Dr. Katja Böhler, State Secretary for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at the Thuringian Ministry of Economy, Science and Digital Society (TMWWDG) visited us yesterday morning, accompanied by Robert Fetter, Head of Division Technology Promotion at the TMWWDG, to get to know the CiS Research Institute and its competences in industrial research and development of silicon-based microsensors along the entire value chain. In addition, both gained an impression of current R&D priorities as well as business-related research in Thuringia and associated funding policy challenges.
Industry-related research institutes are an important building block for the competitiveness of SMEs, not only in Thuringia. They transform the results of basic research into innovations that can be quickly put into practice and marketed. To ensure the innovative strength and associated competitiveness of business-related research institutes, which do not receive basic funding, constant investment in the technical infrastructure and the employment of highly qualified researchers is necessary.
In the discussion with both guests, the management of the CiS Research Institute asked for the state-specific RTI funding guideline to be released as soon as possible, as well as for the current application freeze for ZIM funding projects at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) to be questioned.
RTI calls in recent years to promote research, technology and innovation projects have enabled investments in technical infrastructure that maintain and strengthen the innovative strength and competitiveness of Thuringia’s Winafos. There is an urgent need to open this program as soon as possible! The very successful funding guideline “R&D funding of non-profit external industrial research institutions – innovation competence (INNO-KOM)” is also causing concern, as it expires at the end of 2022 and, despite positive evaluation of the program in 2020/21, has not yet found a renewed resolution in the Bundestag. In the competition for the best minds, it is also important to achieve equal treatment with other scientific organizations. To this end, we discussed the application of the Freedom of Science Act to business-related research institutes. We asked our guests Dr. Katja Böhler and Robert Fetter to advocate for the continuation of the programs at the state level and also to exert a positive influence on decisions in political Berlin.
Finally, our guests were able to convince themselves of the efficiency of the CiS research institute during a tour through the rooms of the CiS Analytics Competence Center (CAK). Last summer, the heart of the CAK was inaugurated by Thuringia’s Minister of Economics Wolfgang Tiefensee in a ceremonial act. A high-resolution 3-dimensional secondary ion mass spectrometry system (SIMS Analysis Cluster) is available to both research institutions and industrial customers after investments of around 2 million euros from ERDF and state funds to further expand and consolidate their competitive position in innovative material and product developments.