The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is ramping up financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaging in national or international standards work.
Thus, the (Knowledge and Technology Transfer via Patents and Standards) technology funding programme is being expanded to cover personnel costs incurred for the purpose of participating in national or international standardisation bodies.
Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, said: “Those who are able to set standards have the best prospects of controlling the market. We must use this mechanism in order to ensure Germany’s global leadership in the field of forward-looking technologies. Therefore, we will step up our financial support for SMEs in order for them to be able to dispatch qualified professionals to actively participate in standardisation bodies.”
Standards help to shape technical rules for new forward-looking technologies such as artificial intelligence, Industrie 4.0 and the circular economy. Companies can use them to accelerate and support the market launch of new technologies and the market penetration of innovative products. In fact, the German economy as a whole stands to benefit from broader SME participation in standardisation processes and from the channelling of research findings towards standards work.
The Economic Affairs Ministry therefore supports companies in getting involved in national and international standardisation bodies (e.g. DIN, DKE, CEN, CENELEC, ETSI, ISO and ITU). The ‘Companies Standardisation’ funding priority aims to encourage SMEs in particular to provide their expertise and experience to actively participate in standardisation bodies and thus set standards themselves. For this purpose, companies will now be reimbursed for personnel costs – in addition to travel expenses.
The fixed-rate personnel costs reimbursement amounts to
- €1,000 for participation in a national standards body meeting,
- €1,500 for participation in a European standards body meeting,
- €2,000 for participation in an international standards body meeting.
The funding, which contributes to the implementation of the Industrial Strategy 2030, is targeted at SMEs and ‘Mittelstand’ companies that have never (or not within the last three years) taken part in standardisation bodies of recognised technical rule-makers.
Under ‘WIPANO – Knowledge and Technology Transfer via Patents and Standards’, the Economic Affairs Ministry has been providing an annual amount of roughly €22 million since 2016 to promote the transfer of technology and knowledge through patents and standardisation, helping to translate innovative ideas from universities and businesses into commercial applications.