Topic Networks

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How does acatech work?

acatech is a flexible working academy, as well as a science and business network. Outstanding scientists are the driving force behind its core work, while experts from industry bring about a transfer of knowledge arising from practical applications in industry. They engage in the core issues of science and technology and in policy questions within a techno-political context. These issues are structured into topical networks that give rise to project groups in which academy members work closely with external experts from science and business.

The results are presented to policy makers, the business sector and the interested public in scientific series, symposia, fora and discussion panels.

acatech is a non-profit agency. Its funding comes from the Federal government and states. Additional funding is drawn from donations and project-specific third-party sources.



Main fields of work

acatech aims to emphasise the importance of future-oriented technologies through dialogue with the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities. It crosses academic and national boundaries and builds a bridge between the economy, science, politics and society. acatech provides neutral, fact and science-based assessments of technology-related questions and strives to serve society with far-sighted recommendations of excellent quality. The work of the academy falls mainly within four core fields:



Knowledge Transfer

Knowledge Transfer

New technologies encompass opportunities and risks. The high degree of specialisation and the speed of scientific developments make it difficult for citizens and decision makers in politics and industry alike to reach rational conclusions about technological developments. Thus acatech considers one of its most important tasks to be the provision of advice to politicians and the public. Knowledge transfer in particular includes providing information on the economic importance of the technological sciences. These are driving forces for innovation and lasting growth, and therefore they play a key role in the continued development of regions and in securing future prosperity.

acatech aims to create confidence and helps to develop an open-minded, success-oriented culture of innovation by informing and holding critical discussions with politicians, industry, and the public. acatech wants to make its contribution towards ensuring that Germany, with its technological capabilities, remains among the world leaders.

Multidisciplinary Research

Multidisciplinary Research

The technological sciences, in cooperation with natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, can help to solve technical, economic, ecological, and social problems on a global scale. acatech sees its task in identifying future topics and in working out solutions in interdisciplinary projects.

Working groups established by acatech develop suggestions and recommendations on topics such as mobility, sustainable energy supplies, life sciences and communications technology.

The working groups consist of acatech members as well as external experts from science and industry.

Engineering Education

Engineering Education

An excellent education for technicians and engineers is a prerequisite for the innovative capacity of our country. German engineering education still enjoys a high reputation worldwide. At the same time, we meet with great challenges regarding the innovation and international outlook of our curriculum. However, we must start to foster new generations of engineers at school. It is here that we must inspire the young with an enthusiasm for technology and give them the thorough grounding they need for their further education.

Therefore acatech is committed to reforming and improving technological education in schools and at university level.

International Cooperation

International Cooperation

At international level, acatech represents Germany on the European Council of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE) and on the International council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS).

Publications in English



25. September 2018

CCU and CCS – Contributing to Climate Protection in Industry. Analysis, options and recommendations



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10. September 2018

Artificial Photosynthesis. State of Research, Scientific-Technological Challenges and Perspectives



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30. August 2018

Coupling the different energy sectors – options for the next phase of the energy transition

Climate targets can only be achieved through explicit strategic change in energy policy. In order to be able to integrate more renewable energies into the overall system and lead the energy transition to its ultimate success, the...



31. Juli 2018

Doctorate in Transition

The institutional responsibility for doctoral studies at universities must be strengthened, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of the German Academies...



1. März 2018

Raw materials for the energy transition. Securing a reliable and sustainable supply

The supply of metals and energy products depends on various factors, i.e. how raw material prices develop, how transparent and accessible the markets are, and whether high environmental and social standards can be achieved in...



9. Oktober 2017

Innovation Indicator 2017

Germany is one of the most innovative countries in the world; though it can’t differentiate itself from countries like the United States of America, Great Britain and the Republic of Korea.

This is one of the results of the...



28. September 2017

The Future of Work in the Digital Transformation – Agility, Lifelong Learning and the Role of Employers and Works Councils in Changing Times

The digital transformation will result in fundamental changes to work and organisational processes within companies. These changes must be shaped in a way that benefits businesses and employees in equal measure. The HR-Kreis (HR...



26. Juni 2017

Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing processes generate high expectations for digital industrial production. They describe technologies that produce components by the layered application of material made of shapeless raw material – for...



25. April 2017

Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index – Managing the Digital Transformation of Companies

Digitally connected industrial production promises faster and more efficient processes – in development and production, services, marketing & sales and for adapting entire business models. Agility and the ability to make...



23. November 2016

Industrie 4.0 in a Global Context – Strategies for Cooperating with International Partners

The transformation of the economy being brought about by Industrie 4.0 is leading to the emergence of highly flexible value networks. Businesses now need to network their production activities both in-house and with the systems...



20. Oktober 2016

Industrie 4.0 – International Benchmark, Options for the Future and Recommendations for Manufacturing Research

Will human workers be the slaves of intelligent machines? Will the internet giants' dominance increase? Is the idea of a networked economy doomed to failure due to security breaches and lack of cooperation? Or will Germany...



14. März 2016

Consulting with energy scenarios. Requirements for scientific policy advice

Energy scenarios can considerably influence political decisions. It is therefore of major importance that the results are both comprehensible and verifiable.



29. Februar 2016

Flexibility concepts for the German power supply in 2050. Ensuring stability in the age of renewable energies

So-called flexibility technologies are necessary to balance the fluctuations naturally inherent to power generation from wind and photovoltaics. The various viable options include flexibly dispatchable power plants as well as...



4. Januar 2016

Industry 4.0, Urban Development and German International Development Cooperation

Industry 4.0 has high potential to positively impact the economic development of cities in developing countries and emerging economies. It can help to promote a green urban economy and contribute to sustainable development....



21. Dezember 2015

Innovation Indicator 2015

The innovation indicator, which is published annually, is a comparative study on innovation strength.  It captures the conditions for innovation in Germany as an industrial location and compares them in a ranking in the...



10. Dezember 2015

New autoMobility – The Future World of Automated Road Traffic

Owing to developments in the field of assistance systems and automated driving, vehicles are taking over more and more elements of the driving tasks hitherto incumbent on the driver. Thus, automation and connectivity are under...



19. August 2015

Recommendations for the Strategic Initiative Web-based Services for Businesses. Final report of the Smart Service Working Group

The Smart Service Welt 2025 vision follows on from the vision of smart factories in Industrie 4.0. In the smart factory, individual customer orders determine manufacturing processes and the associated smart factory produces smart...



10. Juli 2015

Incorporating the German Energiewende into a comprehensive European approach

In order to mitigate global warming, as many countries as possible must strive to make their energy supply systems more sustainable. It is up to the EU to establish an integrated energy and climate policy as an internationally...



4. November 2014

On Designing Communication between the Scientific Community, the Public and the Media. Recommendations in light of current developments

Science and journalism are among the essential pillars of a democratic society. Despite their necessary mutual independence and their often divergent purposes, both freedoms also fulfil similar functions. They supply...



15. Oktober 2014

Academies call for consequences from the Ebola virus epidemic

The Ebola virus is spreading rapidly and to an unexpected extent. The outbreak does not follow the patterns experienced in the past and the virus shows a new disease dynamic in regions, where it has never been recorded before....



17. September 2014

Resilien-Tech. "Resilience by Design": a strategy for the technology issues of the future

The digital networks that characterise today’s world, together with the demographic change occurring in Germany and the growing frequency of extreme events are resulting in the emergence of new threats that are increasing the...



15. Mai 2013

Internet Privacy. Options for adequate realisation

A thorough multidisciplinary analysis of various perspectives on internet privacy was published as the first volume of a study, revealing the results of the acatech project “Internet Privacy – A Culture of Privacy and Trust on...



15. Mai 2013

Internet Privacy. Taking opportunities, assessing risks, building trust

With its online marketplaces, search engines, social networks and multitude of other services, the Internet can contribute to upholding the basic European values of free self-determination, political participation and economic...



8. April 2013

Recommendations for implementing the strategic initiative INDUSTRIE 4.0. Final report of the Industrie 4.0 Working Group

Germany has one of the most competitive manufacturing industries in the world and is a global leader in the manufacturing equipment sector. This is in no small measure due to Germany’s specialisation in research, development and...



6. November 2012

Perspectives on Biotechnology Communication. Controversies - Contexts - Formats

Biotechnology, and genetic engineering in particular, have been a point of focus for public debate in Germany for almost 40 years. However, controversy in social and academic settings centres around specific application rather...



21. Oktober 2012

Future Energy Grid. Migration to the Internet of Energy

Germany wants to opt out of nuclear energy by 2022 and rapidly switch to energy supply based on renewable energies such as wind and solar power. These renewable energies can only be integrated into the electricity system on a...



13. September 2012

Towards a financially viable transition to sustainable energy. Efficient regulation for tomorrow's energy system

In a nutshell, the paper urges a fundamental overhaul of the energy sector's regulatory framework based on a coherent and consistent overall design. Instead of continuing to implement new, uncoordinated individual measures,...



15. Mai 2012

Driving German Innovation. The role of incubator organisations in the promotion of high-tech academic spin-offs

Besides major companies carrying out research in Germany, high-tech spin-offs from the research community play a key role in transforming ideas into innovations.However, German levels of innovation currently lag behind those of...



10. April 2012

Recommendations on the Future of the Engineering Doctorate

Due to continuing discussions about structure and objectives of doctorates in Europe, acatech published an updated and translated summary of its recommendations on the future of the engineering doctorate at German universities....



20. Februar 2012

Georesource Water – The Challenge of Global Change Approaches and requirements for an integrated management of water resources in Germany

Climate change, the globalisation of markets, demographic change, rapid technological developments and changes in land use all represent different facets of what is usually referred to as global change. While the impact of global...



2. Februar 2012

Future Energy Grid. Information and communication technology for the way towards a sustainable and economical energy system

The current energy grid is not designed for a large number of fluctuating energy sources, therefore the renewable energies can only be integrated into the electricity system on a large scale if the grid infrastructure and storage...



27. Dezember 2011

Cyber-Physical Systems. Driving force for innovation in mobility, health, energy and production

Today, about 98 percent of microprocessors are already embedded in everyday objects and devices, connected with the outside world through sensors and actuators. They are increasingly networked with one another and on the...



14. September 2011

Phasing Out Nuclear Power Safely. Why Germany needs nuclear expertise for decommissioning, reactor safety, ultimate disposal and radiation protection

In early summer this year, the German Government decided that the country’s final nuclear reactor is scheduled to go offline in 2022. This decision does not mean Germany’s nuclear technology will disappear overnight. It must...



4. Mai 2011

Smart Cities. German High Technology for the Cities of the Future

The present publication approaches the "Smart City" topic from the perspective of technology policy. The topic is embedded in other acatech activities, like the Smart Cities workshop conducted in Bangalore on 12...



17. Januar 2011

European Perspectives on Security Research

Europe’s networked societies of today are shaped by agrowing interconnection in almost all areas of life. Thecomplexity of our infrastructures and the concurrent accessibilityto means of destruction by terrorist groups...



29. Juni 2010

acatech TAKES A POSITION: Strategy for promoting interest in science and engineering

Germany is threatened by a dearth of professionals skilled in MINT occupations. This can have far-reaching consequences for the innovative capacity of science and industry. Therefore it is the declared goal of acatech, the German...



7. Mai 2010

acatech TAKES A POSITION: Materials science and engineering in Germany

Materials are the basis of the production industry. Traditionally, Germany has been very strongly positioned in this sector. Despite the great economic significance of classic materials (metals, glass/ceramics and plastics) and...



6. April 2010

More Years, More Life

The recommendations focus on the impact of demographic aging on the world of work and lifelong learning in Germany. As aging in the context of work and lifelong learning, however, is closely associated with other domains of...