Berlin, 3 Dec 2019 – The SMARTSPEND project brought together a delegation of industry and research experts with officials from the German government to discuss the SET Plan and the value of European funding for research and innovation for their sectors.
The industry’s side was made up of
- Egbert Lox, Senior Vice President Government Affairs, Umicore
- Ralf Christian, former Energy Management CEO, SIEMENS
- Volker Weinmann, Representative Politics Environment and Associations, Daikin
- Matthias Jobst, Vice President Product Management / R&D, Solarwatt
- Robert Pitz-Paal, Director, DLR
- Rainer Janssen (EUREC President),
- Greg Arrowsmith (EUREC Policy Advisor)
Participating on the side of the federal government (BMWi – Bundesministerium Wirtschaft – Ministry of Economy) were
- Werner Langen – Head of Unit II C 6 (Energy research – project support and international affairs), BMWi
- Axel Bree – Head of Unit IV C 4 (Industrial policy aspects of energy supply, energy taxation, eco-design), BMWi
- Sandra Tacke – convenor of SET Plan Conference Nov 2020, BMWi
- Matthias Laske – assistant to Ms Tacke
- Ute Micke – National Contact Point Horizon 2020 Energy
- Degenhard Peisker – NCP, Energy; Energy Programme Committee member
The delegation’s appreciation of the EU’s R&I Framework Programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020, which is running 2014-2020) was made clear. The projects Hiflex, H2Future and TRACER were mentioned to the BMWi. The Framework Programmes allow transnational research teams to be created and to spread knowledge widely.
Some things national programmes do better than the Framework Programme, but these are difficult to transfer. The German system allows contact between the funding agency and prospective bidders at the proposal preparation stage, reducing the likelihood of effort being wasted. In contrast, to avoid any impression of favouritism, proposals for collaborative projects funded by the Framework Programme are submitted for evaluation in their finished state.
The BMWi said the government was under pressure from actions like “Fridays for Future” to concentrate on climate-friendly policies including R&D.
Rainer Janssen urged the BMWi to give more political visibility to the SET Plan, acknowledging that Germany’s hosting of the November 2020 SET Plan conference is one clear way it is doing this.
Carbon border tax
- The BMWi wants both to save the climate and maintain a competitive manufacturing industry. R&D support and market stimulation or subsidy are measures alongside a possible carbon border tax to mitigate the offshoring of its industry. There would be geopolitical implications of introducing such a tax, which need to be carefully analysed.