Germany wants EU to plug ‘innovation gap’

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The EU's new innovation strategy must do more to link research, education and entrepreneurship if it is to tackle Europe's "innovation gap", Dr. Georg Schütte, Germany's junior minister for education and research, told EURACTIV in an interview.

Germany wants to see the European Research Area anchored in the European Plan for Research and Innovation, and is pushing for less red tape as well as mutual recognition of common national funding procedures.

"We expect a clear commitment to the principle of excellence and to a simplification of procedures and reduced bureaucracy at national and European level," said Schütte, state secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

He also expressed optimism that discussions on priorities for the EU budget will result in more cash for research. The German federal government outlined its views in a guideline paper presented to the European Commission earlier this year.

For its part, Schütte said Germany is working to strengthen links between science and industry as part of its High-Tech Strategy 2020.

"This will enable the rapid and efficient commercial exploitation of scientific findings. [The strategy] will continue to promote exchanges between institutions of higher education, non-university research institutes and companies and will strengthen the process of knowledge and technology transfer. Research results can thus be translated more rapidly into innovations, both on the market and in society," he said.

Meanwhile, Schütte believes Germany will continue to spend more on research. Germany currently devotes 2.64% of GDP to science – the highest figure since reunification.

"This means there has already been an enormous boost and we are determined to keep the momentum in the next few years," said Schütte, adding that the 3% target set out in the Europe 2020 growth strategy is achievable.

To read the interview in full, please click here.

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