibilities clearly and with well-defined targets, enabling employees to achieve result-oriented solutions. If we identify challenges, we address them in a clear and timely manner and intervene in a supportive way.

Leading means setting an example. Mutual trust promotes the courage to take responsibility, to make decisions within one’s authority in the spirit of the FZI and to be consistent in one’s actions. The Code of Conduct provides dependable support in this regard. We make reliable statements and keep our word. We stand loyally behind the actions of our employees and view mistakes as an opportunity to expand our experience.

Quality and Information Security Management

Quality and Information Security Management

In our work, we attach great importance to high-quality standards. We face the requirements and expectations of our partners and the changing framework conditions with foresight. Therefore, the FZI Research Center for Information Technology has established an effective quality management system in the company, which meets the requirements of the international quality standard ISO 9001 and is accordingly certified.

Our most valuable currency at the FZI is the knowledge gained in research and its exchange. The loss of this knowledge through data leaks, industrial espionage or cyberattacks therefore represents a major risk for us and our partners. We face this challenge and strive to continuously improve in the area of secure communication and knowledge transfer. For this reason, we have established an information security management system at the FZI, which has been certified according to ISO 27001 since June 2023 and thus acts pursuant to international standards.

Download the Information Security Guideline

At the FZI, very different people conduct research – whether in terms of gender, origin or educational background. For us, equal opportunity does not require alignment. Rather, we see the opportunity that diversity and variety dissolve boundaries. We stick together, value each other and thereby achieve scientific breakthroughs.

Portrait von Jacqueline Henle
Jacqueline Henle
Research Scientist at the FZI