Research and innovativeness

As the pioneer of science in optics, ZEISS continues to push the limits of man's imagination. With our passion for excellence, we create value for our customers and inspire the world to see things in new ways.

Since its foundation, the company has been shaped by outstanding researchers and innovators. Founders Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe, together with Otto Schott, established the modern optical industry thereby enabling fundamental discoveries in medicine and science. The company still continues this tradition today.

Approximately 10 percent of the global workforce is employed in research and development. Highly-qualified physicists, scientists and engineers with specialist knowledge in optics and precision engineering develop new products and innovations. This allows ZEISS to open up new business sectors.

Technical ladder

Innovation and Research & Development (R&D) require highly-qualified specialists. ZEISS has established the technical ladder for these employees. It offers these specialist employees individual development and advancement possibilities. The emphasis is on expanding and actively applying their particular area of expertise.


  • ZEISS Research Award

    ZEISS Research Award

    (since 2016)

    Initiated and funded by Carl Zeiss AG, the ZEISS Research Award is the successor to the Carl Zeiss Research Award that honored outstanding achievements in optical research every two years from 1990 onward. It was advertised by the Ernst Abbe Fund and was allocated prize money of 25,000 euros on its most recent presentation. 20 winners received the prize in a total of 13 award ceremonies.

    Carl Zeiss Research Award

    (until 2013)

    Carl Zeiss supports the optical research which is extremely important for the company – by creating the Ernst Abbe Fund in collaboration with Schott, for example. It honors top achievements alternatively in optics and glass research.

    Carl Zeiss Award for Young Researchers

    Starting in 2016, independently of the ZEISS Research Award, the Ernst Abbe Fund in the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany will present a research award with a new focus: the Carl Zeiss Award for Young Researchers.

  • Internal Innovation Awards
    Carl Zeiss Internal Innovation Awards

    Internal Innovation Awards

    The innovation awards which have been taking place annually since 2003 are not aimed solely at R&D employees. The company honors the most innovative employees across five categories.

    • Best Knowledge Sharing
    • High Risk Project
    • Innovative Business Design
    • Leading Edge Technology
    • Short Time to Market

    Winners are selected by a jury of high-ranking external experts.