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International Affairs

International cooperation to solve global challenges

Sustainable development will only be possible if industry, science and civil society work together as partners. Concrete solutions to global challenges can only be developed by collaborating across national borders. acatech's statutes give it a mandate as Germany’s voice on science and engineering both at home and abroad. Accordingly, the Academy raises national issues at both European and international level. Its membership of academy networks, its cooperation with sister academies and other organisations in industrialised and emerging economies and its continuously expanding network of strategic partners ensure that the Academy’s national and international work is informed by specific expertise.

European Academies:  SAPEA – providing policy advice to the European Commission 

SAPEA – Science Advice for Policy by European Academies – was launched in December 2016. Five European academy networks bring together more than 100 science academies from across Europe. The consortium, which is coordinated by acatech, jointly provides the European Commission with independent, interdisciplinary, science-based policy advice. SAPEA works within the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) that was established by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU’s Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas in 2015.

Its aim is to ensure the improved and timely incorporation of scientific knowledge into the policymaking process at European level. The consortium partners include the European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE). In December 2016, acatech President Reinhard F. Hüttl was re-elected for a new three-year term as Euro-CASE Chairman. Euro-CASE’s work is spread across four platforms on the themes of innovation policy, bio-economy, climate and energy policy and engineering education.


Launch event with the presidents of the five European academy networks at the European Commission in Brussels in March 2016. Front row (left to right): Reinhard F. Hüttl (Chairman of Euro-CASE), Rolf-Dieter Heuer (HLG), Françoise Meunier (Vice-President of FEAM), European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, Elvira Fortunato (HLG), Julya Slingo (HLG) and Pearl Dykstra (HLG); back row: Sierd Cloetingh (President of Academia Europaea), Günter Stock (President of ALLEA), Janusz Bujnicki (HLG), Jos van der Meer (President of EASAC), Cédric Villani (HLG) and Henrik C. Wegener (Chair of the HLG).

Academies around the world: Technology for social progress

acatech is also active at a global level through its membership of the worldwide Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS). The Academy is a member of the CAETS Energy Working Group which has already produced three reports, the most recent of which is titled Transitioning to Lower Carbon Economy. acatech was also involved in the organisation of the CAETS Annual Meeting which was held in London in September 2016. Under the conference theme of “Engineering a Better World”, representatives of Government, Academia and Industry explored the role that the technological sciences should play in tackling global challenges.

Strategic network: Cooperation with China, Sweden and Israel

acatech also cultivates bilateral relationships with individual science and engineering academies, foundations and think tanks in Europe and the rest of the world. In 2016, we agreed a three-year extension to our partnership with the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) that began back in 2012.

Together with the CAE and the Münchner Kreis, acatech organised the symposium “The Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Industries” which was held in Munich in November 2016. This event brought together international experts from industry, academia and government to discuss the latest developments in intelligent production networking, as well as potential directions for international cooperation.

In August 2016, acatech hosted an evening event with the German Chamber of Commerce in China, Shanghai. Representatives of German and Chinese businesses exchanged their views on how Industrie 4.0, smart services, innovative products and data-driven business models can help to conserve global resources, create new jobs and secure their nations’ competitiveness.

The German-Swedish Dialogue in Berlin in October 2016 provided representatives of academia and industry from both countries with an opportunity to discuss their innovation models. The event – which acatech helped to organise – was attended by the Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Mikael Damberg. As part of a delegation that travelled to Israel in April 2016, acatech President Reinhard F. Hüttl gave a commitment to assist the Israel Institute of Technology (TECHNION) with the development of an academy of science and engineering based on the acatech model. The kick-off symposium in Berlin in February 2018 will be attended by representatives of academia, industry and government from both countries.