20 years at the cutting edge – celebrating acatech’s achievements and looking ahead to its future
Munich, 08 September 2022
It is 20 years since the founding of “akatech”, the association that eventually gave birth to acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering in 2008. Published today, the anniversary publication “20 Jahre Zukunft” (20 Years at the Cutting Edge) celebrates the Academy’s past achievements and looks ahead to what its future may hold. The publication features tributes from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, EU Commissioner Marya Gabriel and Minister-President of Bavaria, Markus Söder.
In his foreword to the publication, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier highlights how the Academy has helped Germany adapt to a changing world:
The analyses and recommendations that acatech
contributes to social and policy debates provide people
with the knowledge they need to make the necessary
decisions. This knowledge allows them to act not just
in hope, but with a confidence grounded in evidence.
For 20 years – and since 2008 as the National
Academy of Science and Engineering – you have
played an important part in helping our society adapt
to a changing world.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German President
Since its inception, and especially since it was elevated to the status of a national academy funded by the Federal Government and the Länder, acatech has been consulted and listened to as the voice of the technological sciences at home and abroad. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his predecessor, Angela Merkel, have tasked acatech with the preparation of high-level discussions on innovation-related topics between the German government and science and industry – most recently leading to the announcement of the Federal Government’s “Zukunftsrat” (Future Council). Federal Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger is among those involved in these discussions. In the anniversary publication, she writes that:
The Academy’s expertise is highly valued by the Federal Government, which has increased its project funding
accordingly, and of course by my own ministry, which is
in regular contact with acatech as an invaluable source
of best practices. We hope to continue and strengthen
this relationship, not least because knowledge transfer
is one of our key themes for the coming years.
Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education
Today, acatech provides advice to policymakers and the public on far more complex issues than it did twenty years ago. The greatest challenge is that the solutions to these issues are increasingly multi-dimensional and require global cooperation. The approach taken by acatech is highlighted in the foreword by EU Commissioner for Research, Marya Gabriel.
Global challenges are multifaceted and cross-cutting, requiring international collaboration and interdisciplinary thinking. One favourite of mine, acatech, supports this challenge-based approach. It promotes engineering and technology sciences on a national and worldwide level. acatech creates the conditions for ideas to become innovations and innovations to bring prosperity, welfare, and quality of life.
Marya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Research
acatech’s roots and headquarters are in Bavaria. The Bavarian government supported the idea and the establishment of the Academy right from the outset. In 2017, the Academy moved to its current headquarters in the acatech Forum on Munich’s Karolinenplatz. In his foreword, Markus Söder highlights this special connection with the region:
Bavaria is the state of science and research and is also the home of acatech. Ever since the Academy was founded, its headquarters have always been in Munich. acatech provides advice to policymakers in its capacity as the national academy of engineering and applied sciences. It also brings together the interests of Germany’s scientific community and represents them at home and abroad. The Academy collaborates with external experts on its priority themes of energy, resources and sustainability, technology, education and technology communication.
Markus Söder, Minister-President of Bavaria
While the milestones since the Academy was founded in 2002 are the main focus of the anniversary publication, it also looks ahead to how acatech might develop in years to come. In a separate chapter, the members of acatech’s Management Board summarise the outlook for the future.
I would like acatech to gradually develop its role as a
mediator between different interests. I’m aware that
it’s a very ambitious goal, but I’d like us to provide –
not define, just provide – platforms for dialogue that
can help to create a social and economic consensus
about the direction that Germany takes and how we
build our future in a national, European and global
Reinhard Ploss, acatech President
acatech’s Management Board explains how the Academy has put the themes of security, resilience and sustainability at the top of its agenda and will seek to incorporate them into its European and global collaborations. It will not be possible to use modern technology to solve global challenges such as climate change and the provision of healthcare and a secure energy supply without cooperation between the global community and sovereign democracies.
acatech wants to support economic and social stability
by helping to find solutions to crises. The solutions
developed by the Academy are shared with industry,
the general public, policymakers and civil society.
Jan Wörner, acatech President