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Materials Innovation - an Investment for the Future

Materials are the driving force for innovative product developments in industry. They define the technological performance of industrial societies and improve the competitiveness of companies, reduce the ecological impact through an efficient use of ressources, and play an important role in medical care. Materials technologies, together with relevant areas in chemistry, nano technology, and process engineering, are of particular relevance for industry and society.

Some industrial sectors have an especially high relevance in the export drive of the German economy. Vehicle construction, mechanical engineering, the chemical industry, electrical engineering, information and communications technology, as well as the power industry together have a substantial part of Germany's trade balance surplus. All of these sectors profit especially from developments in materials research.

New results in materials research have significant effects on new products and production processes. They open up new markets and enable more efficient production. Not less important for production in Germany is that materials research can lead to enormous cost reductions in production. Materials make up more than 50 percent of production costs in manufacturing. Improvements in resources efficiency could lead to considerable competitive advantages.

Industry must transform innovations in materials into competitive products and processes. This holds true also for technical safety, sustainability and the conservation of resources.

Tailor-made materials

The understanding of the properties of materials and their systematic construction has been devoped over in the last 150 years together with with new methods in solid-state physics and chemistry. Ever since, new findigs have been used to suit materials to specific needs with a growing precision. Modern materials development is highly interdisciplinary: experts from  mechanical engineering, medicine, biology, and computer science are needed just as well as experts from chemistry, physics and materials sciences.

Since the 1970ies, the BMBF has been supporting materials sciences and selected areas in chemical engineering. Nano technology was added at the end of the 1990ies. The technological development and the coalescence of different research areas led to the integrationof the former programmes "Materials Research" and "MaTech - New Materials for Key Technologies of the 21st Century" as well as the research area "Chemical Technologies" into a new Programme.
  • Brückenkonstruktion

    Hightech Strategy

    WING - Materials Innovations for Industry and Society

    How flexible is an aircraft wing? Is the bridge stable, the material sufficiently robust? The properties of materials are essential for the form and function of many products and can be used to achieve specific purposes. Materials research goes one step further. It aims to develop materials with clearly defined new properties. Conductive plastics and ultralight composites are examples of new materials which enable completely new products. The WING programme combines traditional materials research with research on chemical technologies and materials-specific nanotechnology.
     read more: WING - Materials Innovations for Industry and Society
  • experiments with lasers in a lab

    Hightech Strategy

    Nanomaterials – small dimensions, huge effects

    Research in the area of nanotechnology deals with the smallest particles which make up all materials. A precise knowledge of their structure provides the possibility to tailor-make products to precisely match the requirements of their use: They protect cars from scratching, sanitary facilities from dirt and people from UV radiation. Furthermore, nanotechnology spurs innovations in many other areas.
     read more: Nanomaterials – small dimensions, huge effects

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© 09/02/2015 01:00 Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung