MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Mister President! Dear Ladies and Gentlemen! Dear colleagues! There is hardly a year in our history in which science and research have been viewed so closely. I am therefore pleased that we are talking today about the Federal Government’s report on research and innovation. Anyone who reads the report gets a good feeling for why a strong research location is so important here in Germany. The corona pandemic in particular shows us clearly how important it is to have a good research policy that works quickly in an emergency, that does not need a lot of time to set up research laboratories and recruit staff, but is immediately operational and provides good solutions based on scientific knowledge.
Without good research policy in the past, we would not have come through the crisis so lightly today, and that shows that we have done a good job here.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and delegate René Röspel [SPD])
We have top institutes, outstanding scientists, and we have the necessary research environment on site. The world’s first serious corona vaccine comes from Germany – we just heard it – from the BioNTech company based in Mainz, funded by the federal government; the couple is of Turkish origin. The partner is the US company Pfizer. We have people from all over the world who developed this vaccine
(Dr. h. C. Thomas Sattelberger [FDP]: Great entrepreneurs!)
both here with us and on the other side of the Atlantic.
But apart from Corona, our research location often receives good references. The report of the Expert Commission on Research and Innovation confirms that German research and innovation policy has had a positive dynamic in recent years. Germany is one of the world’s economies that invest the most in research. We invest over 3.1 percent of the gross domestic product in research.
(Applause from MPs of the CDU / CSU and MP René Röspel [SPD])
On the one hand, that is gratifying. For me it is also an incentive to pick up where we left off and to continue investing in the areas where our future lies. The report provides answers to this. If you read it carefully, you will see that you have to pick up the pace in certain areas in order to develop these areas further. I will give three examples:
First: finances. We invest a lot of money in research institutions and universities and promote research projects in the private sector. We invested over 104 billion euros in this area in 2018. Federal government spending on research and innovation – Ms. Bas has just listed them – has more than doubled compared to 2006. The Ministry of Research’s budget for 2021 speaks a clear language. For example, the planned funds for the national research data infrastructure will be increased from 25 to 55 million euros. The funds for the agency to promote leap innovations will be increased from 18 to 49 million euros. And we are increasing investments in the digitization of higher education, in research at universities of applied sciences, but also in vocational training. The goal by 2025 is to increase the share of investments in research and development to a level of 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product.
Second example: the pact for research and innovation. We are continuing the pact for research and innovation. We invest 3 percent more annually in this pact. We are investing a total of 120 billion euros over ten years. The transfer of research and innovation to business and society is also important. We need more dynamism here. That is why the transfer was set as a core objective in this pact. The central pillar here is good basic research. We create planning security and good framework conditions to keep bright minds in Germany and to win new ones for Germany. Only with bright minds can we continue to master the challenges of the future.
Third: tax support for research. The innovative strength of our small and medium-sized companies is particularly important. Family businesses in particular have a very high innovation potential. We want to leverage this potential through tax research funding. The corresponding law was initiated by the CDU / CSU together with the SPD in 2018, and it came into force on January 1, 2020. This means that 25 percent of the eligible expenditure in the area of “research and innovation” can be deducted from the companies. And during the crisis last summer we increased our funds from 500,000 euros to over 1 million euros. This is a targeted research policy and standard for us in order to generate a new dynamic here too.
The high-tech strategy bundles all these measures, which can only be listed here as examples, under one central roof. At an early stage, in 2018, we worked towards continuing the high-tech strategy for 2025 and promoting these same measures in research policy.
We need courage for the future. We have to look where there are fields of innovation. We have to look where innovation is necessary. We also have to ask ourselves where we can develop this further, where it is useful and how we can ensure that we continue to do well here in Germany and around the world. The answer to this crucial question will be how we can link basic research with applied research. What is important for this is a high-performance science system that strengthens teaching and higher education and produces scientific excellence. In doing so, the Federal Government relies on profiling and promoting excellence.
As a Union, we stand for freedom of science. We strengthen science with a good infrastructure. During the pandemic in particular, we saw that we had a very good infrastructure here. And we are equipping this infrastructure with good financial resources. We don’t know if and when which invention or innovation will benefit us, but we know that without innovation there is no progress and no future. That is why we at the Union are investing precisely in these areas.
My conclusion: first. Germany is well on the way to spending 3.5 percent of its gross domestic product on research and innovation by 2025. Secondly. We don’t pour the money out with a watering can, but invest purposefully in the future fields that, according to current scientific knowledge, can offer a solution to the most pressing questions of the future. So the report is good. We support this report.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and members of the SPD)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.