Emerging technologies are the basis for new products, processes and services which can contribute to mastering current social challenges. Without them, innovation would be unthinkable today. Our country's economic future depends on how effectively we use the opportunities linked to key technologies. The Federal Government wants to further strengthen Germany's top position in the field of technology within the framework of its High-Tech Strategy and wants to promote transfer of research results into business applications.
Information and communication technologies, optical technologies, production technologies, materials technologies, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, microsystems technologies and innovative services are considered to be drivers of innovations - above all in areas of application such as automotive engineering, medical technology, mechanical engineering and logistics. Developments in these key technologies provide solutions for the challenges of our time. Without them, we would have neither highly efficient, modern medical drugs nor a reduction of CO2 emissions in road traffic.
The Federal Government therefore continues to work towards the objective of enhancing Germany's top position in key technologies and to accelerate the implementation of research results in products, processes and services. At the same time, new fields of application are to be developed and the further development of lead markets is to be encouraged and promoted. The focus is on the fields of health, climate protection/the protection of resources/energy, security and mobility. Another focus is on innovative services. They increase the marketability of new technical developments and open new markets and opportunities for employment. Funding key technologies and innovative services is intended to strengthen Germany's position as system solution provider.
The competitiveness of production and jobs in Germany and the country's economic future in a knowledge-based society depend on how well we use the opportunities provided by key technologies and on whether transfer to industrial use is successful. There is great potential. In the following, there are some examples of the economic importance of industries that are linked to key technologies:
Information and communication technologies (ICT): 800,000 jobs in Germany currently provide for about a 145 billion euros turnover. The introduction of broadband Internet can create approximately 100,000 additional jobs in Europe each year.
Microsystems technology has seen a growth of about 15 percent p.a. over the past three years.
Optical technologies: Germany is world market leader in many fields of laser technology. Its world market share in high-performance lasers for materials processing, for example, is 40 percent. The light of the future - the LED - holds a world market share of 12 percent. Germany ranks second in this field.
Production technologies: 6,000 companies with over 975,000 employees accounted for a combined turnover of 205 billion euros in 2008. German mechanical engineers are world market leaders with a share of about 19 percent of trade.
Materials technologies: In Germany, five million people work in branches in which materials technologies play a role.
Biotechnology: An enormous increase in turnover can be expected in medical and industrial biotechnology. In the field of industrial biotechnology alone, the industry today boasts a turnover of about 50 billion euros worldwide. In ten years, a turnover of 300 billion euros is expected.
Nanotechnology: The worldwide market volume for 2015 is estimated at over one trillion euros.
Services industry: This is the biggest value adding area in Germany with over 27 million employees (70 percent).
The Federal Government is funding key technologies with numerous initiatives and measures under its High-Tech Strategy. These include: