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Suggested Citation:"Closing Remarks." National Research Council. 2012. Meeting Global Challenges: German-U.S. Innovation Policy: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13488.

Closing Remarks

Alan Wm. Wolff
Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP
Chair, U.S. National Academies Committee
on Comparative National Innovation Policies

Mr. Wolff commented that the spirited exchanges of the roundtable signified both the uncertainties and the urgency of innovation policy, especially in regard to energy issues. He returned to a primary theme of the workshop, cooperation and competition between the two countries, and underlined the need for both if the technological and policy challenges are to be clarified and addressed. “I think today that Germany and the United States demonstrated how much we have to offer each other.” He closed by thanking his hosts in Berlin, and urging that the dialogue continue to support what turned out to be a “major undertaking.”

Klaus F. Zimmermann
Director, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Dr. Zimmerman closed the symposium with words of thanks and gratitude for the participants and organizers, and for the many informative talks packed into two days.

Looking beyond the symposium, he urged his colleagues not only to continue monitoring the issues raised during discussions, but also to give great attention to issues not much discussed, especially that of security, and how best to deal with catastrophes. He also emphasized importance of the service sector, on which much employment depends, and the employment consequences of innovation.

He concluded by urging both partner countries to maintain the “freshness of debate between and with the policy makers directly,” and to share and shape transatlantic responses to policy challenges. “What can the United States and Germany do together,” he asked, “to make the best contribution?”

Suggested Citation:"Closing Remarks." National Research Council. 2012. Meeting Global Challenges: German-U.S. Innovation Policy: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13488.
Page 174
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While nations have always competed for territory, mineral riches, water, and other physical assets, they compete most vigorously today for technology-based innovations and the value that flows from them. Much of this value is based on creating scientific knowledge and transforming it into new products and services for the market. This process of innovation is complex and interdisciplinary. Sometimes it draws on the genius of individuals, but even then it requires sustained collective effort, often underpinned by significant national investments. Capturing the value of these investments to spur domestic economic growth and employment is a challenge in a world where the outputs of innovation disseminate rapidly. Those equipped to understand, apply, and profit from new knowledge and technical advances are increasingly able to capture the long-term economic benefits of growth and employment.

In response to this new, more distributed innovation paradigm, the National Academies Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) convened leading academics, business leaders, and senior policymakers from Germany and the United States to examine the strengths and challenges of their innovation systems. More specifically, they met to compare their respective approaches to innovation, to learn from their counterparts about best practices and shared challenges, and to identify cooperative opportunities. The symposium was held in Berlin and organized jointly by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the U.S. National Academies with support of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the American Embassy in Berlin.

Both U.S. and German participants described common challenges on a wide variety of issues ranging from energy security and climate change to low-emissions transportation, early-stage financing, and workforce training. While recognizing their differences in approach to these challenges, participants on both sides drew out valuable lessons from each other's policies and practices. Participants were also aware of the need to adapt to a new global environment where many countries have focused new policy measures and new resources to support innovative firms and promising industries. Meeting Global Challenges: U.S.-German Innovation Policy reviews the participants meeting and sets goals and recommendations for future policy.

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