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The Research and Innovation Platform acts as an advisory body for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, hosting a dialogue on the strategic direction of energy research with the national stakeholders in the Federal Government and the business and scientific communities. With a view to facilitating the rapid market launch of new energy technologies and innovative procedures, the aim is to pinpoint how the various research activities in Germany can become better networked and used more effectively.
The various interest groups - associations and selected companies, research institutes and the relevant ministries - convene in the plenary session of the Research and Innovation Platform. The plenary session meets at regular intervals to discuss the main findings of the working groups.
1st session of the Research and Innovation Platform
The inaugural meeting of the Energy Transition "Research and Innovation" Platform took place in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on 13 May 2015. The discussions centred on the structure of the new platform and the research activities and funding instruments. One main outcome was the appointment of a "Structure Task Force", which is to consider existing research structures of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and to draft proposals of where and how an overall systems analysis can take place. Also, there is to be a more detailed analysis of impediments to start-up companies in the field of research and innovation with a view to removing these barriers. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) presented the findings of the stakeholder process on the Strategic Research Agenda, including the "Kopernikus" large-scale research projects.
2nd meeting of the Research and Innovation Platform
The second meeting of the platform took place on 1 December 2015. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy reported on the following subjects: the current status of the budget planning for energy research, the restructuring of Directorate IIC, and on the results from the meetings of the Working Group on Start-ups on 9 June 2015 and of the Task Force on Structure on 3 September 2015. The report was supplemented by presentations and discussions on the activities of the individual research networks and on the new "Solar Construction / Energy-Efficient Cities" funding initiative. Jülich project management presented statistics on the funding activities of the Länder in the field of energy research, which are also available online. In addition, another new support programme entitled "Smart Energy - Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition (SINTEG)" was presented. The prime focus of this large-scale research programme is on smart networking between electricity producers and consumers, and on the use of innovative grid technologies.
3rd meeting of the Research and Innovation Platform
The 3rd meeting of the platform took place on 10 June 2016. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy highlighted the importance of the platform as a driver for the further development of the German Government's energy research policy. It also presented the newly established Division for Energy Research - General Issues and Strategy (IIC5). It was pointed out at the meeting that the role of the platform goes hand in hand with strengthening strategic planning processes in energy research. In this context, the focus in the future will be on forging synergies through co-operation at the interfaces to other programmes, and the role of the energy research networks as subject-based interfaces between research, application and policy-making will be reinforced. Subsequently, the new research network for energy efficiency in industry and commerce was set up. This was followed by reports on the existing research networks (for buildings, grids, renewable energy sources, power station technology, and energy system analysis). Finally, the Task Force on Structure reported on the conclusion of its work.
4th meeting of the Research and Innovation Platform
The 4th meeting of the platform took place on 7 December 2016. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy presented the consultation process for the preparation of a new energy research programme. Furthermore, it reported on the strategic flagship project accompanying the preparation of a new energy research programme and contributing to the consultation process through an online survey in the research networks. New approaches, focusing on flexibility and digitisation respectively, were presented and discussed in the Flexible Energy Conversion and Electricity Grids Research Networks. In addition, reports by further research networks were presented.
5th meeting of the Research and Innovation Platform
On 2 May 2017, a special event marking 40 years of the Federal Government's Energy Research Programme followed by an expert conference took place instead of the 5th meeting of the platform. The speakers at the special event were Federal Minister Brigitte Zypries, Dr. Volker Hauff, former Federal Minister for Research and Technology, Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of the Federation of German Industries, and Dr. Georg Schütte, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Following the special event in the morning, the participants attended a conference in the afternoon to discuss the future development of the successful support programme, the current status of research and the need for research of the various energy technologies to make the energy transition in Germany and worldwide a success story. Further information can be found at www.energieforschung.de (in german), the information portal on the consultation process for the 7th Energy Research Programme, which will be implemented by the project management agency Jülich as commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Documents on the individual sessions are available for download after registration on the website. The statistics on the funding activities of the Länder in the field of energy research are also available online.
Start-ups Working Group
Following the first session of the Research and Innovation Platform, the Working Group on Start-up Companies held its first meeting on 9 June 2015. It identifies problems affecting start-up companies in energy research and innovation, and discusses possible solutions. In particular the problems in the fields of certification/standardisation and the regulatory environment are complex issues that cannot be solved in the short term. These topics are being dealt with in the context of the activities of the Research and Innovation Platform.
Task Force on Structure
At the opening session of the Energy Transition 'Research and Innovation' Platform, it was decided to establish a 'Task Force on Structure'. It has drafted proposals for where and how an overarching systems analysis can be undertaken in the platform context. The first session of the task force took place in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on 3 September 2015. The second and final session of the task force was held on 18 February 2016.