Leibniz institutes join expertise to strengthen national and European technology sovereignty
Beginning of July, the new Leibniz Strategy Forum “Technological Sovereignty” officially started its work. Leibniz institutions have launched this initiative to develop interdisciplinary contributions of the Leibniz Association to key technology fields along the innovation chain. Over the next two years, the participating institutes will engage in an intensive exchange within the Leibniz Association and other stakeholders from science, industry, and politics. The goal is to jointly formulate a strategy for the further development of important technology fields in Germany. The Leibniz Institute of Crystal Growth (IKZ) assumes the coordinating and spokesperson functions in this process.
For decades, globalization has been shaping the world economy; today, however, the risks posed by the resulting dependencies are becoming increasingly clear. A recent example is the shortage of chip supplies, particularly from the Asian region, which has caused massive economic damage in Europe. Therefore, access to the key technologies is an essential foundation for the future competitiveness and economic resilience of Germany and Europe. Both the European Commission and the German government place technological sovereignty at the center of their innovation policies.
The mission of the Leibniz Strategy Forum on technological sovereignty is to develop the contributions of Leibniz institutes to value chains in key technology fields together with partners from industry, science, and politics and incorporate these into European solution concepts. “In choosing thematic directions, we are guided by the flagship initiatives formulated in the impulse paper on technology sovereignty of the Federal Ministery of Education and Research and form clusters of Leibniz Institutes, where important parts of the respective value chains are interlinked,” explains Thomas Schröder, scientific director of the IKZ. Six thematic clusters are currently being established: Health Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Materials for Digitalization, Quantum Technologies, Hydrogen Economy, and Future Communications.
Technological sovereignty should be built on common European values such as freedom, the rule of law, and sustainability. It requires interconnection along the value chain of key enabling technologies through an in-depth approach that addresses fundamental scientific challenges.
For Leibniz President Matthias Kleiner, the new Leibniz Strategy Forum carries an important social dimension: “In the Corona pandemic, disrupted supply chains made us vividly and rather painfully aware of how heavily our domestic economy depends on suppliers from other regions of the world, for example in the areas of microelectronics and medical supplies. With its interdisciplinary variety and extensive expertise in the complex interaction of gaining knowledge and transferring it to application, all the way to prototypes and initial small-scale production in key thematic areas, the Leibniz Association seeks to contribute to promoting the technological sovereignty of Germany and Europe.”