National Programme "The European Innovation Union“

With its national programme "The European Innovation Union – Germany’s Commitment to the European Research Area", the Federal Ministry of Education and Research continues to strengthen collaborative European research and innovation.

Close-up of a computer keyboard. Two oft he keyboard keys are coloured in blue: On one you can see the EU flag, on the other there is written the word „innovation“.

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The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s national programme provides additional financial support above and beyond Germany’s actual financial commitment to the European Research Area (ERA) itself. By doing this, it supports the enhancement of European networks and knowledge transfer structures. These measures increase the visibility of collaborative work within the European Research Area. The funding programme has a total volume of 40 million euro covering a five year period.

The Goals

Through this national programme, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports the development of the European Research Area into a true single market for knowledge. For an innovative and dynamic European Research Area, the Member States’ strong commitment remains the key to success. The importance of this is emphasised by the 2021 Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe and the 2022-2024 Policy Agenda. Between 2022 and 2024, the Member States will work together to implement the measures contained in the Policy Agenda.

By means of the national programme, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is already assuming responsibility for strengthening research excellence and close cooperation between science, industry and society within the European Innovation Union.

Fields of Action

With its various fields of action, the programme supports greater collaboration within the European Research Area, improves access to excellence and promotes cooperation with industry as well as dialogue with society, thereby strengthening the foundations of a genuine single market for knowledge. Intensified cooperation within the European Research Area is the prerequisite for the European Research Area to deliver decisive contributions to digital progress, global health care and green growth.

Enhancing the Potential of the Innovation Union: Expanding Networking, Spreading Excellence

The national programme promotes the engagement of German actors in and for the European Research Area and stimulates their strategic capability and networking, for example through the start-up financing for Horizon Europe. It gives German researchers the opportunity to advance their scientific work within European networks. In particular, the funding directive is aimed at excellent institutions without previous coordination experience in collaborative projects at the European level and in corresponding European networks.

Creating Progress from Shared Knowledge

Developing knowledge transfer structures is another priority of the funding programme. Only European cooperation can ensure sustainable competitiveness in key technological areas.

The foundations for a competitive European economy consist of joint strategic research and innovation agendas. For example, the agenda process on green hydrogen as a pilot initiative in the European Research Area has developed an agenda together with industry, research, politics and civil society from all over Europe and is supported by accompanying research within the framework of the national programme. The programme conveys a technologically sovereign Europe by promoting European research cooperation and networking specifically in the area of key technologies.

Strengthening the Dialogue Between Science and Society Across Europe

Science is of great importance to everyday life, society and the economy. Research is at the service of people. The European Research Area is an engine for innovation and change when science, business, society and politics work together in partnership. Gaining and disseminating knowledge as well as enabling and implementing innovations require the broad participation of all relevant stakeholders, including citizens, across national borders.

Joint European research and innovation are crucial for the transfer of scientific progress and, at the same time, long-term insurance for a sovereign, sustainable Europe. Anchoring the European Research Area in society and securing the commitment of researchers to it are the national programme’s goals. The Ralf Dahrendorf Award for the European Research Area, which honours convincing science communication, as well as the campaign accompanying the national programme among others are opportunities to increase the visibility of the excellence and added value of joint European research. They make science and the fields of application comprehensible in a European context, create recognition for researchers and strengthen the outstanding commitment on which a successful European Research Area thrives.