Networking and transfer

Collaborations, clusters and networks facilitate the efficient, comprehensive translation of research results into applications. Encouraging the mutual transfer of ideas, knowledge and technology between enterprises, universities, non-university research institutes and other social stakeholders strengthens Germany’s standing as an innovation hub.

Targeted initiatives that pool complementary expertise and resources in collaborations, clusters and networks facilitate the efficient, comprehensive translation of research results into applications. By encouraging the mutual transfer of ideas, knowledge and technology between enterprises, universities, non-university research institutes and other social stakeholders, these initiatives strengthen Germany’s standing as an innovation hub.

The Federal Government underpins the universities’ endeavours to introduce new cooperation strategies in the regions and provides support in establishing and developing innovative cooperation formats. This boosts the profile of German universities as attractive innovation partners for industry and society. Based on strategic programmes and guidelines, specific measures aim to reinforce and intensify the cooperation of universities and research institutes with industry and society. Together with the Länder, an agreement was signed to extend the Pact for Research and Innovation until 2020, thereby stepping up the networking and transfer activities carried out by science and research organisations. The Leading-Edge Cluster Competition, the go-cluster project and the Research Campus initiative all foster theme-oriented, results-based strategic cooperation between academia, companies and society. In order to fully utilise universities’ innovation potential, the BMBF launched the programme for research at universities of applied science, thereby supporting R&D alliances between universities and companies and encouraging the qualification of early career scientists.

The goal is to streamline and accelerate the transfer of research findings onto the market or into applications that benefit society. Closing the innovation gap between preliminary research findings and possible applications is a top priority in this regard. The BMBF’s VIP+ funding programme, Validation of the technological and social innovation potential of scientific research, assists researchers in validating the innovation potential of their research findings at an early stage in order to develop relevant economic or social applications. In early 2016, the BMWi pooled its patenting and standardisation activities in the Knowledge and technology transfer via patents and standards (WIPANO) measure in order to step up commercialisation and the technology transfer.

Integrating all German stakeholders involved in the innovation process in international knowledge flows and networks is crucial to upholding Germany’s competitiveness and capacity for innovation. Besides the go-cluster initiative, which seeks to internationalise regional innovation clusters, the Internationalisation of Leading-Edge Clusters, Forward-Looking Projects and Comparable Networks measure has been facilitating international networking activities since 2015.