The Success Story of the German Software-Cluster Continues
On 30 June 2015, the 3rd International Cluster Conference of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) took place in Berlin. In the competition for the new funding program “Internationalisation of Leading-Edge Clusters, Forward-Looking Projects, and Comparable Networks”, the Software-Cluster convinced the jury with its internationalization strategy and will receive up to four million euros in funding over the next few years.
“With our investments into research and development we have managed to turn Germany into Europe‘s technology and innovation motor. We must now firmly continue on this path and achieve the greatest possible effect with the invested money,” stated Federal Research Minister Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka during the award ceremony in the context of the Cluster Conference and added: “With this we will create the basis for smart growth and high-quality jobs in Germany.”
Put in concrete terms, the Software-Cluster intends to increasingly invest the funds into the expansion of R&D projects with the Silicon Valley, with Singapore, and with Brazil, starting in 2016. “Since its success in the leading-edge cluster competition in the year 2010, the region in southwestern Germany around the cities of Darmstadt, Karlsruhe, Kaiserslautern, and Saarbrücken has established itself for the long term as Europe’s Silicon Valley in the area of enterprise software. Using the networks and technologies developed since then, we now want to increasingly enter into international research collaborations in order to strengthen Germany as a hub of software development. This will give small and medium-sized companies new opportunities for collaboration and facilitate access to international markets,” says Cluster Spokesman Dr. Harald Schöning, Vice President Research of Software AG.
In Kaiserslautern, the partners of the Software-Cluster are convinced of the benefits and synergy effects that have resulted to date from the joint collaboration projects: For these partners of the Software-Cluster – which, in addition to the Fraunhofer institutes, the DFKI, and the universities, also include renowned companies such as the vwd group, Insiders Technologies, and proALPHA – the joint study and the different perspectives have led to integrated solution approaches to relevant current challenges. The results will continue to further advance the region as an important IT hub.
The high innovation speed of digitalization requires Germany and the Software-Cluster to continue to hold on to their leading role worldwide regarding topics such as the Industrial Internet (Internet 4.0) and Smart Services. The BMBF sees the strengths of the German innovation system particularly in the technical infrastructure, in the networking of science and industry, and in its high systemic efficiency. The Software-Cluster has demonstrated all this in an exemplary manner in the past years. With the new internationalization strategy, this success story will continue.
“The commitment and the results of the past five years have shown us how successfully a region can establish itself with the help of a tight network. In the Software-Cluster, a strong group of universities, research institutes, and primarily small and medium-sized enterprises has come together. Within the Cluster, Kaiserslautern is an important hub with many partners, who will continue to contribute to and participate in the success of this consortium,” says Dieter Rombach, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern.
The Software-Cluster in southwestern Germany is Europe‘s “Silicon Valley for Enterprise Software”. In the region around the software development centers in Darmstadt, Kaiserslautern, Karlsruhe, Saarbücken, and Walldorf, more than 100,000 employees are working in over 11,000 software companies. Since 2007, coordination of the Cluster has been improved thanks to a joint strategy and structure in order to maintain and increase its competitiveness. The central coordination bureau of the Software Cluster is headquartered at the University of Darmstadt, while four additional regional coordination offices are working directly on site with the companies. The goals of the Software-Cluster include promotion of research and development, technology transfer and business start-ups, branding and international visibility of the Cluster, as well as the creation of new qualification measures to combat the shortage of skilled professionals. As one of the major results of these organized efforts, the Software-Cluster received an award in the German Federal Government’s Leading-Edge Cluster competition in 2010. In a total of four Leading-Edge Cluster projects, about 40 primary stakeholders of the German software industry are collaborating, including Germany’s largest software companies as well as numerous innovative small and medium-sized enterprises. They are cooperating closely with some of the most renowned departments of computer science at German universities as well as with top research institutions in the Cluster area and are jointly developing the enterprise software of the future – so-called “emergent software”, which dynamically and flexibly combines a variety of components from different manufacturers and thus enables the establishment of value chains that transcend individual companies. More than 200 additional companies have since joined the network as “partners in the Software-Cluster”.