Challenges and Results

Dialogue with the political sphere and the public

Sharing knowledge – discussing prospects

Experts from academia, the industry and society develop sound concepts as input for the public and political debate – these are acatech's guiding principles as formulated in its new mission statement. In 2015, as before, acatech lived up to its principles, engaging in dialogue with politics, media and civil society through various channels and discussing pioneering technologies and structural conditions for innovation. Thus, the Academy helps to form the public opinion and supports political decision-making processes.

Politics meets science: Expertise on complex technologies

acatech has developed guidelines for its consultancy of political and social players. In March 2015, they were duly presented to the German Bundestag’s Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment along with the Academy’s current spheres of action. acatech started off the beginning of the parliamentary debate on the eHealth-Act with another "Lunch with acatech" in the German Bundestag in June 2015. Incidentally, acatech introduced this discussion series in the Bavarian Parliament a month later, discussing issues of education and work in the digital world with members of the Bavarian Parliament. Industrie 4.0 was also the subject of an expert discussion in the context of a motion on Industrie 4.0 and Smart Services, which the ruling coalition introduced in the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment in December 2015. Invited to participate, acatech President Henning Kagermann shared his expertise with the committee members. Experts of the Academy were further asked to expound on these topics in various interviews, guest features and media inquiries. The activities include acatech’s support of the WDR (the regional public service television station in North Rhine-Westphalia) shooting a documentary on Industrie 4.0, subsequently broadcasted by ARD and ARTE in April 2016. Other hearings in the German Bundestag to which acatech representatives were invited concerned bills on the fracking technology or on Smart Services. All in all, acatech’s 2015 stock includes discussions with more than 100 federal and regional MPs.

"Politicians regard acatech’s events for MPs as an integral part of their schedule. We are always happy to participate and discuss current technology policy issues with experts from science and industry."

Patricia Lips (CDU), Chairwoman of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment, at a meeting with members of the acatech Executive Board in spring 2016.

acatech President Henning Kagermann likewise addressed the political echelons and the industry as Chairman of the German National Platform for Electric Mobility (NPE). At the National Conference for Electric Mobility in June 2015 as well as in an article in the daily newspaper Handelsblatt, he expounded upon the market trend and launch of electric vehicles. In the second half of 2015, he was repeatedly questioned by the media as to the state of the market launch in Germany.

Discovering the future: Promoting interest in technology in various ways

The House of the Future (Haus der Zukunft) in Berlin offers a new space where the dialogue with the public on future-orientated technologies can evolve. In 2015, activities focussed on the definition of exhibition topics and of the conceptual framework of the exhibition. acatech has been actively involved in the process.

Under patronage of the Bavarian State Minister of Education, Science and the Arts, Ludwig Spaenle, acatech organises the school competition “Discovering Technology” which targets young people with a penchant for technology. The competition was launched in November 2015. Bavarian student teams from grades 6 to 9 are to shoot short videos explaining an aspect of technology in an illustrative and entertaining way. The prizes will be awarded in summer 2016. Appropriate to the target group, the competition has a Facebook-account and is available online at technik-entdecker.de.

Science online: contemporary formats for information and discussion

acatech likewise goes online with cooperation projects: At zukunft-der-industriearbeit.de, for instance, acatech and the Hans Böckler Foundation share the results of their joint workshop series on the Future of Industrial Work. The website presents practical examples as well as a short film showing the changes Industrie 4.0 will entail for employees.

This year's annual report is also adapted to new requirements. Like the newsletter TRANSFER, which has been published on a monthly basis and exclusively online since September 2015, acatech is publishing its review of 2015 online.

PUNKT PRIZE FOR TECHNICAL JOURNALISM AND TECHNOLOGY PHOTOGRAPHY. acatech's PUNKT Prize 2015 for technical journalism and technology photography was awarded as follows: The prize in the category Multimedia went to Thomas Reintjes and the team of the radio station Deutschlandfunk for their the multimedia report "1 or 0, life or death" on unmanned systems like robots or drones in warfare. Besides the relevance of the subject, the jury particularly praised the fact that the report uses different media channels. In the category Photography it was Karoline Tiesler who convinced the jury with her seven-part photo series "Snorers". The acatech Photography Grant was awarded to Konrad Lippert, a student of photojournalism.