Research bonus for SMEs planned

Mrs Annette Schavan, who is German Minister of Education and Research, wants to introduce a bonus for SMEs engaging in research. She expects this bonus to give a fresh impetus to a close co-operation between research institutes and SMEs from 2007 on. The research bonus is considered as a very effective tool for the promotion of research in Germany and is supposed to motivate universities and other research institutions to do more research for small and medium-sized entities. The objective is to quickly turn research results into products to be commercialized on the markets, said Mrs. Schavan during the budged debate in the lower house of German parliament. The bonus is to amount to approx. 25 percent of the total order volume and is part of the High-Tech-Strategy initiative which will be discussed by the government in July.

The Confederation of German Engineers (VDI) wellcomed the research bonus announced by the Federal Ministry of Education and Reserach (BMBF) as an intelligent extension of well-tried tools for project promotion. According to the VDI, in the past many small and medium-sized entities had renounced to strengthen their market position by engaging in specific research. Now, however, they are obliged to seize the opportunity and invest more into research and development.

Another focal point in the budget of Mrs Schawan´s ministry in 2006 will be the promotion of projects in the fields of live sciences, new technologies and sustained environmentally friendly development. In these areas big reference projects are being planned which are supposed to serve as orientation to science and research making them more noticeable internationally. As compared to the year 2005 the sum to be spent on these projects will be increased by 8 percent or about 87 million to 1.156 million Euros. GERMAN