Photo Credit: AiF
For the first time in its history, since 1954, the budget for Industrial Collective Research (IGF) to promote innovation activities of the research-oriented German Mittelstand has been raised to the annual level of 200 million euros // AiF President Prof. Dr. Sebastian Bauer proposes an "initiative to promote innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises"
"Politicians have kept their word: We very much welcome the fact that the increase in funding for the IGF, which has long been sought at this level, has now been approved by the federal budgetary authority in the budget law for 2021," explained Prof. Dr. Sebastian Bauer, President of the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations AiF. "Particularly in times of crisis, innovations by small and medium-sized enterprises strengthen their current and future competitiveness, even beyond Germany's borders. In this respect, it is a good development that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we have received far more applications for research funding in recent months than in previous years," Bauer continues. "Tis is why we are very pleased that the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy made an additional 36 million euros available for the IGF as part of the second supplementary budget for 2020. And the 200 million euros now made available for the IGF for 2021 are an important step in the right direction in view of the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The Federation of Industrial Research Associations “Otto von Guericke“ eV is the research network for the German Mittelstand. It promotes research, transfer and innovation. As the umbrella association of 100 non-profit research associations with more than 50,000 member companies and 1,200 participating research institutions, it makes an important contribution to sustainably strengthening the competitiveness of Germany’s industry. The AiF, as a non-profit association, organises the Industrial Collective Research (IGF) programme of the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and, via AiF Projekt GmbH and AiF F∙T∙K GmbH, its wholly-owned subsidiaries, manages other public funding programmes. Since its foundation in 1954, the AiF has channelled around 12.5 billion euros in public funding into new developments and innovations and initiated more than 230,000 research projects.
The FVV has been a full member of the AiF since 1956.
After all, despite the good news, not all of the projects that were rated as " highly promising and qualified" by the more than 200 independent reviewers could be realised due to the limited budget. This requires a medium- to long-term solution, Bauer emphasised. "A stable and thus continuously growing strengthening of the IGF's budget would be desirable. It would provide planning security for all parties involved - for small and medium-sized enterprises, RTD organisations and associations and last but not least also for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy itself - with even stronger effects on innovative power, competitiveness, jobs and also tax revenue," said the AiF President. To this end, he proposed an "initiative to promote innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises", which should, among other things, provide for a definite annual increase in funding in favour of IGF and thus application- and transfer-oriented as well as technology-open research for the benefit of the German Mittelstand. Just like the "Pact for Research and Innovation", the state funding for Industrial Collective Research should also be permanently dynamised.
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