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Research Summit 2018

April 17th, 2018, 9.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Allianz Forum, Pariser Platz 6, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Innovations in Germany and Europe –
Opportunities and Limits of Policy-Making

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Participation by personal invitation only

The aim of the Research Summit 2018 is to come together to formulate answers to some of the most pressing questions in German research- and innovation policy. Should the government think of itself as a visionary and innovator (an entrepreneurial state)? Why does German enterprise not generate radical innovations? Can today's EU still have an influence by taking initiatives in innovation policy?

As in previous years, it is imperative to jointly develop perspectives for the future of the German research and innovation system, and to provide orientation for strategic decisions in anticipation of the coming legislative periods and the next EU Research Framework Program. The Research Summit provides the appropriate framework for this demanding undertaking: as an international arena for critical and constructive dialogue, as an interdisciplinary forum for reflection and brainstorming, and as a lively venue for networking.

Future Prospects: Research- and Innovation Policy in Germany and Europe

The German research and innovation system has been developing in a positive direction for years. Moreover, Germany’s economic growth generates the resources needed in order to systematically develop the research and innovation system. This solid foundation should be used to make strong and courageous decisions on the future trajectory of German research- and innovation policy and to develop Germany’s future perspectives. It must be understood that this path will extend well beyond one legislative period: the great societal and technological challenges represent not only a long-term task for science, business, civil society, and politics, but also require a joint strategic approach for the future. The Research Summit 2018 is the forum for presenting Germany’s research- and innovation-policy prospects and for discussing their realization.

Inner Circle 1
The German research and innovation system is very well positioned by international comparison. In addition to a booming economy and a sound national budget, there is a broad consensus on many matters of research policy – be it on the 3.5 percent target, on R&D funding for SMEs through tax credits, or on the rising importance of venture capital. The conditions are good for using the next years not only to implement decisions that have already been made, but also to develop new, far-reaching perspectives and political initiatives; these good prospects must not be wasted by sitting back waiting. The Research Summit 2018 will provide the first opportunity for representatives from science, business, civil society, and politics after Germany’s federal elections to present their visions on the further development of the German research and innovation system in a broader setting and to jointly develop additional perspectives. This will also include the presentation of technoscience scenarios developed by science-fiction authors and futurologists, which are not usually featured in the context of policy development in research and innovation. 

Inner Circle 2
One key challenge facing Germany is how to deal with radical innovations. Recently, these have been generated almost exclusively in other countries. Although Germany’s specialization in evolutionary and low-risk innovations in established industries and services is partially responsible for the country’s good economic situation, Germany would be running a massive risk if it were to close itself off from radical new technologies and failed to participate in their further development. In such a case, Germany would risk the loss of established industries without profiting from new, lucrative industries and services. Although this threat has been recognized, there is no strategy for counteracting this problem. The Research Summit 2018 offers leading actors in science, business, civil society, and politics a platform on which to discuss the development of such a strategy. 

Inner Circle 3
The German research and innovation system is not only the largest in Europe, it is also Europeanized to a considerable degree. Major decisions on direction and changes of the German system of innovation are thus also taken within the European structure of institutions. The fact that this institutional structure is in the midst of a major crisis makes the task of coordination more difficult. In view of shifts in economic power towards Asia, the debt crisis, and Brexit, Germany has to urgently develop perspectives together with its European partners on how European research and innovation policy can be successfully continued. In this matter, the Research Summit 2018 will bring the most important German and European actors together in one panel.

Summit Format

The Research Summit 2018 will take place over an entire day. The format of Inner- and Extended Circles ensures the comprehensive involvement of decision makers, experts, and thought leaders.

The Inner Circle consists of the Summit's key figures and providers of input. It is placed at the centre of the rotunda and form the event's core: the discussion arena. The participants making up the Inner Circle are chosen in relation to the three main topics which are presented in more detail below in the program. 

The Extended Circle comprises all the invited guests who do not belong to one of the Inner Circles. They can contribute to the discussion with questions, comments or ideas. Outside the venue itself, all interested people can also follow the speeches and discussions by livestream and post questions via Twitter.

Preliminary Line-up

9.30 a.m.

10.30 a.m.
Opening remarks of the event partners

10.40 a.m.
Inner Circle 1: Perspectives for German Research- and Innovation Policy
Key questions:
⦁ What goals should German research- and innovation policy pursue? 
⦁ Do we need a state that sees itself as a visionary and innovator (entrepreneurial state), or does such a state stifle creativity and incentives for private actors? 
⦁ Can social innovation and new forms of participation contribute in a measurable way to solving social challenges, or is this politicians' wishful thinking?

12.00 a.m.
Lunch Break

1.15 p.m.
Inner Circle 2: Evolutionary vs. Radical Innovation: New Opportunities for Germany?
Key questions: 
⦁ Why do German businesses not generate radical innovations? What are the benefits and pitfalls of concentrating on evolutionary innovation? 
⦁ Must Germany generate radical innovations itself, or can they be “imported”? 
⦁ Is the existing framework of innovation policy suitable for fostering radical innovation, or does it merely perpetuate established structures?

2.55 p.m.
Coffee Break

3.20 p.m.
Inner Circle 3: Enhancing Europe. What goals do we pursue in Europe?
Key questions: 
⦁ Is the EU a suitable instrument for implementing new innovation-policy initiatives, or does it stand in the way of new political solutions? 
⦁ Which research- and innovation-policy challenges should be tackled at the EU level, and which at the national level? 
⦁ Does a European research and innovation policy have to be more strategically oriented? What should be its direction in times of debt crisis, renationalization, and Brexit?

4.50 p.m.
Closing Remarks

5.00 p.m.
End of the Summit

Updated August 30th, 2017



Dr. Sandra Bühre
T +49 201 8401-499