A global network of German Innovation and Science Fora (GISF) is being established as part of the Research and Academic Relations Initiative 2009 launched by Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Federal Education Minister Annette Schavan will officially inaugurate the first German Innovation and Science Forum in Sao Paulo today, 12 March, during her visit to Brazil. Further pilot Science Fora are planned for Moscow, New Delhi and Tokyo.
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement to mark the start of the project:
"I am delighted that we have been able to get this project off the ground. Science and research are absolutely vital factors for ensuring our future competitiveness.
Germany's science and research organizations as well as our companies with a strong research focus are a great advert for German innovation.
We want to build on that reputation. The aim of our Science Fora is to facilitate collaboration between German researchers and creative thinkers from around the world at leading international research locations."
The Research and Academic Relations Initiative is a priority of the Federal Foreign Office's cultural relations policy in 2009. This year the Federal Foreign Office is making available an additional EUR 43 million to further raise Germany's profile as a location for science and research and to strengthen networks linking German researchers with their colleagues around the world.
The establishment of the Science Fora is being planned by the Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. The start-up funding for the GISF of 3 million euro a year will be provided by the Federal Foreign Office.
The project will be implemented in coordination with the Alliance of German Science Organizations and the German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce.
As well as showcasing Germany as a centre of innovation and know-how, the German Innovation and Science Fora will provide a networking platform for German and foreign researchers and academics, as well as advisory and information services for international researchers interested in cooperation with Germany. The GISF are however also intended to foster networking among German science and research organizations and open up new avenues of cooperation.
German businesses play a particularly vital role in Sao Paulo. The local German Chamber of Commerce Abroad will act as project executing agency for the creation of the first ever German Innovation and Science Forum. It already has a strong scientific base, thanks to the German Business Center, in which research-oriented companies are also very active.