Baden-Württemberg is one of 16 German federal states located in the southwest of the Federal Republic of Germany. On the basis of the number of inhabitants (10.8m, end of 2011) and surface (35.751 km²) Baden-Württemberg stands at the third place compared to the other federal states in Germany. The population density of Baden-Württemberg accounts for 302 inhabitants per km². Baden-Württemberg has borders with France, Switzerland and within Germany with Bavaria, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hessen. Baden-Württemberg´s capital city is Stuttgart.
In 2012, the regional GDP in Baden-Württemberg (BW) was €389bn accounting for 14.7% of the German GDP (behind the much larger Northrhine-Westphalia (22.0%) and Bavaria (17.6%)). The federal state was severely hit by the latest financial and economic crises. Between 2008 and 2009 GDP dropped by 9.2%. However, a growth rate of 7.0% between 2009 and 2010 indicates a quick recovery. With a GDP per capita of €36,019 (2012) BW lies at the third place of all non-city federal states. In 2012, the export volume of Baden-Württemberg amounted to €176bn. representing 16.1% of German exports.
In 2010, 33.1% of employees were occupied in manufacturing and construction, while the share of the service sector is 66.1%, and only 0.8% of employees were occupied in the agricultural sector. Thus, Baden-Württemberg is highly industrialised compared to the national average: agricultural sector 1.3%, manufacturing and construction 25.4%, and service sector 73.3%. Looking at employment in high-technology sectors (high-technology manufacturing and knowledge-intensive high-technology services) in 2011, Baden-Württemberg ranks first in Germany with a share of 5.9% (national average 4.2%). In 2011, the rate of unemployment was with an average 3.6% one of the lowest in Germany (federal average 5.9%). With 5.7mn people, Baden-Württemberg's share was 13.5% of the economically active population in 2011. Looking at the number of firms in the manufacturing sector, 18% of German firms are located in BW (2012). With regard to size distribution (measured in number of employees), the federal state only marginally deviates from the national average.
With research and development (R&D) expenditures reaching €16.3b in 2009 and a share of 4.86% of the national GDP, Baden-Württemberg (BW) clearly lies above the national average (2.8%) and EU average (2.0%). Compared to all federal states - and also in a European wide comparison -, BW reaches the highest R&D intensity. More than 80% of the regional R&D activities account for the business sector. Further 11% account for the universities and 9% for the non-university research institutes. Although compared to the national average, high-technology industries have a higher share in terms of employment, the strengths of the regional economy are clearly the automotive industry, mechanical engineering and the pharmaceutical industry. The automotive industry generates nearly half of the total R&D expenditures in BW. In line with the huge R&D investments is the success of output. In 2012, with 14,225 patent applications at the German patent office (DPMA), 31% of all applicants from Germany came from BW. Compared to all federal states in Germany, with 132 patent applications per 100,000 inhabitants, BW holds the top position (national average: 57). Regarding R&D personnel (full-time employed, FTE) distribution BW ranks in the first place with 118,917 in absolute terms or a share of 22% of national total in 2009.
The research infrastructure in BW is very strong: the higher education landscape in BW comprises 9 universities, 11 colleges of arts and music, 22 public universities of applied sciences, 6 colleges of education, 8 accredited vocational colleges/dual academies and numerous state-accredited private higher education institutions. The non-higher education sector comprises a large number of public research institutions that are active in the areas of basic and application-oriented research (12 Max-Planck Institutes, 13 institutes of the Fraunhofer Society, 7 institutes of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Science Association, 2 centres of the Helmholtz Society). In addition, there are almost 70 further institutes fulfilling R&D activities. Baden-Württemberg has about 333,400 students (13.3% of all students in Germany).
The regional innovation system of Baden-Württemberg can be characterised by a well differentiated university and research infrastructure, a complex system of intermediary public and semi-public institutions (e.g. extensive system of transfer institutions) and a decentralised system of regional RTDI governance. In Baden-Württemberg, the Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts (Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst) is responsible for research policy and support, with an emphasis on higher education institutions and state non-university basic-research institutions; the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is responsible for industry-oriented technology policy and support, with an emphasis on non-university, industry-oriented research institutions. Within the government of Baden-Württemberg all activities of the departments in charge of RTDI support are coordinated.
The spectrum of tasks of the higher education institutes comprises - in addition to the traditional duality of teaching and research - also technology transfer, offers of training and qualification. The development of own profiles and national/international visible focus areas lies within the competencies of the universities. Thus, the degree of autonomy is quite high. In addition to the Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts, the establishment of the Baden-Württemberg Foundation (Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg) deserves to be mentioned. The major objective of the foundation is the funding of science and research in Baden-Württemberg (non-profit organisation).
Technology transfer is given a special support via a comprehensive, decentralised network of Steinbeis Foundation transfer centres, that are spread over a range of universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) and universities.
Baden-Württemberg's research and technology policy is characterised by longstanding close co-operation of people and institutions from the science, business-enterprise and political sectors. Within the state's government, research policy initiatives and projects are tailored to technology policy measures for innovation support, as well as to activities in the area of education and further training. The state government funds research in universities and in non-university research institutions, throughout a great diversity of fields, and with a focus on both breadth and depth.
Important principles and priorities of research and technology policy in Baden-Württemberg include:
Priority for scientific excellence
The following measures support the aim of protecting and building Baden-Württemberg's international position as an outstanding location for research and technology:
- profile formation via local setting of priorities and interlocation competition;
- creation of performance incentives for top research;
- promotion of framework conditions conducive to research; and
- intensification of quality assurance measures for public research, taking account of international standards.
Enhancement of science-industry co-operation, through partnership
The following measures are carried out with the aim of strengthening innovation resources and openness in Baden-Württemberg's industry, especially its small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs):
- promotion of technology transfer and science-industry networking; and
- ensuring that industry-oriented non-university research institutions can provide the performance they need to provide in order to serve as innovation drivers for industry.
Targeted support for young researchers and excellent research in general.