On 3 September 2014, the Federal Cabinet adopted a new German High-tech Strategy entitled "Innovation for Germany". The strategy aims to ensure coherence within Germany's innovation policy, and to strengthen prosperity and economic growth in Germany. It places a strong focus on speeding up the transfer of scientific findings into marketable products, processes and services, as well as on improving the overall environment for innovation. To this end, the German government invested 14 billion euros in 2014 and is investing just as much this year. This marks a continuation of the upward trend regarding forward-looking investments.

The new High-tech Strategy defines five priorities, which will be of particular relevance for future growth and prosperity in Germany: the digital economy and society, sustainable management and energy, innovation within the world of work, healthy living, smart mobility, and civil security. In parallel, the strategy sets out the goal of developing new instruments to speed up the process of translating scientific findings into specific applications. These measures include those of fostering cooperation between industry and academia, the scientific organisations and the research institutes of the German government, and supporting SMEs, cutting-edge research clusters, and related networks as they seek to engage in international cooperation. The "go-cluster" programme launched by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will continue to support the internationalisation of regional innovation clusters. The German government will support projects that see the business and science communities cooperate in fields like electric mobility and digital manufacturing (Industrie 4.0). SMEs are very much the focus of the government's efforts to promote innovation - notably the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) and the programme for Joint Industrial Research, which are both technology-neutral.

The German government is also working to further improve the policy environment. The ambition here is to adjust the existing rules on conformity assessment and accreditation, market surveillance, metrology, and standardisation and to harmonise them internationally. These changes have the added benefit of helping to bring down non-tariff barriers to trade that stand in the way of German companies wanting to export their innovative goods and services.

The High-tech Strategy also reflects the decision by the German government to do more to get the public involved in the innovation process, with greater attention being given to public participation, citizens' readiness to embrace new technologies, and social innovation. The German government is re-thinking the way in which it is providing funding for research so as to ensure greater transparency and coherence.

This work is being carried out in consultation with the High-tech Forum an advisory body on innovation policy composed of 20 experts from science and academia, the corporate world, and civil society. The Forum is chaired by Professor Dr Dr Andreas Barner, President of the Stifterverband (Donors' Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany), and by Professor Dr Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer Society. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is represented by State Secretary Matthias Machnig.