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The Three Pillars Of Modern German Prosperity – Education, Research And Innovation

In recent years, the German Federal Government has moved research and innovation closer to the core of its growth policy. It has consistently given priority to education, research and innovation. The German Federal Government’s research and innovation policy measures were re-initiated and bundled together to form the High-Tech Strategy.


The central and local government reform initiatives the Excellence Initiative (Exzellenzinitiative), the Higher Education Pact (Hochschulpakt) and the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation (Pakt für Forschung und Innovation) have strengthened the performance capability of the German science system and made Germany even more attractive as a scientific location . This High-Tech Strategy, the reform initiatives and the strategy for the internationalization of science and research complement each other perfectly.


The following data and facts on the roadmap courtesy of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), (BMBF, 2010; BMBF, 2009):

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  • In 2007, absolute expenditure on R&D in Germany was higher than in any other country in Europe. Compared internationally, only the USA, Japan and China spent more on R&D.
  • According to preliminary calculations by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP rose to about 2.64% in 2008. This is the highest level since German reunification and a further step towards the 3% targeted of the Lisbon Strategy.
  • In absolute terms, total expenditure on R&D (government, industry and others) between 2005 and 2007 increased from 55.7 billion euros to 61.5 billion euros. This corresponds to an increase of approximately 10%. A further increase to over 65 billion euros was expected in 2008.
  • Central government expenditure on R&D increased from 9 billion euros in 2005 to 10.9 billion euros in 2008, a rise of around 21%. In 2009, central government expenditure on R&D increased further to 12.1 billion euros (target), a rise to 12.7 billion euros is planned for 2010.
  • Despite the uncertainty caused by the financial and economic crisis in 2008, German companies have increased internal expenditure on R&D, compared to the previous year, by 7% (to 46.1 billion euros). As a result, enterprises in Germany increased their annual R&D investments between 2005 and 2008 by around 19% (7.4 billion euros). Increases were recorded by large, small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Never before have so many people in Germany been employed in R&D: in 2008, the number of researchers, laboratory technicians and engineers employed in industry rose to 333, 000 (measured in full-time equivalents). Compared to 2005, this is an increase of almost 30 000 people.
  • The proportion of research-intensive products and services providing added value is more than 45% in Germany higher than in any other industrialized country. The USA, which was ahead in 2000, has now been surpassed. The German economy is excellently positioned in the global technology markets. The creativity and technological performance of those companies impressively demonstrates how new ideas can open up future markets and top international positions.
  • Statistics have proven that, by the end of 2008, there was a positive innovation climate: around 31% of companies can trace their innovation behavior back to central government’s improved research and innovation policies.

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