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Photo Credit: EFI

24.02.2021

Expert Commission on Research and Innovation publishes new yearly report for 2021

On 24 February, the Expert Commission on Research and Innovation (EFI) presented its 2021 report on Germany's research, innovation and technological performance to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel // The major challenges of society, such as meeting the sustainability goals or continuing the transformation of the energy and mobility systems, must be given high priority // Existing technological backlogs must be, by all means, closed and, in the case of emerging key technologies (e.g. hydrogen), avoided

In its latest report, as the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) recently reported, the Expert Commission on Research and Innovation (EFI) addresses current developments and challenges with regard to the Corona pandemic. The impact of the Corona crisis on research and innovation (R&I) is highlighted, current R&I policy is discussed and recommendations are made for the priorities of R&I policy in the coming legislative period.

According to the Expert Commission, "the crisis can also serve as a catalyst for the transition to new technologies and in this way improve Germany's long-term competitiveness. To this end, further economic stimulus programmes and growth policy measures should be designed to be as R&I-oriented as possible." Against this background, the Expert Commission expressly welcomes the Federal Government's intention to use 60 billion euros from the economic stimulus package for investment and innovation.

Five priorities for the coming legislative period

The EFI Commission emphasises that the new German government will continue to need a coherent policy approach that takes into account the entire innovation process - from basic research to final application - and names five priorities that should guide R&I policy in the next legislative period.

1 | The major challenges of society, and in particular the sustainability goals, must have a high priority. The transformation of the energy  and mobility systems should be continued, and new missions were to be set up.

2 | It is equally important for the development of prosperity that Germany catches up with existing technological backlogs and avoids them, by all means, in emerging key technologies, for example in the latest developments such as hydrogen and quantum technologies, but also in CRISPR/Cas technologies.

3 | In order to achieve these goals, a country like Germany, which is poor in raw materials, must have a strong skilled labour base. Therefore, education and training measures should be provided at a high level.

4 | With regard to R&I investments in private companies, it is also necessary to increase innovation participation. The promotion of start-ups and the support of small and medium-sized enterprises, new transfer formats, but also the potential of public procurement should be initiated and pursued more intensively.

5 | Finally, the agility of R&I policy is an important pre-requisite for successfully implementing the transformative change desired by society. With the discussion of a new mission orientation, the Expert Commission has developed proposals in this area.

About the EFI

The EFI provides scientific policy advice to the Federal Government and has been presenting reports on Germany's research, innovation and technological performance once a year since 2008. A central component of the reports are recommendations for action for national research and innovation policy.

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