The "High-Tech Strategy for Germany", encompassing all government departments, places innovation policy centre-stage in government action, combining the efforts of the state, science, economy and civil society.
Accept the challenge of the 21st century
Germany is feeling the effects of globalisation more than ever before. Cost-based competition cannot be won. This is why German business must always be that bit better than other competitors. Competitive advantages and hence growth opportunities can only be gained through new ideas, products and system solutions. This creates jobs and secures the standard of living for today’s and future generations.
15 billion euros by 2009
All in all by 2009 the German government is providing 15 billion euros for cutting-edge technologies and trans-technological trans-sectoral measures. This is the highest level of investment in Germany as a scientific location since German reunification.
The German government expects the economy and Länder to do their part to increase spending on research and development (R&D). With this, expenditure on R&D should increase to three percent of gross domestic product by 2010. The EU formulated this objective in its Lisbon Strategy.
Innovation strategies for the 17 most important fields of the future
The High-Tech Strategy defines objectives for 17 fields of the future. For every field of innovation policy there is a clear roadmap of initiatives, always taking research funding and prevailing conditions jointly into consideration.
Firstly by conducting a SWOT analysis, the federal government has created a clearly-defined profile of where Germany stands in the various cutting-edge fields. This also illustrates where in particular there is much to be done. The main focus is to open up new markets for products and services or develop existing markets into lead markets.
The main emphasis will be on areas of particular national interest or which have economic and scientific potential. These include healthcare, security and energy research. The fields of action also cover key technologies such as nano-, biotechnologies or information and communications technologies.
New incentives through cross-sectoral activities
In addition to funding these promising high-tech sectors, particular support will be given to comprehensive cross-sectoral measures.
The federal government is giving more support than ever before to collaborative activities and joint ventures by industry and science, for instance through the introduction of a research premium and through funding for excellence, but also by raising the profile of prime examples of collaboration between industry and science.
The road from development to market is becoming shorter and quicker. New funding instruments make assessment of the applicability and economic potential of ideas and research findings quicker and less bureaucratic.
High-tech start-ups and innovative SME’s will be given special assistance by the federal government, through reform of the corporate tax system and systematic dismantling of bureaucracy. The financing of research projects by banks and investors is to be facilitated and the conditions for venture capital improved.
Finally there is to be increased investment in fine minds, as the future depends in no uncertain terms on the professional qualification of the workforce. The education and training system is top priority. The potential of every individual in Germany must be fostered and supported to the greatest possible extent.
Federal government and Länder want to enable universities to offer top-quality scientific education to a rapidly growing student population. The most gifted are to be given special support. Good working conditions make Germany attractive to scientists and skilled personnel from abroad.
Integral part of EU research policy
With its High-Tech Strategy the federal government is being proactive in the creation of the European research and innovation policy. The national innovation system is part of the European Research Area.
The High-Tech Strategy is a continuation of European initiatives. The federal government is to make research and innovation policy the central focus of the German EU presidency in the first half of 2007.
Strategy is evaluated
The innovation strategy is regularly put under scrutiny. The federal government is to make an initial audit in autumn 2007. From 2008 the government report Forschung und Innovation (Research and Innovation) will document its progress.
Regular talks with science and industry in the newly established research union are helping to implement and refine the innovation strategies.