Innovation Policy and Transfer Design Unit

Future Prospects for German-Israeli Cooperation

News | Leipzig /

Israel and Germany have a long and close cooperation in the fields of research and innovation. Both countries complement each other in their research and innovation activities. On the occasion of an expert meeting of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF, a research team of Fraunhofer IMW presented interim results of the research project IntTransNet, which develops approaches for the further development of innovation policy approaches to promote international, applied research and development cooperation between science and industry.

Israel is considered an excellent, dynamic science and innovation location. With almost five percent of the gross domestic product, Israel has the highest research and development (R&D) intensity in the world and the Israeli academic system has produced numerous Nobel Prize winners. In addition, the more than 6,000 start-ups and a high density of R&D centers of multinational companies are representative of the dynamics and performance of the innovation system.

"Germany and Israel complement each other in their research and innovation competencies. This offers potential for strategic cooperation. In our research project IntTransNet, we support the transfer between research institutes and enterprises from Israel and Germany that cooperate in applied R&D projects using the so-called "2+2 model". We accompany and support several "tandems" in the development of innovation strategies so that German-Israeli research findings can be transferred into internationally viable products and services,"  explained Manuel Molina Vogelsang, project manager at Fraunhofer IMW and researcher in the Innovation Policy and Transfer Design Unit. On June 15, 2020, he and his project team presented interim results from the monitoring of the German-Israeli 2+2 projects at the expert discussion "Prospects for German-Israeli research and innovation cooperation" of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Research and Innovation in the Start-Up Nation

While Germany is known throughout the world for its distinctive engineering and high-quality production culture, Israel is known for its creative and experimental culture of innovation. Israel's innovation policy focuses on innovation, in particular by actively involving industry at an early stage in the exploitation of scientific findings - both regionally and nationally, as well as in international cooperation. Start-ups and multinational corporations in high-tech sectors play a decisive role. Companies from more than 60 countries search for sources of innovation, talent and develop networks in Israel. To this end, multinational corporations from the USA (about 80% of the R&D centers), Germany, France and Canada often operate large R&D centers in Israel.

For Israeli innovation policy, this development poses a central challenge: an excessive concentration on R&D activities in multinational hands and foreign investors can hinder development and knowledge-based value creation at a domestic level. The Fraunhofer IMW research team in Leipzig is therefore evaluating the opportunities and risks involved in order to enable successful German-Israeli cooperation in the collaborative projects.

In addition to several workshops with Israeli partners from science and industry, the research team is currently conducting interviews, focus groups and analyses. The project aims to optimize the innovation policy framework of German-Israeli research and innovation cooperation and to derive recommendations for international cooperation. Until September 2021, the researchers will be developing methods and instruments that will support small and medium-sized enterprises and research institutions in establishing long-term international research cooperations and in the sustainable international exploitation of scientific findings.