About the Campaign "Medical technologies"
In order to become even more visible as the world’s partner and to foster international co-operation in the fields of research, development and education in a more sustainable manner, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) started the initiative “Research in Germany – Land of Ideas” in 2006. German research institutes, universities and enterprises that conduct Research and Development (R&D) with great dedication introduce themselves and convey, with the help of innovative topics and examples, a picture of Germany’s appeal and that of its research landscape.
The current campaign under the umbrella “Research in Germany” focuses on the topic of medical technology from 2011 to 2013. This represents globally an exciting field of science and technology that is strongly driven by research, characterised by an extremely high degree of interdisciplinary contacts, and that can look back on a long history: as long ago as 1895, Wilhelm-Conrad Röntgen laid its first foundations at the University of Würzburg. Since then, scientific and technological excellence as well as the high standard of education of the experts has made medical technology in Germany into a worldwide renowned driver for innovation.
The key figures speak for themselves: According to the specific subject area in the field of medical technology, between 5 and 20 percent of all scientific publications worldwide are generated in Germany, giving it a top position in this respect within Europe. This figure should be seen in light of the fact that research in medical technology is very well-positioned due to the broad knowledge base in the relevant key technologies, a highly differentiated research infrastructure and the good availability of qualified personnel. This also applies to industry: In recent years, more than 11,000 companies in this sector, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises, have been able to show a continuous annual growth of an average seven percent, largely independent of economic fluctuations. In 2010, their turnover amounted to 20 billion Euros, with an export quota of about 68 percent. One facet out of many: Worldwide, one in two magnetic resonance imaging scanners originate from Germany. With its share of 14.6 percent of the global trade volume, Germany’s medical technology sector is worldwide second to the US with respect to exports, and has a considerable lead over Japan that is in third place. The high innovative dynamics of the medical technology industry is also remarkable: currently, R&D activities account for almost 9 percent of total turnover. Almost one third of turnover is generated with products that have entered the market less three years ago.
Similarly, the vast benefit that society has from medical technology is equally as important. It makes substantial contributions to a better provision of healthcare and is thus a fundamental part of every healthcare system. Earlier diagnoses, successful forms of treatment and innovative devices help to sustainably improve patients’ quality of life. Medical technology is making a significant contribution to coping with the challenges that society is facing in light of demographic change, and enables people to lead self-determined lives for as long as possible. As part of the medical technology campaign “Germany - Partner for Medical Technology” under the umbrella “Research in Germany”, all participants share a common goal: Research and development of successful solutions for tomorrow’s healthcare. Particularly favourable conditions for a fast transfer of excellent research into future medical technology applications are to be found in clusters made up of universities, research institutes, clinics, SMEs and large companies. With its Spitzencluster Competition, the flagship for High-Tech Strategies in 2020, the Federal Government is providing focused support for the most productive clusters on their way into the international top league: For example, the Medical Valley European Metropolitan Region Nuremberg (EMN) in northern Bavaria is one of the competition’s winners and ranks among the economically strongest and scientifically most active medical technology clusters worldwide.
The campaign was launched at the biggest trade fair for Medical Technology worldwide, the Medica 2011 in Düsseldorf. Other sector-specific events organized by German research and technology establishments will give interested partners abroad the opportunity to establish contacts with German research institutions and innovative companies till the end of 2013. Currently, workshops, multiplier events, partnering events, lectures, and presentations are being organized at conferences and meetings. They are aimed at scientists and decision- makers at universities, research institutions and R&D-based companies as well as junior scientists, multipliers and investors.