The interdepartmental German High-Tech Strategy, as laid down by the federal government in 2006 and 2010, represents the foundation for the successful promotion of research and development. Furthermore, in 2008 the German federal cabinet adopted a strategy to strengthen the internationalisation of science and research, with an increased presence of German research in significant partner countries. After the USA and alongside the UK and France, Germany is by far the most important cooperation partner of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. APRA is rapidly growing in importance for both Germany and Europe as a whole. In a few years' time its significance will be similar to that of North America. It is therefore incumbent upon German research policy to encourage and benchmark the collaborative relationships with the APRA countries in terms of research and technology development, using relations with the USA as an example.
This is the focus of a special funding programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF): 'Conceptual and preparatory measures of German universities to establish joint research presences with partners in the Asia-Pacific region'.
The aim of the funding programme is to establish long-term research presences with top research facilities in the target countries Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea Republic, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The objective is to achieve an improved visibility of German scientific excellence in the partner countries and a joint contribution to boosting the innovation systems both in Germany and the partner countries to their mutual benefit. This will strengthen the internationalisation of research in Germany.
Since 2009, the BMBF has been funding these structural partnerships with 5 call announcements so far. 26 joint research platforms with top institutes in Asia and Oceania were established between 2009 and 2015.
Newly funded projects 2017 to 2019
The 5th BMBF announcement on the establishment of joint research centres in Asia and Oceania in the fields of health research and medical technology, sustainable cities, renewable energies and energy efficiency, as well as environmental and water technologies, highlighted a tremendous interest in the German scientific landscape: The DLR Project Management Agency received more than 160 project sketches. From this large selection, 27 projects were picked for funding. They are starting between August and October 2017. During the first (build-up) phase, which is funded with EUR 100,000 per year for two years, the research projects are developed and etablished with the partners. Thus, the BMBF is already investing € 6.25 million in the establishment of research presences during the initial phase. After an evaluation by an expert panel, the most promising projects receive funding for the 3-year consolidation phase, each with a budget of 150,000 euros per year.
Funded projects by country: