Challenges and Results

International Affairs

World-wide knowledge networks for global issues of the future

As a hub for innovation, Germany is closely integrated in international interdisciplinary knowledge networks. Its international activities have enabled acatech to intensify numerous European and international networks in the past few years. In these networks, a variety of partners from academia, the industry and social groups work together, intensifying cooperation and launching new projects.

Scientific Advice Mechanism: Scientific policy advice in Europe

In May 2015, the European Commission decided to include the academies as an independent pillar into the new mechanism for providing scientific advice, the so-called Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM). The cooperation between the academies follows the example of the German model of cooperation in the Coordinating Committee of academies. acatech will be coordinating the cooperation at the European level. In the Research Framework Programme "Horizon 2020", the Commission will provide 6 million euros to fund the provision of independent, science-based policy advice from the academies in Europe over the next four years.

This decision was preceded by a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a closer inter-academy cooperation in Europe, signed in March 2015 by acatech President Reinhard F. Hüttl in his role as President of the European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE) and the respective Presidents of the European Academy Networks Academia Europaea, ALLEA, EASAC and FEAM. With around 100 member academies from all over Europe, each of which assembles hundreds of scientists from various disciplines, the Academy Networks are well placed to offer independent science-based policy advice to the European institutions.

[] © European Union, 2010

"I am very pleased that the European academies are joining forces to offer the European Commission independent, interdisciplinary scientific advice with view to supporting European policy development. We are looking forward to working together constructively."

Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of the DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the European Academy Networks in March 2015

Commitment in Academy Networks: Sharing the experiences with the German energy transition

The work of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences CAETS revolved around the fields of energy supply, mobility and health technologies. acatech was particularly involved in the working group "Energy". The focus of the group was given to the “Opportunities for Low-Carbon Energy Technologies”. In this context acatech explained the German strategy to realise sustainable energy systems and underlined its conviction that the expansion of renewable energies can confidently be promoted even though adequate storage systems are still to be developed: Flexible producers such as biogas and natural gas power plants could indeed compensate for fluctuations in the power supply in the next ten to twenty years.

acatech also continued the cooperation with the Falling Walls Foundation for the seventh year running. At the occasion of the "Falling Walls" conference, acatech closed ranks with the Presidents of the National Sciences Academies and of the National Academies of Engineering Sciences from the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and France as well as with the Presidents of the European Academy Networks Academia Europaea, ALLEA, EASAC, Euro-CASE and FEAM in order to give impulses for science-based policy advice in the European context. Their according suggestions are taken into account in the processes of policy consultation for European institutions.

Promoting smart cities in emerging countries: cooperation with India and China

In addition to its commitment in the various Academies’ associations, acatech has strengthened its relations with other Academies of Science and Engineering and further selected institutions such as foundations and think tanks in Europe and worldwide. The deepening of cooperation with the Chinese and Indian counterparts in 2015 is exemplary for acatech’s efforts to expand its network beyond the European context. A Memorandum of Understanding between acatech and the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) dating back to 2012, was extended for another three years in order to continue cooperation in the fields of information and communication technologies and urban development. Only recently, German scientists and their Indian colleagues at the INAE conducted a study assessing the potential of Industrie 4.0 for emerging countries. Their conclusions are promising: Successfully integrated into the respective industrial and economic system, Industrie 4.0-technologies have the potential to foster economic growth and ensure environmental compatibility in emerging countries. They can also relieve urban mobility systems and generate new jobs. The academies further elaborated proposals as to how the German development cooperation can effectively support emerging countries on their way into a new industrial age.