Free State of Thuringia

The Free State of Thuringia pursues a research and innovation policy that focuses on the expansion of Thuringia as a research, science and technology location. The cornerstone is the Thuringian Research Strategy, which was developed with the universities and research institutions in 2007 and subsequently updated.

For the 2021–2027 funding period, the Regional Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation and Economic Change in Thuringia has adopted the course already set in the Regional Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation for Thuringia (RIS3), which was in force from 2015. The five fields of innovation – industrial production and systems; sustainable and smart mobility and logistics; healthy living and the healthcare sector; sustainable energy supply and resource use; and information & communication technology, innovative and production-related services – have been proven to promote innovation and strengthen profiling.

In the coming years, it will be even more important to strengthen the existing core competencies (strengths-based approach) in science and industry in the state by setting thematic priorities and to systematically establish and expand promising, high-growth value networks across sectors and technologies. The transformation process towards a resource-efficient, climate-friendly, low-carbon economy and the development of innovative solutions for this goal are assuming increasing importance in this context.

The new integrated Thuringian research, technology and innovation funding programme (FTI-Thuringia) for the 2021–2027 funding period envisages funding formats for university, non-university and industry-facing research institutions and companies. FTI-Thuringia takes an integrative approach to ensuring that specific but coordinated funding instruments are available along the entire innovation chain – from basic research to market launch.

In particular, SMEs – which so far have tended to make less use of the funding instruments – will have the opportunity to leverage their innovation potential in the new funding period. A simplified, standardised and transparent application process ensures the involvement of these innovation actors. The aim is to raise the profile of Thuringia’s key scientific and economic competencies beyond the state’s borders, to network the players more closely across regions and thus to strengthen the innovation location as a whole.

In Thuringia, knowledge and technology transfer activities are understood as a broad-based collaboration of knowledge-generating, business sector and civil society actors, who are supported by an integrated package of measures. For example, innovative start-ups are already supported in the pre-start-up phase through the start-up premium.

For Thuringia, clusters and networks are of outstanding importance for driving implementation into innovative value networks with cross-cluster and cross-innovation approaches. Against the backdrop of the twofold transformation towards a digital and low-carbon economy, cross-sector and cross-cluster networking and cooperation are gaining in importance, because it is almost impossible for individual companies or even sector networks to manage transformation processes on their own. In the interests of a sustainable and comprehensive cluster policy, the Thuringian ClusterManagement Unit (ThCM) will continue to support the clusters.