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International Affairs

Solving global challenges together

As the National Academy of Science and Engineering, acatech’s work is focused on questions relevant for the future. But it is not just in Germany that academia, industry and civil society are thinking about how we will live, work, travel, and feed ourselves in tomorrow’s world. In accordance with its mission statement, which sets out acatech’s role as the legitimate voice of the technological sciences in Germany, the academy ensures that Germany’s voice is heard on the global stage.

SAPEA: European academies included in European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism

Since November 2016, the five European academy networks are part of the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism through the SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) project. Via the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors (HLG) the Commission asks the academies scientific questions relevant for  policy. They provide independent, interdisciplinary findings and options to these questions based on the latest scientific knowledge. The aim is to ensure the improved and timely incorporation of scientific knowledge into the policymaking process at European level. The five European academy networks Academia Europaea, ALLEA, EASAC, Euro-CASE and FEAM bring together the expertise of more than 100 academies across Europe.

In November 2017, the academies published their first Evidence Review Report containing the scientific evidence and a range of policy options relating to Food from the Oceans. Experts from the academies are also working on issues such as carbon capture and utilisation and authorisation processes for plant protection products. SAPEA has also published Guidelines on Advising Policymakers and Society and Procedures for Quality Assurance of Scientific Advice. In addition, SAPEA brought together representatives of academies from across Europe at meetings in Madrid and Bucharest to discuss best practices in the provision of advice to policymakers. The SAPEA project is funded through Horizon 2020 and coordinated by acatech.

The consortium partners include the European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE), which is chaired by acatech Vice-President Reinhard F. Hüttl. Euro-CASE’s work is spread across four platforms on the themes of innovation policy, bio-economy, climate and energy policy and engineering education. The innovation platform report Barriers to innovation and scale-up of innovative SMEs was published at the end of 2017. From 2018, the energy platform will be addressing the “Potential for future energy cooperation in Europe” under the chairmanship of acatech Member Eberhard Umbach.

Handover of the Scientific Opinion of the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors (HLG) and the SAPEA Evidence Review Report to the EU Commissioners for Research and Maritime Affairs on 29 November 2017 in Brussels. Front row, left to right: Poul Holm (SAPEA working group co-chair), Carina Keskitalo (HLG), Karmenu Vella (Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries), Rolf-Dieter Heuer (HLG), Carlos Moedas (Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation), Günter Stock (ALLEA); back row, left to right: Janusz Bujnicki (HLG), Dag Aksnes (SAPEA working group co-chair), Pearl Dykstra (HLG), Sierd Cloetingh (Academia Europaea).


Academies around the world: Technology for social progress

acatech is a member of the international academy association CAETS – Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences. Its main involvement is as a member of the Energy Committee, which addresses issues connected with the global energy supply. In November 2017, acatech took over the leadership of the Committee together with responsibility for coordinating the 4th Energy Report.

As well as its work programme, acatech also supports CAETS’ strategic development. For example, acatech Vice-President Reinhard F. Hüttl addressed the CAETS symposium “Challenges of the Bioeconomy” in Madrid in November 2017. Furthermore, acatech Member Frank Behrendt sits on the CAETS Board of Directors where he provides input to the Council’s future work programme and development.

Strategic network

acatech continued to expand its international strategic networks during 2017. Together with the MÜNCHNER KREIS and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), the academy organised the “Second Sino-German Workshop on Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Industry” as part of the International Forum on Innovation and Emerging Industries Development. Both events were held as part of the 2017 Shanghai Industry Fair. The workshop revealed that the two nations still have different priorities with regard to implementing the digitalisation of industrial manufacturing processes. The topics of international cooperation and global standards were also addressed.

acatech President Henning Kagermann and acatech Members Günther Schuh and Michael Dowling gave presentations at the workshop. Other events in Shanghai included a workshop of the Sino-German Company Working Group Industrie 4.0 and Intelligent Manufacturing (AGU4.0), the Accenture Innovation Roundtable – Beyond Industrie 4.0, a meeting with Guang-Chang Guo, founder and Chairman of FOSUN, and a meeting with the President of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

acatech was also able to consolidate its good relationship with the National Academy of Engineering of Korea (NAEK) during 2017. acatech President Henning Kagermann and NAEK President Oh-Kyong Kwon held joint discussions at a meeting in March. Additional, in his capacity as Global Representative and Advisor of the Platform Industrie 4.0 for the Federal Republic of Germany, Henning Kagermann met with the responsible minister in May to discuss the development of the digital transformation in Korea.

At the acatech-NAEK Conference held in Seoul in September, Henning Kagermann and Korean and German representatives of academia, industry and government spoke about the path towards Industrie 4.0. Henning Kagermann also took the opportunity to meet with South Korea’s Minister of Science and ICT, You Young-Min. The trip also included a visit to the Blue House, the official residence of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a German-Korean workshop on the fourth industrial revolution, and a roundtable dinner on Industrie 4.0 and electric mobility. Further meetings between acatech and Korean enterprises, scientists and government officials took place in August and October. 

Since 2016, acatech has been cooperating with the UN World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. The WFP Innovation Accelerator fosters high-potential project ideas and supports their implementation from the testing stage right through to their deployment at local level. acatech and the UN World Food Programme wish to work together to promote disruptive food security technologies. At a workshop in June 2017, participants discussed renewable energy systems for post-emergency settings with WFP engineers and project managers.

At an acatech am Dienstag (acatech on Tuesday) event in September 2017, the WFP Innovation Accelerator’s Bernhard Kowatsch and Nina Schröder discussed technology innovations in the fight against hunger with Undersecretary Konrad Schmid, Head of Section for Key Agricultural Policy Questions at the Bavarian Ministry of Agriculture, and Joachim Herbold, Senior Underwriter at Munich RE’s Agro & Weather department. In November 2017, acatech President Dieter Spath attended the WFP Innovation Accelerator Pitch Night organised by the WFP Innovation Accelerator at Google’s Munich office. Start-up teams from around the world presented their ideas on the second UN Sustainable Development Goal of “Zero Hunger”. 

In addition to the development and expansion of strategic networks and partnerships, the academy also held a number of other meetings with international stakeholders. These included meetings with the Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade (February 2017), with a delegation from Guangdong, China (May 2017), and with representatives of Toyota (November 2017). acatech will continue to expand its international activities as the voice of the technological sciences for the issues that fall within the academy’s remit.