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Manufacturing Policy Portal [beta]

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Programmes & Initiatives

Programmes and Initiatives

 

Concerning the BMBF’s new High-Tech Strategy (HTS), investment (€11 billion in 2014 alone, with scope to extend that by €3 billion)) is focused on research topics “that are of particular relevance for the society as well as for growth and prosperity in the future”.  The HTS is accompanied by a board with representatives from key stakeholders from academia, industry and society.  It is co-chaired by Andreas Barner, Chairman of the Management Board of Boehringer Ingelheim and president of the Donors' Association for German Science, and Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. 

The ambitions for the HTS are that third level institutions are to be strengthened, and that “top cluster and similar networks should be better focused internationally”.  It is also envisaged that industry and science will cooperate in numerous projects with the support of the federal government, and that partners from science and industry can be involved in pilot projects.  There is also to be a particular focus on SMEs, who already benefit from the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs and industrial research run by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi – now Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy?).  There is a cross-departmental approach to this new high tech strategy, with almost all federal departments to participate.  This new strategy is intended to sustain and reaffirm previous innovation policies dating to 2006, and will feature both an evaluation of previous measures and more integration with European and international activities.

 

The new high-tech strategy is based on five pillars

1)        The first of those is the set of priority tasks for the future that have been identified across six themes:

2)        The second is to improve regional, national, and international networking of science and industry.

3)        The Federal Government wishes to increase the pace of innovation, supporting innovative SMEs and technology-oriented start-up entrepreneurs.

4)        Improving the pool of skilled people, in part by attracting foreign workers to Germany.

5)        Strengthening dialogue by fostering openness to new technologies and encouraging more active public participation and social innovation.  This would include making research funding more transparent. 


The architects of the strategy, while mindful of areas of traditional innovative strength – e.g., automotive, mechanical engineering – do not wish to specialise too much.  As such the HTS will seek to widen the circle of companies (particularly innovative SMEs) that they support, and in so doing increase the number of innovative start-ups in Germany.  Furthermore, other programs, such as the Excellence Initiative (€2.7 billion increased funding for university based research between 2011 and 2017, 75 per cent of which funded by the federal government) and the Pact for Research and Innovation (increased funding to German research organisations by 5 per cent each year between 2011 and 2015), are also significant for promoting young research talent.  The latter is designed to give financial planning security to institutions that are jointly funded by the Federal Government and the Länder (Helmholtz Society (HGF), Max Planck Society (MPG), Fraunhofer Society (FhG), Leibniz Science Association (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Science Association, WGL), as well as the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG)).  In return, they commit to research policy goals, including the promotion of networks in the academic system, international cooperation strategies, and sustainable partnerships between science and industry.  The HTS is also to be embellished with research programs such as "Innovations for the production, service and work of tomorrow" (in which €1 billion will be invested by 2020), which has an holistic aim to combine technical and social progress, adapting work practices to increasing mechanisation, automation, and digitisation.

Various export promotion measures have also been packaged in a single ‘programme to develop foreign markets’, which includes various export initiatives, as well as a manager training programme. Similarly, Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI),the economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany, has earmarked additional funds for a network of bilateral chambers of commerce. A number of large-scale bilateral projects have been also financed.

 

Fraunhofer Institutes focused on Production

One of Fraunhofer’s core research topics is production, and indeed seven Fraunhofer Institutes have combined to form a Fraunhofer Group for Production (see Appendix 2 for information on individual institutes).   The Fraunhofer Group for Production VP is a cooperative venture with the aim of collaborating on production-oriented research and development.  From pooling the expertise and experience of the individual institutes, it is intended that comprehensive single-source solutions can be offered to clients in the manufacturing, commercial and service sectors.  The Fraunhofer Group for Production offers a range of services that covers the entire product life cycle or value chain, and operates in the following business areas:

    • Product development
    • Manufacturing technologies
    • Manufacturing systems
    • Production processes
    • Production organization
    • Logistics