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Germany: Launch of initiative to create regional innovation clusters

As part of its “High-tech Strategy 2025”, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) announced on 14 August the launch of a new programme for the support of regional innovation clusters. The initiative is to complement the country’s “excellence strategy” and its various “science pacts”. The initiative is to improve Germany’s capacity to transform ground-breaking research results speedily into innovations which improve the financial and social well-being of the population. For while Germany is known for its high-quality research, its record in translating research findings into innovative products and services is not half as good. Announcing the programme, Minister Anja Karliczek stressed that bold action was required to improve the speed of technology transfer for the benefit of the population and the corporate world. The initiative is targeting particularly the key future themes, such as, for example, new forms of mobility and communication; work and life; customised approaches in medicine; and a resource-friendly economy.

The BMBF intends to fund the initiative, which has a ten-year perspective, with up to EUR 450 million. Applicants are expected to provide co-funding of 20% in the first three-year cycle. In the following funding cycles, the share goes up to 35% and 50% respectively. This way, overall funding will be not far under EUR 1 billion. Each innovation cluster can expect funding of up to EUR 5 million per year.

There will be three successive calls. In each round, there will be a two-stage selection procedure, at the end of each six or seven regional clusters will be chosen for funding over three years. Funding is in principle renewable, provided the consortium can show good results. The maximum duration of funding is nine years. The innovation clusters will be composed of universities, other research centres, companies and other societal actors in a particular region.

More information here (in German only)