The High-Tech Strategy for Germany
- © BMBF
The High-Tech Strategy of the German Federal Government relies on cooperation between all departments and policy areas. It is the first comprehensive national innovation strategy. The strategy aims to take Germany forward on the path towards becoming innovation leader in Europe and the world. The High-Tech Strategy was adopted in 2006, reaffirmed as a Federal Government goal in 2009, expanded to form the High-Tech Strategy 2020 in 2010 and redefined in 2014. The “New High-Tech Strategy – Innovations for Germany” aims to strengthen growth and prosperity in Germany by accelerating the path from scientific discovery to practical application. The Federal Government invested 11 billion euros for this purpose in 2014 alone. Germany is now also to become “innovation world champion”.
Five pillars of the new High-Tech Strategy
The new High-Tech Strategy aims to ensure creative ideas are transformed into concrete innovations faster. Whereas the High-Tech Strategy previously helped ascertain the market potential of concrete areas of technology, from 2010 onwards it focused primarily on sustainable solutions to questions of social relevance. Now it aims to create the best possible environment for developing new ideas and applying them in marketable products and services and for increasing value creation and new future-proof employment potentials. The new High-Tech Strategy is based on five pillars:
- Urgent challenges of the future
- Better transfer
- Increased innovative strength
- Improved framework
- Closer dialogue
The High-Tech Strategy intends to facilitate concrete innovations in the high-priority fields of tomorrow by
- realising stronger networking between research and industry;
- fostering innovative strength by providing support especially for small and medium-sized enterprises and technology-oriented business founders;
- creating better framework conditions for training and the recruitment of skilled specialists; and
- strengthening dialogue between politics and society.
The most important challenges of the future
The new High-Tech Strategy focuses on the most urgent tasks of the future. It is concentrating on research subjects that are of special relevance for society and for future growth and prosperity:
- Digital economy and society
- Sustainable business and energy
- Innovative world of employment
- Healthy life
- Intelligent mobility
- Civil security
Simply applying technological innovations in products is no longer enough to maintain long-term international competitiveness. It is also necessary to take into account changed consumption habits, modes of behaviour and social and economic processes – such as resource-optimised production methods – in order to remain innovative on a lasting basis. That is why the Federal Government is not only relying on technological breakthroughs, but also on new organisational solutions and innovations in the services sector.
Strengthening cooperation between industry, research and international partners
Research and industry must work closely together so that research findings are swiftly turned into production innovations. The new policy instruments of the High-Tech Strategy will strengthen universities of applied sciences and support advanced research clusters and other networks. Funding will be provided for a large number of collaborative partnerships between research and industry – for example, in the fields of electromobility or digital production processes.
The new High-Tech Strategy will also include the maritime sector in collaboration. Cooperation between companies and research institutions will also be supported in pilot projects. In particular, small and medium-sized enterprises will receive funding here. They will benefit above all from the programmes of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) that are open to different technologies, such as the Central Innovation Program SME (ZIM) and Industrial Collective Research (IGF).
Cooperation between the Federal Government, the German states and Europe
The ministries of the Federal Government and the German states (Länder) already cooperate closely to facilitate the most effective form of support. Interdepartmental dialogue and increased coordination between the federal and state levels in the presentation of different programmes and measures are intended to increase the transparency and visibility of funding programmes. At the same time, the Federal Government is working with the contact offices for the Horizon 2020 EU framework programme to offer a comprehensive advice service to determine appropriate funding opportunities.
Förderberatung „Forschung und Innovation“ (funding consultancy)
Research support and evaluation
In future, the new High-Tech Strategy will also be supported by a body that includes expert representation from research, industry and society. It will be the body’s responsibility to draft proposals for the further development and realisation of the strategy.
A major element of quality assurance is the evaluation of funding instruments with regard to their efficiency and emphasis. The Federal Government will regularly report on the findings of the survey.
Further details of the new High-Tech Strategy and Federal Government research policy are available here: