The key focus fields of Saarland’s current research and innovation policy are the result of renewing its Regional Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation.

As a central element of the Land’s further development and organisation, the Innovation and Technology Strategy Saarland (2016–2023) plays a major role in the evolution of innovation potential in new and traditional sectors. Along with other approaches, like university development planning, the new Innovation Strategy is being combined to form an overarching concept for the future of Saarland.

Besides boosting and enhancing research at the universities and non-university research institutes, the Strategy focuses on

  • stimulating private R&D and other innovative activities
  • increasing real net output ratios
  • generating cross-innovations in the region’s key sectors of ICT, Automotive/Manufacturing and Life Sciences and Materials.

The main priorities in these fields include Industry 4.0 and the digitalisation of production, computer science (e.g. IT security, reliability of IT systems, visual computing, Semantic Web), intelligent sensor and transport systems, production/manufacturing technology and assembly processes, pharmacy and pharmaceutical services, medical technology (e.g. laboratory technology, cryobanking, neuroscience), personalised medicine, healthcare and Ambient Assisted Living, materials science and material technology.

In recent years, Saarland has gone to great lengths to strengthen the universities in line with the requirements of highly competitive research, excellent teaching and the structural change in the region. The new university development plan outlined fundamental decisions for the development of the higher education system until 2020.

Furthermore, considerable non-university research potential has come to the fore in Saarland over the past 20 years. Having evolved from the universities’ key areas of focus, the research institutes still maintain close ties with them.