The High-Tech Strategy for Germany
The Federal Government’s High-Tech Strategy relies on cooperation between all departments and policy areas. It is the first overarching national innovation strategy. ???aural:Bildanfang??????aural:Bildende???
Its goal is to enable Germany to maintain its international competitiveness and continue its successful development into a knowledge-based society, thereby securing the basis for future prosperity.
The High-Tech Strategy was adopted in 2006, reaffirmed by the Federal Government in 2009 and expanded into the High-Tech Strategy 2020 in 2010.
Five areas in which Germany aims to play a leading role
The High-Tech Strategy aims to create lead markets, to intensify cooperation between science and industry and to further improve the framework conditions for innovation. Its direction is determined by the benefit of new technologies for humankind. The strategy defines five areas that represent challenges of global dimensions:
The High-Tech Strategy aims to enable science and industry in Germany to pioneer solutions in these fields. This will also generate fresh impetus for growth and employment.
The High-Tech Strategy aims to use forward-looking projects to shift the focus of research and technology onto concrete social and global goals. Strategies for achieving these goals are to be developed and implemented in the next 10 to 15 years. The High-Tech Strategy 2020 names the following as examples of forward-looking projects:
- The carbon-neutral, energy-efficient and climate-friendly city
- Intelligent reorganisation of the energy supply system
- Renewable raw materials as an alternative to oil
- Improved treatment of illnesses with personalised medicine
- Improving health with an optimised diet
- Leading an independent life in old age
- One million electric vehicles in Germany by 2020
- More effective protection for communications networks
- Achieving higher Internet use with lower energy consumption
- Making it possible to access and experience the world’s knowledge in digital form
- The future world of work and work organisation
Strengthening cooperation between industry and science
Science and industry have to work closely together in order to swiftly transform research results into innovative products. The High-Tech Strategy therefore calls for strategic partnerships and innovation alliances that pool strengths and create synergies. In particular, dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany’s innovative Mittelstand are receiving technology funding to increase the incentives for research partnerships. Success stories in this area include collaborations for improving energy and vehicle efficiency. Another successful model is the Leading-Edge Cluster Competition, which is intended to support the strongest regional clusters on their way to the top of the international league table.
Europe as a framework
Although the High-Tech Strategy is a national initiative, it is firmly integrated into European growth policy. The High-Tech Strategy can thus be regarded as one of the building blocks of the Europe 2020 process, with which the European Commission and the European Council are focusing attention on education, research and innovation.
The Federal Government is seeking guidance from independent partners in order to establish the High-Tech Strategy as a sustainable instrument. These include the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (EFI) and the Industry-Science Research Alliance. The Research Alliance is composed of experts from the worlds of politics, business and science and continuously presents proposals and concrete recommendations for action in fields of innovation. As the central innovation policy consultative body, it focuses on the five fields of the High-Tech Strategy and will develop forward-looking projects. The first EFI Report in 2007 confirmed the success of the High-Tech Strategy by demonstrating that it had provided important stimuli and set a large number of processes in motion.