Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been promoting the development of international networks and professional clusters for a number of years. The aim is to share knowledge and meet the research and commercial challenges of innovation beyond regional boundaries.
“The key to more innovation is networking with strategic partners in our own country as well as abroad. We have to bundle the innovative skills of science and industry across borders, contributing on all sides to greater potential for innovation and prosperity. The outcome is a win-win situation for innovation in German and international regions, and that is exactly what we want to achieve with our funding,”
said Federal Research Minister Wanka.
“This ranges from cooperating with Finnish partners to working with intelligent technical systems and lightweight construction in Australia. You also feel the great interest in all the participants.”
said Margret Wintermantel, President of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and chairman of the selection board.
In a comprehensive research report accompanying the project “Internationalisation of Top Clusters, Future Projects and Comparable Networks” the knowledge about international research and innovation co-operation as well as the experiences from the projects are scientifically reviewed and linked back to the participants in order to create a “learning program”. It examines how networks develop at various levels from the researchers involved, about the companies and research facilities to the management organisations, and how these levels are linked. The accompanying research also examines the way in which a virtual cluster academy can be used to link training requirements and offers and how innovative educational concepts of blended learning for cluster and network management could look.
For example, how can modern cabin technology improve noise and fire protection for passengers on a plane? The top cluster, Hamburg Aviation, will be researching this together with partners from the aeronautical area of Quebec / Montreal in Canada.
How and for which new applications will future flexible, transparent solar foil made from organic materials be produced? Here the Organic Organic Saxony network will work together with Japanese partners.
These are two out of 22 examples of how top German clusters and future projects, supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), have strategic partnerships with European partners with innovation-boosting countries such as South Korea in Asia and other top regions of innovation.
A further ten projects have now been selected for funding and will open up opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in international innovation and knowledge processes.
The start of international cooperation is scheduled for 2018. For this purpose, the selected clusters and future projects receive up to four million euros of funding each for a period of up to five years. These ten clusters and networks were selected for the new round of the “Internationalisation of Top Clusters, Future Projects and Comparable Networks” initiative:
- AMZ Sachsen – Network of the automotive suppliers of Saxony, “Transatlantic Automated Driving Alliance (TADA)”
- BIO.NRW, “NRW-China Collaborations: A Strategic Perspective for Innovative Life Science SME Value Chains”
- CFK Valley, Stade – Norddeutschland, “Access to the Champions League of Carbon Composites Technology – especially for SMEs”
- Cluster Mechatronics & Automation, Bavaria, “Industrie 4 Additives”
- DeepSea Mining Alliance, nationwide network, “Further internationalization and new cooperation projects for environmentally friendly international deep-sea mining according to European technology and environmental standards”
- EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr, “Networking International: Digital Hubs for Logistics Innovations in Europe (DELIE)”
- Forschungscampus ARENA2036, Stuttgart Region, “ARENA2036plus – international networking of top research on the campus”
- ResearchCampus OpenHybrid LabFactory, Wolfsburg, “OpenHybrid LabFactory – Asia Pacific: Development of complementary competencies in the value chain for hybrid and functionally integrated lightweight construction”
- It’s OWL – Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe, “European Alliance to Ensure the Top Position for Intelligent Technical Systems”
- Optence, Rhineland-Palatinate / Hesse, “Internationalization for Joint Innovation in Photonics”
Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).