Innovation policies in Bavaria are designed at three levels:
Relevant policy documents can be found both at the European, and state level. At the European level, the innovation policy is shaped both by the ERDF operational programme (OP) 2014 – 2020 which defines the allocation of structural funds, and the Regional Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3), a document elaborated in collaboration with the state authorities to define the strategic areas of specialisation of the region.
The Bavarian government defines its regional innovation policy as a major element to strengthen the regional economy. The main underlying assumption is the overall global competition of regions for investors, growth and jobs. At the present time, there are several interconnected funding programmes with relevance to regional innovation policy. Major thematic areas of funding are: traditional industries such as the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, plant construction; cross-section technologies such as laser technology, micro-systems technology, mechatronics and new materials; innovative future technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, aerospace technologies and information- and communication technologies; support of networks and clusters. A special emphasis lies on the support provided to networks and clusters.
The overall objective of the Bavarian research, technology and innovation policy is to permanently secure Bavaria a top position in the competition for innovative leadership in Germany and Europe. An excellent research environment, innovative companies, highly qualified employees and an active technology start-up scene attracts high-quality performers and creates the framework conditions for a creative environment, good social security, prosperity and high-quality jobs.
Further, Bavaria’s RTI policy is based on a broad support/funding of key enabling technologies as well as their underlying scientific fields, which in turn establishes the pre-conditions for many applications. Within this context, the following applications or technology fields have been deemed priority sectors:
- Life sciences, especially biotechnology and system biology;
- Information and communication technologies;
- Efficient production technologies, mechatronics, automation and robotics;
- New materials, intelligent materials, nano-and microtechnology;
- Clean Tech – resources preserving energy-, transport- and environmental technologies, renewable resources (i.e. biofuels), e-mobility; and
- Innovative, technology-based services.
These fields feature in the Bavaria smart specialisation areas as described in the regional Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3).
Recently, the Bavarian government has presented the “Bayern - FIT for partnership” programme, which subsumes a variety of different RTDI policy measures to strengthen the regional innovation potential within the next years until 2020 and beyond. It provides a comprehensive overview of the innovation policy mix of Bavaria by presenting all relevant measures with their geographical scope (whole of Bavaria vs. single sub-regions in Bavaria), financial volume, target groups, expected outcomes and a brief description of the measure.
Since 2005, the federal state has set up an agreement with the Bavarian universities regarding an innovation alliance, in which higher education policy objectives and the necessary services for their achievements by the state and the universities are agreed upon. For the first time, the six state Bavarian art schools are also involved. With the continuation of this innovation alliance (first for the period 2014 to 2018 with the Innovationsbündnis Hochschule 2018, and now with the Innovationsbündnis Hochschule 4.0), the universities have the necessary resources in order to face successfully the upcoming future challenges. Besides the previous terms of agreement, universities now also need to develop an international strategy.
In May 2011, the Bavarian state government adopted a comprehensive approach for research, technology and innovation policy for the upcoming years. Assuming that research, technology and innovation are crucial for social and economic development; the following strategic objectives of the Bavarian research, technology and innovation strategy have been formulated:
- Strengthen public awareness of science and research;
- Optimise conditions for research and technology;
- Boost competitiveness and growth of businesses at all levels;
- Align instruments of research, technology and innovation policy regionally balanced;
- Strengthen Bavaria in the competition of EU and federal funds; and
- Identify main issues of research and technology policy.
Further, as advances in ICT and the rapid development of the internet and its applications lead to profound modifications in the economy and society, Bavaria established a strategy for digitalisation which was finalised in 2015 (BAYERN DIGITAL I). In this context, several measures have been established in order to cope with these challenges, opening up new opportunities for the future and secure jobs and sustainable prosperity. The key areas of action of the campaign are the advancement of infrastructure (broadband coverage), IT security, the selective expansion of research, technology transfer and training, and the support for new business creation in the digital economy.
At the beginning of 2017 the Council (BSWET) adopted the BAYERN DIGITAL II plan, a comprehensive package of measures, which describes how to further develop the BAYERN DIGITAL strategy in the future. Together with the state government's first digitalisation programme, the BAYERN DIGITAL I master plan, some €5.5b are budgeted for the years 2015 to 2022. The BAYERN DIGITAL II master plan comprises a volume of €3.0b and an expected 2,000 new jobs. In the supplementary budget of 2018 alone, the state government plans to invest more than €1.0b and create 460 new jobs as a first step. The second stage of BAYERN DIGITAL is broader based and presents 10-key points for the digitalisation of the region.