Final Report of the High-Tech Forum 2019–2021

Innovationpolicy: High-Tech Forum points the way to greater participation, sustainability and implementation strength
[21. April 2021] 

The High-Tech Forum has published its key recommendations for the future innovation strategy in Germany. Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research is a member of the central committee that advises the Federal Government on implementing the High-Tech Strategy 2025 and contributed to the report on the results. The Forum urges promoting and demanding greater courage and implementation strength in the service of the Sustainable Development Goals. It maintains that it is important to strengthen the mission-oriented policy approach. A broader innovation pact should help to bring more results of cutting-edge research into large-scale application. Spin-offs and start-ups from science need to be further encouraged and facilitated. Targeted deregulation and more experimental spaces would be as necessary as more effective participation formats.

With the help of technological and social innovations, Germany can and must achieve its ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, strengthen its resilience, and develop its future competencies. The High-Tech Forum sees the mission-oriented approach to innovation policy started in 2018 as important for this. Based on the experience gained, the High-Tech Forum proposes ambitious strengthening with regard to participation, as well as the effective promotion and governance of missions.

In view of Germany's innovation capacity and technological sovereignty, it stresses that better foresight and a critical market size or scaling of innovations would need to be achieved in Europe. Policymakers, business and science should commit to joint efforts in an innovation pact. The Forum urges mandatory funding frameworks based on the analysis of complete technology and competency architectures. Patchwork support measures should be avoided.

In addition, it highlights spin-offs and start-ups from science as key drivers for new technologies, structural change, and greater sustainability. Policymakers should provide stronger incentives for improving the start-up culture. With an initiative for freedom of technology transfer, the High- Tech Forum calls for a new political narrative, the elimination of goal conflicts, and encouraging framework conditions. Researchers should also be offered more incentives and freedom to collaborate with start-ups.

In addition to the five central topics of the Final Report, the joint development of an open, proactive and simultaneously precautionary innovation culture is a very important concern for the High-Tech Forum. The Forum organized two stakeholder dialogues with representatives from civil society, business and science. The proposals developed from them were recorded in an initial ideas paper agreed with the participants which is mentioned in the Final Report as a contribution towards further discussions.


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Marlena Witte