Session 1: Policy and Practices on Innovation-driven Growth

Impulsvortrag von Herrn Staatssekretär Dr. Georg Schütte anl. G20 STI Ministers Meeting in Peking

Germany welcomes the efforts of the G20 to intensify the innovation policy activities of the countries involved and thus consolidate growth in these countries. During the recent global economic crisis, Germany learned that a targeted innovation policy is needed to get back on the growth track in times of crisis in particular. An increase in state investments in research and development can compensate for the drop in private R&D investments due to cyclical factors. Regulatory measures can create a budget-neutral environment for entrepreneurial behaviour which is more conducive to innovation and thus stimulate additional efforts in this field. But state investments need sufficient legitimization, particularly in economically difficult times. Innovation policy must therefore continuously demonstrate the societal value added of an active innovation policy. 

A successful innovation policy requires a strategic approach which actively involves all the important innovation stakeholders. The real innovators are not the political decision-makers but the companies and research institutions in our respective countries. We must involve them in our policies and motivate them to conduct more and better coordinated innovation activities. Germany can look back on 10 years of experience in this context under its High-Tech Strategy. We are happy to share our experience with our G20 partners. The approach taken by the High-Tech Strategy focuses on global challenges on the one hand and, on the other hand, encourages intense coordination activities between all the relevant players in innovation as well as civil society representatives. We have been steadily developing this strategy over three legislative periods now and would like to contribute our experiences to the exchange with our G20 partners. 

We are currently also seeing an intense debate in Germany about how businesses in particular can be encouraged to be more pro-active in the field of innovation. Small and medium-sized businesses, which are a mainstay of our national economic and innovation system, must be encouraged to once again step up their innovation activities. The challenges we are facing – for example, the digital revolution – are causing upheavals which are not always easy for small and medium-sized businesses in particular to tackle and which call for more R&D activities. Germany is not the only country where state actors are asking themselves how they can involve SMEs in particular more extensively in their respective research funding programmes. These challenges are common to all the G20 countries. That is why we are interested in a close exchange and are supporting platforms such as the OECD's Innovation Policy Platform in order to develop a joint knowledge base for effective approaches to funding and evaluation.

We all have found very different answers to the many challenges currently facing us in innovation policy. The policies of the G20 states have already converged on certain points. In other words, the exchange of experiences has led to the introduction of similar sets of tools. However, there are still a number of national particularities. Unlike most other G20 countries, Germany has not yet introduced a fiscal R&D policy. That is why we are all the more interested in hearing about the experiences of the other G20 countries in implementing various forms of fiscal R&D policy.