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The COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on the research, development and innovation activities (R&D&I) of German companies. This can be seen from the results (in German) (PDF, 790 KB) of a survey of mainly small and medium sized innovative companies that was conducted by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy between 9 and 30 April 2020.

Said Federal Minister Altmaier: “Innovation is key to competitiveness, jobs, and growth – this is true for individual companies as much as for our economy at large. This is why the stimulus package for our post-crisis revival must promote not only sustainability and fairness, but also innovation. Solutions “made in Europe” for fields such as the cloud infrastructure, hydrogen and energy efficiency can help us in a major way, not only to prepare our economy for the future, but also to reach our climate targets. This is why we will continue to support SMEs especially as much as we can in their research and development work.”

Some 1,800 innovative companies took part in the online survey, of which 86% were SMEs. The majority of these companies (75%) will be delaying or extending the duration of their R&D&I projects, 54% said they are also suspending projects. 24% said they will terminate a project or projects; 21%, however, said they are planning to launch new R&D&I projects during the crisis. Overall, large corporations tend to make stronger adjustments to the scope and implementation of their plans than SMEs These are just some of the outcomes you can now find online (in German) (PDF, 790 KB). There is also information on the strategic conclusions drawn by companies and on appeals made to policy-makers (in German).

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy wants to feed the results of the survey into its work to further optimise its innovation and digital policy programmes and initiatives. It will also inform the Ministry’s transfer initiative, which is about improving the way in which research findings are translated into new marketable products and services. In recent weeks, the Ministry responded to the COVID-19 crisis by making numerous adjustments (in German) (PDF, 145 KB) to its financing programmes to ensure leaner processes, support digitisation, and make the programmes more accessible to innovative SMEs.