Sharing Best Practices
Participants at the symposium identified many concrete areas where Germany and the United States can share best practices in innovation policy, such as funding initiatives, intellectual property rights, peer review, scientific exchange, public-private partnerships, and the role of NGOs. “It seems meaningful to ask: What is the state of affairs?” said Georg Schütte, Germany’s State Secretary for Education and Research. “How can we compare them? What can we learn from each other?”
innovation. In both countries, the universities, federal labs, and industrial laboratories conduct research that ultimately leads to breakthrough products and new companies. German and American counterparts work closely together to foster research and innovation. The Fraunhofer Institutes, for example, have seven research centers in the United States, and the Max Planck Society now has a Center for Bio-Imaging in Tampa, Florida. There are more than 50 bilateral cooperation agreements between individual institutions on topics ranging from earth sciences to energy physics to public health.
As strong and productive as this relationship has been, Ambassador Murphy said, it is desirable to reinforce and expand both long-standing and more recent connections. The relationship was given a more formal structure through a science and technology agreement signed by the two countries on February 10, 2010, which establishes a framework for further cooperation. The objective is to continue to identify and intensify relations in education and research, to coordinate joint research teams, and to interlink shared national priorities in science policy to the benefit of both sides.
Speakers from both the United States and Germany emphasized the importance of cooperation and mutual learning in the area of innovation policy. According Minister of State, Dr. Hoyer, the “complexity of global challenges means that cooperation and competition in innovation go hand in hand.” In addition, he said that both the United States and Germany “must give priority to research, science, and education.” “Only an innovation-friendly climate and technological progress will allow for sustainable growth, employment, and prosperity.” At the same time, speakers from both countries also recognized unresolved challenges on many issues, including energy security, carbon capture and sequestration, costs of solar energy and battery technology, smart grids, electromobility, patenting, technology transfer, and network neutrality.
Furthermore, as Carl Dahlman of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service told the symposium audience, Germany and the United States now share a “demanding, dynamic, and uncertain global environment” with big new players and many possible uncertainties, from another financial crisis to