"Making Innovation Strategies Work"

Speech by the State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Georg Schütte, at the OECD Ministerial Meeting in Daejeon/Republic of Korea

Dr. Georg Schütte, Staatssekretär im Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
Dr. Georg Schütte, Staatssekretär im Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung © Denzel, Jesco / BPA

President PARK (TBC),
Minister CHOI,
Secretary-General GURRIA,
Mr ISAKSEN (Chair),
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As globalization and digitalization forge ahead, we need new political strategies to adapt legal frameworks and deal with the international networking of science and innovation systems. This will enable us to achieve sustainable economic growth, create jobs and promote well-being in our societies. We must also work together to solve global challenges, particularly in the areas of environment and health.

Germany too has geared its research and innovation policy to address such societal issues. I would like to give you a brief introduction to the Federal Government's High-Tech Strategy which we are using to pursue this approach and then describe how it fits in with the OECD Innovation Strategy.

Germany's High-Tech Strategy was launched in 2006 as the new framework for German research and innovation policy. It unites all those involved in innovation in one common approach and is continuously being further developed. We have learned a great deal over the past 9 years. I would like to mention three points which I see as particularly important:

  1. We actually succeeded in setting a new course for our innovation policy agenda – away from a traditional orientation towards technological development and instead focussing on grand societal challenges to secure growth and quality of life.

The High-Tech Strategy focuses on six priority topics for future research and innovation. These are: digitalization, the sustainable economy and energy, the innovative workplace, healthy living, intelligent mobility and civil security. These efforts aim to bundle our strengths like a laser beam and create consolidated energy.

New financial priorities were set by making an unmistakable commitment to education, research and development as the sources of future growth. All the key stakeholders in Germany were part of this process, proving that it is indeed possible.

When it comes to global challenges, we can only find solutions together with others, particularly within Europe. The Federal Government supports the goals of both the Innovation Union and Joint Programming. We can put experience gained in Germany to good use in Europe.

  1. In the course of developing our High-Tech Strategy in Germany, we have begun to make systemic changes which also require systemic solutions. In the place of a great many individual measures, we now have a broad-based strategic approach which systematically takes the entire innovation chain into consideration – from the birth of a creative idea to its implementation in new products and services.

Our High-Tech Strategy focuses on major cross-cutting issues such as networking and optimum conditions for innovation, including the availability of skilled staff and venture capital. Furthermore, the High-Tech Strategy is tied closely to other Federal Government policies such as the Skilled Labour Strategy, the Demographic Strategy and the Sustainability Strategy.

3.      We have learned that closer cooperation between industry, science and government is a key to the success of our innovation policy. We have also learned that cooperation must be recast over and over again and needs the appropriate structures.

We have gained valuable experience in Germany with exchange and coordination platforms which bring together major players from industry, science and government as well as civil society representatives. This approach helped us to deal with a number of issues, including electric mobility, networked production and the City of the Future. We would be delighted to share this experience with our partners in the OECD.

The three aspects I have mentioned, namely the focus on grand societal challenges, a systemic approach and a new concept for exchange and cooperation, make German policy match well with the innovation approaches pursued by other countries.

Yet every country must build upon its own specific structures and experiences and find what works best for them. We should talk about these differences and common features.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides an important platform for strategic international exchange.

The new OECD Innovation Strategy highlights the great importance of innovation policy for securing growth. The strategy focuses on inclusive growth, that is, growth for the benefit of everyone. This is also an important aspect of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was recently adopted to provide for the world's future. And of course, it is an important point for the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris (COP21).

The OECD's new Innovation Strategy highlights the common challenges we are facing and sets out five priorities for a comprehensive approach to innovation policy. The strong focus on effective implementation of our innovation policies is an important aspect in this context. We have developed good ideas and concepts but implementation depends on joint action with numerous stakeholders.

The revision of the OECD manual for R&D surveys by the Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators is a good example of successful cooperation. The Frascati Manual, originally written in 1963, has meanwhile become the international standard of conduct for R&D surveys and data collection. Further standardization of R&D terminology in the updated manual promotes international harmonization and contributes to reliable statistics.

Germany supports the OECD's work based on the priorities of the Daejeon Declaration.

The Science Ministers of seven leading industrial nations, who met in Berlin on 10 October during this year's German G7 Presidency, committed to stepping up efforts to address global challenges in the areas of health, environment and energy. German Research Minister Wanka suggested that these activities should be linked more strongly with OECD work. This would enable us to solve global challenges in a truly sustainable way and in a concerted effort.

Thank you.