Deutschland und Australien starten Forschungs-Netzwerk

Australien und Deutschland wollen künftig in einem Forschungs-Netzwerk enger zusammenarbeiten. Er sei überzeugt, sagt Staatssekretär Rachel, das Netzwerk werde ein weiteres Kapitel in der seit vierzig Jahren erfolgreichen Kooperation beider Länder.

Thomas Rachel, Parlamentarischer Staatssekretär bei der Bundesministerin für Bildung und Forschung, während seiner Rede
Thomas Rachel, Parlamentarischer Staatssekretär bei der Bundesministerin für Bildung und Forschung, während seiner Rede © BMBF/Hans-Joachim Rickel

Grußwort des Parlamentarischen Staatssekretärs bei der Bundesministerin für Bildung und Forschung, Thomas Rachel (MdB), anlässlich des Starts des Australia-Germany Research Network am 20.11.2018 in Berlin.

Es gilt das gesprochene Wort.

Sehr geehrte Frau Botschafterin Wood,

Sehr verehrte Kolleginnen und Kollegen,

Meine Damen und Herren,

Vielen Dank, Frau Botschafterin, für die Einladung zur Auftaktveranstaltung des Australia-Germany Research Networks und die Möglichkeit in diesem Rahmen sprechen zu dürfen.

Australien und Deutschland sind seit mehr als vierzig Jahren starke und zuverlässige Partner, insbesondere in den Bereichen Bildung, Forschung und Innovation. Die Grundlage unserer Kooperation ist das Abkommen über die Zusammenarbeit in Wissenschaft und Technologie aus dem Jahr 1976.

Um möglichst viele Teilnehmer dieser Veranstaltung zu erreichen, werde ich nun in Englisch fortfahren.

Australia and Germany have been strong and reliable partners for more than forty years after the signature of the Science and Technology agreement in 1976 – particularly in the fields of education, research and innovation.

We have built an ever growing foundation of trust in our scientific communities over the last decades. This is a wonderful complement to our common value base. It includes a common understanding of the framework conditions for education and research, such as the freedom of science, strong autonomous universities and the rule of law, including intellectual property rights.

Although Germany and Australia are at opposite ends of our planet, they share many similar societal challenges. For example, we have

  • to face an ageing society
  • to tackle the challenges and want to exploit the possibilities of digitalization
  • and to develop our societies towards zero emissions economies.

Here, research and innovation already plays a significant role, and it will be even more important in the future. It is in our mutual interest to join forces in this regard and benefit from the excellent scientific communities and the outstanding facilities in both our countries.

Just four weeks ago, I had the chance to visit Australia with a delegation from my ministry to get a first-hand impression of the outstanding Australian research landscape and our already excellent and intensive collaboration. I remember the visit to the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where literally the whole room was full of German and Australian young scientists and an impressive number of joint published books were on exhibit. Everyone present sensed that this is an actively practiced cooperation – not just an MoU in our folders.

The scientists in our two countries already work together in an impressively wide variety of fields, which ranges from basic science to social science, and humanities to applied science with industry participation.

Of course this does not mean that we can now sit back or become complacent about what has already been achieved.

In 2012 Germany and Australia established a regular and structured dialogue at Government level to review our collaboration, to identify new possibilities for enhancing future joint activities and also to overcome hurdles.

During my visit four weeks ago we met with our Australian colleagues for the fourth Joint Science & Technology Meeting in Canberra. We agreed to focus our future activities in fields such as:

  • Research- industry linkages and innovation
  • Research infrastructures
  • Energy research with a special focus on hydrogen

… to name just a few.

Let me say a few more words about the field of energy research.

We need a sustainable energy supply to breathe life into the Paris Climate Agreement. But we cannot simply replace coal and gas with wind and solar energy. We must completely rethink energy supply, including industry, heating and cooling, and mobility aspects.

Whether for storage of renewables or its usage for mobility needs – "green" hydrogen is key to many of these approaches. But sustainable energy supply is a complex and ambitious task which we can only master by bringing together the brightest minds and best ideas. Here, we recognize Australia as a strategic partner with whom to join forces as we make our way to a "green" hydrogen economy.

Above and beyond this, our respective national strategies for R&D – the “High-Tech Strategy 2025” in Germany and the “2030 prosperity to innovation strategy” in Australia – both include many more areas where collaboration for the mutual benefit of our two countries makes a lot of sense.

Therefore, I really appreciate the initiative taken by you, Ambassador Wood and your team, to launch the Australia-Germany Research Network. It has already attracted a large number of people from universities, research and funding organizations as well as from the private sector.

As I already outlined at the beginning, trust is a necessary condition for any successful cooperation, not only in science. That’s why a network which promotes German-Australian cooperation, by providing

  • Information about ongoing and future activities
  • a platform for interested stakeholders to get to know each other, to exchange ideas and experience

is very useful and highly welcomed.

I am convinced that the network will help to add another chapter to our already 40 years of success.

Thank you very much for your attention.