Digitalisation re­search at DLR

Pro­gramme and strat­e­gy

The digitalisation of the economy and society is a topic of vital importance for the future viability of Germany and Europe. Digital technologies offer considerable innovation potential and can have a transformative influence on existing value creation processes and even drive completely new business models. Digitalisation enables more efficient processes and allows new forms of collaboration and communication. This also applies to design and production processes, which can be optimised through the use of digital methods and tools.

However, digitalisation entails risks, for example in the handling of data, with regard to the trustworthiness of digital methods and for security. In addition, increasing digitalisation means an adjustment in human resource management and for each individual to adapt to new conditions. In order to successfully meet the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation in science, societal and economic expectations must be taken into account from the very beginning. With its digitalisation strategy, DLR wants to help shape the digital transformation and make an effective contribution to the future of Germany as a prime location for business.

As one of the biggest engineering research institutions and the largest aerospace research organisation in Europe, DLR has been addressing digital topics for decades. State-of-the-art scientific infrastructure enables research at the highest technical level. In addition to increased research and use of relevant technologies from digitalisation for its core areas, DLR is simultaneously expanding the digitalisation of the organisation.

Research on digitalisation provides stimuli for the economy, helps shape innovative technologies, methods and processes in an application-oriented manner and uses these for research and science management.

Priorities for future-oriented digitalisation

  • Artificial intelligence as an innovation driver for all DLR research priorities will be further strengthened and will also be increasingly used in research management.
  • In addition, the collection, management and utilisation of data resources will be optimised across all of DLR. Together with its partners, DLR is thus addressing the goals of sovereign data spaces and national research data infrastructure.
  • The strengths in the interaction of digital and physical engineering as well as the research and development of innovative autonomous systems are being expanded. The interdisciplinary advancement of these strengths will also secure DLR’s position as a provider of innovative technical solutions in industrially significant subject areas in the future.
  • In addition, the digitalisation of DLR as an organisation is being consistently driven forward in order to optimise its own operations with agile work processes and intelligent tools.
  • Three guiding principles have also been defined for DLR’s future digitalisation activities, which provide important guidance for the actions – consider the consequences of digitalisation, combine digitalisation with sustainability, and consider security from the very beginning. The well-being of people, both as a society and as individuals, is at the centre of all considerations.
  • DLR has received federal funding to develop prototype quantum computers. Industry, research institutions and start-ups are being integrated into the initiative under the leadership of DLR, which is simultaneously building up the industrial base.


Tobias Schneiderhan

Acting Board Member for Digitalization
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne