Collage of images about energy research symbolizes the Research and Innovation Platform; Source: BMWi/Holger Vonderlind

© BMWi/Holger Vonderlind

The Research and Innovation Platform acts as an advisory body for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, hosting a dialogue on the strategic direction of energy research with the national stakeholders in the Federal Government and the business and scientific communities. With a view to facilitating the rapid market launch of new energy technologies and innovative procedures, the aim is to pinpoint how the various research activities in Germany can become better networked and used more effectively.

Plenary

The various interest groups - associations and selected companies, research institutes and the relevant ministries - convene in the plenary session of the Research and Innovation Platform. The plenary session meets at regular intervals to discuss the main findings of the working groups.

1st session of the Research and Innovation Platform

The inaugural meeting of the Energy Transition "Research and Innovation" Platform took place in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on 13 May 2015. The discussions centred on the structure of the new platform and the research activities and funding instruments. One main outcome was the appointment of a "Structure Task Force", which is to consider existing research structures of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and to draft proposals of where and how an overall systems analysis can take place. Also, there is to be a more detailed analysis of impediments to start-up companies in the field of research and innovation with a view to removing these barriers. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) presented the findings of the stakeholder process on the Strategic Research Agenda, including the "Kopernikus" large-scale research projects.

2nd meeting of the Research and Innovation Platform

The second meeting of the platform took place on 1 December 2015. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy reported on the following subjects: the current status of the budget planning for energy research, the restructuring of Directorate IIC, and on the results from the meetings of the Working Group on Start-ups on 9 June 2015 and of the Task Force on Structure on 3 September 2015. The report was supplemented by presentations and discussions on the activities of the individual research networks and on the new "Solar Construction / Energy-Efficient Cities" funding initiative. Jülich project management presented statistics on the funding activities of the Länder in the field of energy research, which are also available online. In addition, another new support programme entitled "Smart Energy - Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition (SINTEG)" was presented. The prime focus of this large-scale research programme is on smart networking between electricity producers and consumers, and on the use of innovative grid technologies.

3rd meeting of the Research and Innovation Platform

The 3rd meeting of the platform took place on 10 June 2016. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy highlighted the importance of the platform as a driver for the further development of the German Government's energy research policy. It also presented the newly established Division for Energy Research - General Issues and Strategy (IIC5). It was pointed out at the meeting that the role of the platform goes hand in hand with strengthening strategic planning processes in energy research. In this context, the focus in the future will be on forging synergies through co-operation at the interfaces to other programmes, and the role of the energy research networks as subject-based interfaces between research, application and policy-making will be reinforced. Subsequently, the new research network for energy efficiency in industry and commerce was set up. This was followed by reports on the existing research networks (for buildings, grids, renewable energy sources, power station technology, and energy system analysis). Finally, the Task Force on Structure reported on the conclusion of its work.

Start-ups Working Group

Following the first session of the Research and Innovation Platform, the Working Group on Start-up Companies held its first meeting on 9 June 2015. It identifies problems affecting start-up companies in energy research and innovation, and discusses possible solutions. The next meeting is scheduled for autumn 2015.

Task Force

The opening session of the Energy Transition "Research and Innovation" Platform decided to convene a Task Force consisting of up to 12 members. It is asked to draft proposals for where and how an overarching systems analysis can be undertaken in the platform context. The first Task Force meeting is taking place in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on 3 September 2015.