Annual Report 2022

Let’s turn the clock back to the beginning of 2022. Predictions about the year ahead were mostly focused on whether the coronavirus pandemic would continue and how the economy would fare. One or two people were warning about the situation in Ukraine, but hardly anyone thought Russia would actually launch an attack. Russia’s reckless war and its repercussions also posed new challenges for acatech.

In a position paper setting out its initial response, the Executive Board condemned the Russian invasion and argued that the way forward lies in security, resilience and sustainability rather than national self-interest.

In parallel to its ongoing work on the strategic issues of our time, acatech went on to publish several expert reports on the consequences of and possible responses to the war in Ukraine. In summer 2022, the Academies’ Project Energy Systems of the Future (ESYS) – a joint initiative of acatech, Leopoldina and the Union of Academies – brought out a discussion paper about the war’s impacts on energy prices and security of supply. Meanwhile, our acatech IMPULSE Security, Resilience and Sustainability sought to stimulate debate about its far-reaching strategic implications and consequences for innovation policy. Germany and the EU must make concerted progress in these three areas in order to strengthen our overall strategic sovereignty. We also need an open discussion about the meaning of “research for peaceful purposes”. Research institutions should review “civilian clauses” that only allow research for civilian purposes, since their definition can sometimes be too narrow, and peace must also be defended.

Hardly anyone foresaw the war in Ukraine at the beginning of 2022 or the threat of a coronavirus pandemic at the start of 2020. The lesson that can be drawn from this is that we must be as well prepared as possible for unexpected developments. At the same time, technology and innovation must also be harnessed to help us address known challenges such as climate change and the shortage of skilled professionals.

This was a major focus of our work during 2022. We explored the prospects of creating a sustainable, resilient energy and hydrogen economy that allows us to simultaneously reduce both emissions and unilateral dependencies. We continued to develop the vision of a circular economy – careful management of scarce resources is vital for industrialised (and other) nations. We drove the development of data spaces, investigated ways of transforming mobility and demonstrated how connected value creation works. We examined the future of work and education, a question that is intimately connected to all of the above topics. And we continuously engaged with policymakers and the public through our various dialogue events.

Olaf Scholz entrusted acatech with the preparation of the Future Council of the Federal Chancellor and gave an address at the Academy’s Annual Meeting. At the end of 2022, the European Commission tasked acatech with the establishment of a European Sounding Board on Innovation. You can read more about both of these topics in the chapter on the advice we provide to government and society. The Academy receives particular support from the Free State of Bavaria, where it has its headquarters. Our main office in Munich’s Karolinenplatz is the nerve centre of acatech’s activities.

It is thanks to the support we receive from the Bavarian and German governments and the EU that acatech is able to promote such a strong dialogue – and this is something we will continue to build on. Our Academy serves as a forum for discussion and for working together to shape the future. We look forward to your feedback and would like to thank everyone who contributes to acatech on a voluntary basis.

We hope you enjoy reading our annual report.

The acatech Management Board

© Himsel

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Weber


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Wörner

© acatech

Manfred Rauhmeier

Energy and hydrogen economy

 © AdobeStock/ericsan

Energy Systems of the Future (ESYS)

2022 saw arguably unprecedented discussion of electricity prices, gas supplies and energy policy sovereignty as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Even as Germany expressed its sympathy for Ukraine’s situation and provided it with direct support, the war was also directly affecting the German economy and the lives of its own people. The big question was whether Germany could actually manage without Russian gas. 

The past few months have shown that it can, although doing so requires major adjustments. But it was at an earlier time when there was still a great deal of uncertainty and Russia was still supplying gas to Germany that the Academies’ Project Energy Systems of the Future (ESYS) published a discussion paper based on two commissioned reports. The paper discusses the short- and medium-term implications of a partial or total suspension of Russian energy imports. It concludes that the impacts on the German and European energy supply will be felt beyond the winter of 2022/2023. Energy prices could remain high in the longer term, causing problems for industry and households alike. In order to return to previous price levels by around 2030 and drive defossilisation, it will be necessary to accelerate the expansion of renewables and the corresponding infrastructure and promote closer European cooperation.  

Hydrogen will be the fuel that replaces fossil fuels in a defossilised economy. Rapid and decisive expansion and conversion of the relevant infrastructure will be key to the development of a hydrogen economy in Germany and Europe. It is clear that Germany and the EU will not be able to produce enough of their own carbon-neutral hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives to meet demand and will therefore be reliant on imports. Consequently, it will be necessary to develop robust import relationships and routes for hydrogen and its derivatives such as ammonia and methanol by no later than 2030. The ESYS study Options for Importing Green Hydrogen to Germany by 2030 (German only) identifies the regions from which green hydrogen could be imported and discusses the impact of transport distance and type on energy efficiency and costs. One of the key findings for long-distance transport is that distance is only a significant cost driver for pipeline transport and is less important for ship transport. As a result, many regions could be considered as potential trading partners.

Cost breakdown for different transport options for a distance of 2,000 kilometres (Source: ESYS study Optionen für den Import grünen Wasserstoffs nach Deutschland bis zum Jahr 2030)
Conversion and transport costs for different hydrogen-based energy carriers by transport distance. The cost of producing the hydrogen is not included in the data. 
The data in this graph does include the cost of compressing and liquefying hydrogen and synthesising other energy carriers (ammonia, methane, methanol, synthetic Fischer-Tropsch products) (Source: ESYS study Optionen für den Import grünen Wasserstoffs nach Deutschland bis zum Jahr 2030 German only).

While the discussion of electricity prices in 2022 was strongly influenced by the current geopolitical situation, the cost of electricity and goods to individuals is also affected by decarbonisation. A webinar in the ESYS “How to Energiewende” (German only) series discussed issues such as socially just carbon pricing with a group of interested young people. The participants concluded that understanding and acceptance can be promoted through transparent design and good, easily understood communication. 

The Academies’ Project ESYS discussed socially just carbon pricing with a group of interested young people and experts at an event that asked whether lower emissions mean higher costs. (© Energy Systems of the Future/illustration by Ellery Studio) 

Safe Management and Deep Geological Disposal of High-level Radioactive Material 

© Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR)

The site selection procedure for a final repository for high-level radioactive waste in Germany is just the beginning of a long process. It could be more than a hundred years before a deep repository can be filled and sealed. In a discussion paper published in January 2023, experts from the academies of science Leopoldina, acatech and the Union of Academies discuss the research landscape and research requirements from this long-term perspective.  

This extremely challenging procedure must be participatory, science-based, transparent, self-questioning and learning. Accordingly, the working group concludes that nuclear disposal and deep repository research must adopt an interdisciplinary approach and must also be strengthened in universities and higher education institutions. For many years to come, there will be a need for experts who actively collaborate in the final repository project and for external experts who can provide an independent assessment of its progress. 

Hydrogen Compass 

Funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Hydrogen Compass project is a collaboration between acatech and DECHEMA. Based on a meta-analysis and a broad, in-depth stakeholder dialogue, the project is developing an overview of pathways to a hydrogen economy, formulating policy options and analysing their pros and cons. Policymakers will be able to use the project’s findings to develop a hydrogen roadmap from a research and innovation policy perspective.  

© German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Electrolysis capacity still lagging behind target trajectory  

The Hydrogen Compass documents domestic electrolysis capacity in a continuously updated project database that has been publicly accessible since summer 2022. Projects with a stated start date have a combined electrolysis capacity of 4.3 gigawatts (referring to electrical power consumption). This is less than 50 percent of the 10 gigawatt target in the German government’s coalition agreement. The announced electrolysis capacity rises to 7.6 gigawatts if projects without a start date are included. 

© Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology  

The country strategies analysis International Hydrogen Strategies in Comparison analyses and compares 22 countries and regions around the world. Most of the countries in the study agree that hydrogen should no longer be produced with fossil fuels in the future. The solution favoured by all of the countries analysed is water electrolysis powered mainly by renewable electricity. Countries all over the world regard hydrogen production using fossil fuels and carbon capture as a transitional technology. The country analysis provides an overview of the countries that see themselves as exporters of hydrogen and its derivatives, the key areas of application in the individual strategies, the extent to which individual strategies address the development and expansion of the necessary infrastructure and international partnerships, and the extent to which R&D is being strengthened around the world. 

The Hydrogen Dialogue conference brought together 370 stakeholders from the hydrogen community to discuss how to create a sustainable, resilient and booming hydrogen economy. (© Svea Pietschmann)   

Organised in conjunction with the Forschungsnetzwerk Wasserstoff (German Hydrogen Research Network), October’s “Hydrogen Dialogue” conference marked the culmination of the Hydrogen Compass stakeholder dialogue. Almost four hundred participants from science, industry, government, the public administration and civil society organisations discussed short-, medium- and long-term R&D requirements and the key questions relating to the development of a hydrogen economy. The topics addressed included import criteria, the resource supply, the need for skilled workers in the hydrogen sector, sector coupling, hydrogen and hydrogen derivative production techniques, industrial uses, safety, logistics, infrastructure, acceptance and public perceptions (of the risks).  


The HySupply project is a BMBF-funded collaboration between acatech and the Federation of German Industries (BDI) investigating the requirements for a hydrogen partnership with Australia.  

Australia can generate large quantities of climate-neutral electricity. This can be used to produce hydrogen which can then be shipped to Germany and other European countries. Australia has the expertise and infrastructure needed to export hydrogen, while Germany is a leader in industrial hydrogen technologies, especially electrolysers and synthesis plants.  

A German delegation of around 25 experts from science, industry and government led by Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, travelled to Australia in May 2022, visiting Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. The aim of the trip was to develop existing cooperation and projects and initiate new partnerships.  

HySupply/BMBF delegation with Minister Stark-Watzinger at Fortescue Future Industries in Hazelmere, Perth (© Federal Ministry of Education and Research) 

In June 2022, the German project group published a meta-analysis that describes four options for transporting renewable energy: liquid hydrogen, liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs), methanol and ammonia. The analysis examines the pros and cons of these different options and identifies major differences in the technology readiness levels of the necessary technologies.  

Published around the same time, the German-Australian Hydrogen Bridge study was produced for HySupply by the Institut für Klimaschutz, Energie und Mobilität (IKEM). The study reviews the regulatory framework for a German-Australian hydrogen bridge. It concludes that although the establishment of the necessary import infrastructure is legally possible, its implementation would be complex and time-consuming. To enable the effective expansion of hydrogen supply chains, the authors recommend that the EU should greatly simplify its planning and licensing procedures, e.g. for import terminals and an effective intra-European distribution structure. 

This recommendation was included in an action plan published at the conclusion of the current HySupply project in October 2022. In the plan, the German project team led by acatech Member Robert Schlögl and BDI Deputy Director General Holger Lösch outlines a number of “action fields”. These must be addressed by all the actors within the next two years if a supply chain between Germany and Australia is to be established by no later than 2030. The recommendations are based on an extensive stakeholder consultation and the findings of the delegation trip to Australia.

Priority areas identified in the action plan developed by the HySupply project team. Source: HySupply – Germany’s Demand-Side Action Plan, 2022 (Icons:, Ellery Studio)


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Circular economy and resources 

© AdobeStock/Hue Chee Kong

Implementing a circular economy in Germany 

Roadmaps and business models: key building blocks of a circular economy 

The Circular Economy Initiative Deutschland hosted two side events at the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) 2022 under the heading “From Ambition to Action” (German only). These online events focused on business models for the circular economy and the experiences of different European countries with implementing their circular economy roadmaps. 

Project Battery Pass supports circular battery data 

Project Battery Pass was launched on 25 April by a consortium of actors from science and industry. The group covers the entire value chain, from battery production and use to recycling, supporting seamless documentation throughout a battery’s life. The project aims to develop guidelines for cross-sectoral battery data and technical standards as mandated by the EU Battery Regulation, and will use a demonstrator to show how they work in practice. In particular, Project Battery Pass aims to document data providing a comprehensive record of supply chain sustainability and circularity. This includes greenhouse gas footprints, working conditions in raw material extraction, battery condition data (aging/quality), repairability and recyclability. A battery passport that provides this data is key to enabling sustainable, circular battery management.  

Presentation of the grant agreement to the Battery Pass consortium representatives on 25 April 2022, (left to right): Michael Kellner, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Tilmann Vahle, Systemiq Deutschland GmbH, Silja Piehl, Audi AG, Matthias Ballweg, SYSTEMIQ, Susanne Kadner, acatech Office, Torsten Freund, BASF SE (© Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action /Susanne Eriksson)

“Make it circular!” – playing your cards right  

With support from Johannes Kepler University Linz, acatech and WWF Deutschland have developed a strategy game that provides companies with a simple and effective tool for implementing circularity. Make it circular! A gamified introduction to circular business models in a corporate setting comprises a card deck and detailed supplementary materials aimed at medium-sized enterprises. Companies can use the game in self-run workshops to align their own business models with circularity. The free strategy game includes 22 examples of typical circular business models and a workshop facilitation guide. 

An AI system for identifying and evaluating the condition of used parts 

EIBA – Sensorische Erfassung, automatisierte Identifikation und Bewertung von Altteilen anhand von Produktdaten sowie Informationen über bisherige Lieferungen (German only) is a joint project to develop an AI system for identifying and evaluating the condition of used parts. This can make an important contribution to circularity – the efficient collection and identification of used products is a key requirement for the transition from a linear to a circular economy. The project’s findings will be presented in spring 2023. acatech’s partners in this project are Circular Economy Solutions GmbH, TU Berlin and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK. 

Dialogplattform Recyclingrohstoffe  

The Dialogplattform Recyclingrohstoffe (German only: Dialogue Platform on Recycling Raw Materials) aims to increase the proportion of secondary raw materials in the German economy’s raw material supply. The platform formulates policy options through a dialogue with science, industry and government. Its goal is for German industry to have access to a secure and sustainable supply of metals and industrial minerals from secondary raw material sources. The platform will present its findings in autumn 2023. acatech is the scientific partner of the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA) in this initiative. 

A wood-based bioeconomy – sustainable, circular and climate-resilient 

© iStockphoto/georgeclerk

Innovative wood-based technologies, products and services can make an important contribution to sustainable economic activity. In a joint project funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), acatech and TU Dresden have engaged with experts in this field to analyse innovation incentives and barriers with a focus on the use of wood as a material. The resulting recommendations were presented in Berlin on 29 November 2022. One of the take-home messages is that policymakers should prioritise the use of wood as a material and confine its use as a source of energy to wood that is unsuitable for use as a material. Tenders should have a stronger focus on sustainability criteria, while companies should follow the “design for re-use and recycling” principle. Wider public engagement is also needed in order to discuss potential conflicts from an early stage. 

acatech President Jan Wörner welcomed participants at the wood-based bioeconomy event in Berlin on 29 November 2022.  

Presentation of the acatech POSITION PAPER Wood-based Bioeconomy to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Agency for Renewable Resources (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe, FNR) in Berlin on 29 November 2022. Left to right: Lukas Gieseking (FNR), André Wagenführ (TU Dresden), Hans-Jürgen Froese (BMEL), Jan Wörner (acatech President) 

Sustainable Nitrogen Use in Agriculture 


Plants cannot grow without nitrogen. However, extensive nitrogen inputs from agriculture damage entire ecosystems and – in the form of nitrous oxide – are a major contributor to climate change. Moreover, Germany currently exceeds the maximum groundwater nitrate concentration permitted by the EU. Published in January 2023, the POSITION PAPER Sustainable Nitrogen Use in Agriculture shows how nitrogen surpluses can be effectively reduced across the entire value chain. Its recommendations include lower limits, incentives for sustainable management structures, more precise fertiliser application combined with pricing of nitrogen surpluses, and greater transparency for consumers. 

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Successfully shaping tomorrow’s mobility 

© iStock/Grafissimo

Mobility and spatial planning 

Whether it’s the school run, the commute to work or a day out, mobility is a part of everyday life for people in Germany. How we get from A to B, the time it takes and the comfort of our journey all depend on structural and social factors. The acatech project Integrated Urban Development and Mobility Planning (German only) seeks to analyse these factors and use the findings to formulate recommendations for a transition to sustainable mobility.  

Urban mobility in particular needs new concepts to address land use pressures, reduce environmental pollution, support inclusion and reflect the diversity of urban life. 

We want to integrate future-proof, environmentally-friendly mobility into the living environment of our urban regions. A range of different stakeholders will need to work together if we are to make this happen. What we need is cooperation, a sustainable culture of open discussion and a goal-oriented regulatory framework.

Co-project leader and acatech Member Klaus J. Beckmann 
Example from “Ankommen statt unterwegs sein – Verhalten verstehen, Veränderung fördern Projekt Integrierte Stadtentwicklung und Mobilitätsplanung Zweiter Zwischenbericht”, p. 18 

The project team led by acatech Members Klaus J. Beckmann and Helmut Holzapfel published two reports in 2022. The examples featured in these reports illustrate the extent to which our mobility behaviour is determined by existing spatial structures, the services available in the immediate vicinity of where we live and our routines. The reports lay the foundations for a new discussion of mobility aimed at transforming our mobility culture. 

The transition to sustainable mobility will require a cultural transformation. We will need to discuss changes to our behaviour, the places we live and our everyday lives. We need to change the way we think and act when it comes to mobility. In short, we need a new mobility culture.

Co-project leader and acatech Member Helmut Holzapfel 

Events can help to bring this debate to a wider public. In November 2022, a workshop was held with fifty schoolchildren at the Futurium in Berlin. The young participants reflected on their own mobility behaviour and listed all the problems they encounter in their everyday lives. For example, they complained that bus and train tickets are too expensive, there aren’t enough services at weekends, and cycle paths aren’t illuminated at night. They then collated their ideas and developed models for solving these problems. The workshop outputs will feed into the Integrated Urban Development and Mobility Planning project which will publish its final report in autumn 2023. 

Schoolchildren at the workshop in the Futurium on 9 November 2022 (© acatech) 

Mobility Monitor 

Mobility behaviour in Germany was also addressed by the Mobility Monitor, a representative survey undertaken by the Allensbach Institute on behalf of acatech. What do people see as the greatest challenges in the German mobility system? How can the system be made environmentally-friendlier? And what are the differences in the answers to these and other questions given by people living in urban and rural areas? 

The Mobility Monitor survey conducted in autumn 2022 mirrored the findings of the Integrated Urban Development and Mobility Planning project regarding the inflexibility of mobility routines in Germany. Cars remain by far the most widely used form of transport, followed by bicycles. The survey results have remained largely unchanged over the years, despite successive crises and high petrol prices. 

Less car use, more cycling

© IfD-Allensbach | Sample: Federal Republic of Germany, over-16s Source: Allensbacher Archiv, IfD surveys 12000, 12064

Just 23 percent of car users regard local public transport as a genuine alternative to their car. This figure falls to just 17 percent in eastern Germany and is at its lowest in small rural communities (14 percent). But even in big cities, only 30 percent of people regard buses and trains as a genuine alternative.  

However, a significant percentage of the population would be willing to make greater use of public transport if it was cheaper and certain services were more frequent. 48 percent of the population as a whole and 52 percent of regular users think that public transport is currently expensive. 64 percent of those surveyed welcomed the 49-euro ticket.

49-euro ticket welcomed

© IfD-Allensbach | Sample: Federal Republic of Germany, over-16s Source: Allensbacher Archiv, IfD survey 12064

Following their publication in February 2023, the Mobility Monitor’s findings fuelled the debate about the development and quality of public transport in Germany. There was a clear view among the respondents that forms of transport such as local public transport can help to create an environmentally-friendlier mobility system and are thus an important means of tackling climate change. 

The survey clearly shows that a great many people want a transformation of the mobility system and environmentally-friendly transport. But they require practical solutions that meet their personal needs, which vary greatly from person to person and region to region. We cannot simply try and convince people to adopt ready-made solutions. We must listen to them, consult them and give them a central role in shaping local solutions. Sustainable mobility can only succeed if everyone sees themselves as a driver of change and acts accordingly.

acatech President Jan Wörner

Mobility data spaces

The Mobility Data Space 

Initiated by acatech, the Mobility Data Space (MDS) (German only) enables new, digitally connected mobility offerings and solutions focused on meeting people’s needs. The MDS is a data marketplace where equal partners in the mobility sector exchange data on their own terms in order to develop value-added mobility services. Examples include multimodal journey planers, services that optimise parking space utilisation and searching, and more accurate traffic delay early warning systems. Information sourced from multiple organisations is often necessary to deliver these services, and the MDS is the place that brings all this information together.  

The Mobility Data Space is a pioneering initiative, especially in terms of its transparency, data protection standards and decentralised structure, as well as the fact that participants can exchange data on their own terms. These features set it apart from other data marketplaces. This was recognised by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in his speech on the future of the EU at Prague’s Charles University in August 2022, when he highlighted the MDS’ contribution to strengthening digital sovereignty in Germany and Europe. 

“We have made a start in Germany with the Mobility Data Space. Let’s connect it up with all of Europe.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in his speech on the future of the EU in Prague on 29 August 2022. (©

European Mobility Data Space

Since October 2022, acatech has been working on behalf of the European Commission to develop a common European mobility data space. Together with 16 other international partners, the Academy is supporting the development of the technical infrastructure as part of the project Laying the foundation for a common European mobility data space (PrepDSpace4Mobility) (German only). The project is a collaboration between leading experts from the private and public mobility and digital technology sectors. Jointly, they are supporting a new European era of mobility data sharing, centred around the principles of trust, interoperability and sovereignty. The aim is to allow mobility data for both passengers and freight to be made available, accessed, and securely exchanged across Europe. 

acatech will also lead the deployment project. Based on the outcomes of the preparatory project, the common European mobility data space will be implemented in over 20 use cases across cities in 9 EU member states during the three-year deployment phase. The aim is to trial an interoperable technical infrastructure that reflects local requirements and to implement common governance processes for municipal mobility data management. 

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Developing data spaces and AI 

© Shutterstock/Olena.07

The Mobility Data Space: a blueprint for the data economy 

© olli design gmbh 

The Mobility Data Space (MDS) has got off to a flying start in the year since it was launched by acatech. Funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), the MDS is an online marketplace for mobility-related data. In early 2022, its operation was taken over by the newly created non-profit organisation DRM Datenraum Mobilität GmbH. As well as acatech, the partners in DRM include several major mobility sector companies and three German federal states.  

A high profile in industry and government  

Over the past year, the focus has been on informing people about the initiative and recruiting data providers and data users to participate in the Mobility Data Space – from the initial steps right through to the implementation of their ideas and applications.  

The technical foundations of the MDS were also revamped in 2022 so that it is better placed to support the activities of a wide range of future transaction partners. The new platform conforms to EU data protection regulations. 

The MDS: a flagship project of the German government 

At the German government’s Digital Summit on 8–9 December 2022, representatives of the Mobility Data Space presented a series of use cases and discussed the role of data spaces in the data economy (German only). In his Prague speech on the future of the EU, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz underlined the significance of the Mobility Data Space and called for it to be connected up with all of Europe

©öhler & Imo

I want a Europe that leads the way on important key technologies. Take future mobility. Data will play a crucial role, not only for autonomous driving systems but also in the coordination of different means of transport and smart management of traffic streams. That’s why we need a single, cross-border European space for mobility data as soon as possible. We have made a start in Germany with the Mobility Data Space. Let’s connect it up with all of Europe. It’s open to anyone who wants to get something moving. That way, we can be global pioneers.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in his speech on the future of the EU at Charles University, Prague, on 29 August 2022 

European Mobility Data Space 

© AdobeStock/Artem Varnitsin

acatech is a leading player in the European Mobility Data Space (EMDS). The Academy is driving this initiative together with other European partners and the European Commission. The project Laying the foundation for a common European mobility data space (PrepDSpace4Mobility) (German only) was launched on 1 October 2022 with the aim of facilitating easy, cross-border access to key data for both passengers and freight. acatech will also coordinate the three-year deployment project (deployEMDS) to develop the key components of the EMDS and trial the data space infrastructure and governance in nine cities and regions. The chapter on Mobility provides further details about the European Mobility Data Space

Culture Data Space 

© Shutterstock/SeventyFour

The Culture Data Space was launched in January 2023 as one of the 18 flagship projects in the German government’s digital strategy. Minister of State for Culture, Claudia Roth, is funding the first phase of the project to the tune of 2.6 million euros. She has entrusted its establishment to acatech, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT.  

Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth supports the first project phase of the Cultural Data Space with 2.6 million euros. (© J. Konrad Schmidt)

As places of learning, meeting and community, cultural institutions are essential in democratic societies, especially in times of crisis. We are funding the development of the Culture Data Space so that cultural institutions and their visitors and users can benefit from digitalisation to an even greater extent. The data space will merge virtual and real-world offerings and facilitate networking. It is important to ensure that the creative artists and culture professionals retain control over their data, that the revenue generated comes back to them and that their intellectual property is respected.

Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and the Media

The data space aims to facilitate the establishment of a digital network of cultural institutions and the sovereign exchange of cultural data, providing a standalone platform for digital cultural products and offerings.  

The first phase will establish the basic principles. The working group will identify what the cultural sector wants from the data space and the benefits it can provide for culture, the media and the creative industry. The OWL live platform, for instance, connects cultural event organisers in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region and draws on their data sources to automatically collect information about cultural offerings. Users can then access the specific information they require via the platform. This reduces the promotional workload for cultural professionals, as well as improving the visibility and accessibility of cultural events for people interested in attending them.  

In the second phase, the initial experiences will be evaluated and fed into the project’s ongoing development. The Culture Data Space’s digital infrastructure will be available to all cultural professionals and creatives from the beginning of 2025. 


Germany and Europe need data spaces where people, companies, organisations and public institutions can share data fairly and on the basis of common legal and value systems. Accordingly, even during the coronavirus crisis, we highlighted data spaces as a key pillar of digital sovereignty. We have already launched a Mobility Data Space which will serve as a blueprint for further data spaces. The Culture Data Space marks the second important milestone.

acatech Managing Director Manfred Rauhmeier 

Gaia-X: the initiative for an open, secure and transparent data infrastructure 

In August 2020, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs entrusted acatech with the coordination of the Gaia-X Hub Germany. Since then, the Hub team has been working to build the Gaia-X ecosystem of federated data spaces. Using established standards and open interfaces, Gaia-X will allow data from different sources and in different formats to be connected, securely shared and easily ported between infrastructure providers. Decentralised data storage within Europe will ensure that data sharing and processing complies with the applicable European data protection regulations. 

The 2022 Gaia-X Summit in Paris: Presentation of a German flagship project © acatech/Manuel Krieg

The initiative now covers twelve domains: agriculture, energy, finance, geoinformation, healthcare, planning/building/operation, Industrie 4.0/SMEs, mobility, the public sector, smart cities/regions, smart living and education. The focus is on building communities in these sectors, creating networks, sharing information and working together to develop solutions. 

Hannover Messe 2022, panel with Marco-Alexander Breit (digital, BMWK) and (left to right) Prof. Dr. Roland Eils (Charité, Berlin), Prof. Dr. Frank Köster (DLR), Dr. Stephan Bredt (HMWEVW) and Peter Kraemer, acatech Gaia-X (© acatech/Martina Schubert) 

A further area of activity opened up in February 2022, when the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) awarded funding to eleven flagship projects. The projects were selected through the funding competition “Innovative and Practical Applications and Data Spaces in the Gaia-X Digital Ecosystem” and will develop new Gaia-X implementation scenarios. acatech will be responsible for providing the projects with scientific support, networking and transferring their results. Together with the other funded flagship projects Catena-X, Mobility Data Space (MDS) and EuProGigant, they will demonstrate how data spaces and the business models that use them can function. 


8 December 2022 was Nationwide Alert Day. On this day, when the German warning infrastructure was tested, acatech Members discussed how to strengthen digital security at the interdisciplinary conference “Sicherheit im virtuellen Raum” (Security in the Virtual Space). One of the conclusions was that awareness of safety and security needs to be raised in several areas, including the corporate and healthcare sectors and the public administration. That said, concern about cyber attacks should not hold back innovation and the digital transformation. With this in mind, an acatech IMPULSE publication discusses the prospects for an ambitious cybersecurity strategy in Germany. Its two key conclusions are that Germany needs an ambitious cybersecurity strategy embedded within a wider digitalisation strategy, and that Germany must seek to strengthen its digital sovereignty. 

ENISA threat landscape 2021 – Prime threats (source: ENISA 2021) 

Plattform Lernende Systeme  

Towards the end of 2022, the ChatGPT language model and text bot brought artificial intelligence (AI) into the public eye. What are the ethical, legal, safety and security issues associated with the use of these systems? How can AI technologies support us in the workplace, in the healthcare sector, or on our journey towards climate-friendly mobility and agriculture?  

In an interview in the “Nachgefragt zu KI” series given at the Digital Summit, platform member Volker Tresp of Ludwig Maximilian University Munich explains the potential of large language models and what is needed to leverage this potential in Germany.

Coordinated by a project office at acatech, the Plattform Lernende Systeme promotes public dialogue and interdisciplinary discussion about the opportunities and risks of AI.

Bettina Stark-Watzinger
(© Bundesregierung / Guido Bergmann)

Artificial intelligence is a key technology with huge innovation potential, which is why we want to make Germany a leader in AI. But the tremendous opportunities go hand in hand with various challenges. That’s why we established the Plattform Lernende Systeme, the one-stop shop for discussing all aspects of AI. It brings together actors from a wide range of fields with the aim of advancing AI for the good of humanity. I am strongly committed to supporting this dialogue.

Bettina Stark-Watzinger 
Federal Minister of Education and Research and co-chair of the Plattform Lernende Systeme 

In a data-driven economy and society, artificial intelligence is a powerful tool for optimising organisational processes, using resources more efficiently and building innovative business models. AI is thus also a key technology for sustainable business insofar as it allows companies to combine their business and sustainability goals. However, most AI technologies consume a lot of resources themselves. The Plattform Lernende Systeme’s work over the course of the year provided details of how AI’s potential can be harnessed to support environmentally, economically and socially sustainable development. Two of this year’s publications contained practical examples of the sustainable use of AI in businesses together with corresponding recommendations.  

At the Digital Summit, Reinhard Ploss (acatech), Federal Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (BMBF) and Hans Griepentrog (University of Hohenheim) presented an agricultural robot provided by the Plattform Lernende Systeme and the University of Hohenheim to Nancy Faeser, Olaf Scholz, Volker Wissing and Anna Christmann (left to right). (© Thilo Schoch) 

Members of the Plattform Lernende Systeme formed a panel at the German government’s Digital Summit. The platform’s experts discussed how AI can help to enable more sustainable production and business processes. The requirements include rapid digitalisation of companies, the development of a nationwide data infrastructure and, first and foremost, training for the employees who use AI systems. The need to strengthen AI skills was discussed at the Digital Summit by the platform’s co-chairs, Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger and former acatech President Reinhard Ploss. On their tour of the exhibition zone, they also showed German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Federal Ministers Robert Habeck and Volker Wissing a Plattform Lernende Systeme exhibit of an AI-based field robot used for pesticide-free weed control.  

During an event at the Futurium in Berlin, experts from the Plattform Lernende Systeme and Leibniz University Hannover held a mock trial concerning an autonomous vehicle accident that provided the audience with a vivid introduction to the ethical and technological questions associated with driverless mobility.  

Whether it’s agricultural robots, autonomous vehicles or assistance software in businesses, AI technology opens up a world of possibilities, but also presents various challenges. How can AI systems be safeguarded against criminal misuse? Who is liable for damages if there is an accident? How can we make sure that the systems don’t discriminate against certain people? These are just some of the other issues that the platform addressed in its white papers and web content and its own web talks and discussion events.  

How can AI systems be safeguarded against criminal misuse? The Plattform Lernende Systeme’s interactive graphics (German only) outline potential scenarios for the misuse of AI systems and show the measures that can be taken to prevent it. 

Artificial intelligence will be key to the future of German industry. In its new AI Monitoring report, the Plattform Lernende Systeme describes the current state of AI research in Germany, how successfully AI technologies are being transferred from research to industry and which places are teaching AI skills. This ongoing monitoring programme tracks the status quo and the opportunities for developing AI research and transfer in Germany. The platform’s own research is supplemented by key figures compiled by leading research institutes, professional organisations and government agencies. 

The Plattform Lernende Systeme’s AI monitoring programme tracks the status quo and the opportunities for developing AI research and transfer in Germany. 


*Content only available in German

Connected value creation 

© iStock/shaunl

Research Council Industrie 4.0 (ReCoRD)  

Coordinated by acatech, the Research Council Industrie 4.0 (ReCoRD) provides independent, strategic advice, first and foremost to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Plattform Industrie 4.0. Currently comprising 32 representatives of science and industry, the Research Council identifies emerging trends, observing and assessing developments in Germany’s Industrie 4.0 performance profile. It also seeks to identify and propose new research topics. In 2022, the Research Council brought out publications on six topics. 

The Research Council has identified a number of key Industrie 4.0 themes that provide the focus for its work. An updated version (German only) of these themes was published in July 2022: 

  • Changes in industrial value creation 
  • Prospective technological trends 
  • Engineering Industrie 4.0 solutions 
  • Work, business and society  

In keeping with the Plattform Industrie 4.0’s 2030 Vision, the Research Council links its publications to objectives such as sustainability and technological sovereignty. 

Plattform Industrie 4.0’s 2030 Vision (© Plattform Industrie 4.0)

To coincide with the 2022 Hannover Messe, the Research Council published the expert report Open Source als Innovationstreiber für Industrie 4.0 (German only), which explores the opportunities and potential of open-source software (OSS) for manufacturing companies. It provides guidelines for industry executives on how to use open-source in their business in order to grow the ecosystem and build active communities. 

The expert report Aufbau, Nutzung und Monetarisierung einer industriellen Datenbasis (German only) discusses the monetisation of industrial data and the status quo in manufacturing companies. Policy options for businesses, industry associations, science and government show how industrial enterprises can monetise their data by using it more effectively and extensively.  

Six new members were appointed to the Research Council at the end of the year, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise from research and industry.  

Six new members joined the Research Council Industrie 4.0 in January 2023. Clockwise: Julia C. Arlinghaus (Fraunhofer IFF), Nicole Dreyer-Langlet (Airbus Operations GmbH), Katharina Hölzle (University of Stuttgart and Fraunhofer IAO), Björn Sautter (Festo SE & Co. KG), Dieter Meuser (German Edge Cloud GmbH & Co. KG) and Daniel Hug (Bosch GmbH). 

When will the 5G avalanche reach manufacturing industry?

It is around ten years since acatech drew up a vision for Industrie 4.0. Since then, industry has been transformed by cyber-physical systems and connected factories. Now, the 5G (fifth generation) mobile communication standard can take Industrie 4.0 to the next level. This is the conclusion reached by a project group led by acatech Member Jürgen Fleischer of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in the acatech IMPULSE publication 5G in der Industrie (German only). 

The authors illustrate the value of this technology through a series of use cases. For example, the best way of remotely analysing an industrial robot’s real-time work status is with a virtual reality application – but an acceptable quality is only technically feasible with 5G. 5G also makes it easier to connect devices and machines, record their data and analyse it with the aid of artificial intelligence.  

Application scenario II: AI applications can be accessed throughout the company, since local processing power is provided through a factory edge for training and the implementation of AI models. 5G enables near real-time data transmission. This facilitates intelligent cooperation and flexible reconfiguration of robot kinematics, which is particularly important in the context of cost pressures and decreasing batch sizes.
(© Plattform Industrie 4.0, icons from Noun)

However, the working group believes that the successful rollout of 5G can’t be taken for granted. High investment costs and a lack of knowledge about the individual benefits are still holding back the introduction of 5G in Industrie 4.0. Small and medium-sized industrial enterprises have been particularly slow to adopt this technology. The authors stress the need to break down these barriers within companies. They call on researchers and policymakers to undertake further initiatives in order to start the “5G avalanche” that is so vital to German industry.  

5G offers lower latency, larger data transfers and higher-precision geolocation than ever before. But because these benefits are currently not transparent enough, industrial enterprises are unable to develop appropriate use cases and assess their financial merits. That’s why we need to try and bring 5G providers and industrial application domains together in a targeted manner so that we can leverage this huge potential.

acatech Member Jürgen Fleischer, head of the KIT Institute of Production Science (wbk) and co-editor of the acatech IMPULSE publication “5G in der Industrie”

Smart Service Maturity Hub 

Manufacturing companies are sitting on a goldmine of connected products that can provide a wealth of data via the Internet of Things. For instance, agricultural machinery is sold with digital platforms that use impact analysis and machine and harvesting process optimisation to help farmers optimise tillage in real time. These additional smart services also allow agricultural machinery producers to diversify their revenue streams. In this way, physical products can evolve into smart services. 

© shutterstock/evgenii mitroshin

But industrial enterprises are still struggling to exploit this wealth of data. Digital platforms and value-added services currently account for just 0.7 percent of European mechanical engineering companies’ sales. Launched in summer 2022, the Smart Service Maturity Index (German only) project is setting out to change this.  

The SMART project aims to help manufacturing companies transform themselves into smart service providers. To this end, the project team led by acatech Member Roman Dumitrescu has developed the acatech Maturity Index Smart Services, which breaks down the smart service transformation of businesses into six separate areas. 

The maturity index helps companies to identify their strengths and weaknesses in respect of the smart service transformation and develop an action roadmap setting out a structured approach to attaining the desired maturity level. The development team has also converted the maturity index into a web-based quick assessment tool that will be available from April 2023, allowing companies to carry out a rapid self-assessment.  

The tool runs via the acatech Maturity Hub Smart Services website, which also provides in-depth information about the maturity index, its development and the development team.  

Advanced Systems Engineering – an update for the engineering professions 

Advanced Systems Engineering Strategy

Engineering excellence is the core competency needed by companies in order to professionally develop increasingly complex technological and sociotechnical systems and bring them to market successfully. Tomorrow’s systems will have more and more functions and applications – production systems will automatically order more parts when they are running out, medical devices will automatically look for signs of disease, and train stations will be served by driverless trains.  

In order to become fit for the future, companies and higher education institutions must address the interactions between people, organisations and technology from a whole-system perspective in their teaching content, research and industrial applications. The successful planning, development and operation of tomorrow’s systems will call for new methods and technologies and tremendous creativity and agility. A new strategic approach to engineering is required, and this is where Advanced Systems Engineering (ASE) comes in.  

Following on from the AdWiSE (German only) project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), an acatech-led group of around fifty systems engineering experts from science and industry developed the Advanced Systems Engineering Strategy – Flagship Initiative for the Future of Germany as an Engineering and Innovation Location (German only). A delegation led by acatech President Jan Wörner presented the strategy to Parliamentary State Secretary Mario Brandenburg at the end of 2022.  

Presentation of the publication Advanced Systems Engineering Strategy: (left to right) Steffen Steglich (acatech Office), Nico Michels (Head of Digital Enterprise at Siemens Industry Software), Jürgen Gausemeier (acatech), Roman Dumitrescu (Fraunhofer Institute IEM), Mario Brandenburg (Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research), Jan Wörner (acatech President), Thomas Schneider (Managing Director Development at Trumpf Machine Tools), Anna Frey (acatech Office) 
(© Copyright BMBF/Hans-Joachim Rickel)

Germany must remain competitive. Tackling the major transformational challenges such as digitalisation, sustainable development, mobility and the energy supply requires engineering excellence. “Made in Germany” systems must have a reputation for being particularly sustainable and reliable, and must be founded on technological sovereignty. This means that engineering will have to meet very challenging requirements going forward. We have presented a vision of what engineering should look like in years to come. If this vision is implemented optimally, Germany will become a leader in the engineering of technological and sociotechnical systems. This is achievable, although it will require a tremendous effort.

acatech President Jan Wörner

Video (in German) on the Advanced Systems Engineering Strategy – Flagship Initiative for the Future of Germany as an Engineering and Innovation Location:

In 2023, the working group will work on incorporating the ASE strategy into the innovation system. 


Digitainability. Digital Technologies for Environmentally Sustainable Economic Activity: Market Potential and Strategic Implications

Digital technologies are key enablers of environmental sustainability in industry, especially in the German economy’s leading sectors such as the mechanical engineering and chemical industries. But which key digital technologies are already being used in these sectors? Are they really being used in an environmentally sustainable manner? And which conditions are required to fully leverage the environmental potential of digital technologies? These are just some of the questions addressed by “Digitainability”, a study funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). A project team led by acatech Vice-President Christoph M. Schmidt began work on this study in summer 2022 and published its findings in April 2023.

*Content only available in German

Work and education 

© iStock/Amorn Suriyan 

HR Working Group

Coordinated by acatech, the HR Working Group brings together ergonomists and HR directors from leading service providers and technology companies. In May 2022, it published the policy brief Die digitale Transformation gestalten (German only), in which HR Working Group co-host and acatech Executive Board member Frank Riemensperger and his co-authors advocate a reform of employment law. They argue that the changes that have occurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – particularly the increase in remote working – should be reflected in the regulatory framework. For example, they call for home working to be given the same treatment as mobile working in occupational health and safety law.

Shortly after the publication of the policy brief, the HR Working Group launched a new format aimed at promoting a broad discussion of these and other topics. #FutureWorkDebatte is a series of regular debates addressing some of the most urgent questions facing the digital transformation of the workplace from a range of different perspectives.

The following five debates were held in this virtual series during 2022, supported by new media partner, Personalmagazin:

  • 24 May 2022: Fit for Future Work – digitale Transformation gemeinsam gestalten (Fit for Future Work – shaping the digital transformation together) (launch event) 
  • 21 July 2022: Von Arbeit in Arbeit – Mitarbeitenden zukunftsfähige Beschäftigungsperspektiven bieten (From Today’s Job to Tomorrow’s – offering employees sustainable employment prospects)  
  • 28 September 2022: New Work für Alle? (New Work for Everyone?) 
  • 26 October 2022: Erfolgsfaktoren für die strategische Personalplanung in Zeiten der Transformation (Enablers of successful strategic HR planning during the transformation) 
  • 30 November 2022: New Normal! Wie gestalten wir Arbeitswelten von morgen für alle? (The New Normal! How can we shape tomorrow’s workplace for everyone?) 

Barometer of Young Talents in the STEM Subjects 

Published by acatech and the Joachim Herz Foundation, the Barometer of Young Talents in the STEM Subjects helps to gauge the situation of young talents in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The 2022 edition (German only) focused on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on STEM education, confirming fears about its negative consequences. During the pandemic, students in Germany and other European countries built up a learning lag in mathematics of ten to 13 weeks by the end of their primary education. The proportion of high-performing primary school students in Hamburg fell by almost ten percent, while the proportion of underperforming students rose by ten percent.

When presenting the report at a high-level meeting with decision-makers from government and industry, study leader and acatech Member Olaf Köller called for a concerted effort:

Firstly, we need to improve digitalisation in schools – in terms of both equipment and the skills of teachers, school management and students. And secondly, we need to help STEM education recover from the virus as quickly as possible. We must prevent long Covid in STEM education at all costs.

Olaf Köller, Managing Director of the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN)  

*Content only available in German

Technology in government and society

© AdobeStock/deberarr

Future Council of the Federal Chancellor 

Recently convened by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Zukunftsrat (Future Council) analyses new developments, insights and trends in the innovation cycle. The Council formulates proposals for strengthening resilience and technological sovereignty in key technologies and the field of digitalisation. Its aim is to leverage the potential of the research community and corporate sector as effectively as possible in order to promote innovation in Germany and address the transformation challenges facing the country. It also discusses public acceptance and ethical questions.  

The organisational side of the Future Council is handled by a project office at acatech which provides background documentation on the different topics, ensuring a common factual and discussion basis for the advice provided to the federal government. 

On 13 July 2022, Olaf Scholz hosted the first meeting of the Future Council of the Federal Government. The topic was “Innovation as the driver of the transformation”. The Council’s members discussed how innovation can help Germany to secure lasting value creation and prosperity while meeting its climate target commitments and overcoming geopolitical challenges. Other topics included innovation funding and the need to leverage the potential of digitalisation more effectively in the private and public sectors. The participants highlighted the ways in which a circular economy can help to reduce Germany’s overall reliance on raw material imports. They also advocated further action to strengthen the biotechnology ecosystem in Germany.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (front row, 6th from left) receives members of the Future Council at the Federal Chancellery. (© Federal Government/Plambeck) 

The Future Council’s second meeting was hosted by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz on 8 December 2022. On this occasion, the discussion focused on the innovation potential of robotics, the scaling of electrolyser production and how to make the regulatory framework more conducive to innovation. The members of the Future Council unanimously agreed on the huge potential held by AI-based robotics, especially for mechanical and plant engineering in Germany. There is demand for a broad spectrum of applications in several of Germany’s leading industries, but also for everyday applications in households and care settings, for example. Becoming a leader in this key technology is thus also vital to Germany’s overall competitiveness as a centre of innovation. 

The discussion also addressed the production and operation of electrolysers – devices that use electricity to produce hydrogen. It is vital to ensure that there is sufficient capacity for tomorrow’s hydrogen economy. The participants welcomed the federal government’s initiatives to strengthen the hydrogen economy in Germany while stressing that the remaining barriers must be urgently addressed. These include regulatory barriers to the construction and operation of electrolysers and the question of how capacity can be scaled up quickly to enable competitive business models in Germany.

European Sounding Board on Innovation  

Since November 2022, acatech has also advised and supported the European Commission on innovation-related matters. The European Sounding Board on Innovation was launched by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, along with acatech Presidents Jan Wörner and Reinhard Ploss and members of acatech’s Executive Board. 

Members of acatech’s Executive Board welcome European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel at the launch of the European Sounding Board on Innovation in Munich.  
(© acatech/David Ausserhofer)

Established by acatech, the European Sounding Board on Innovation is an instrument for providing direct policy advice to all European Commissioners dealing with innovation matters under the European Innovation Agenda. Starting in 2023, a series of round tables will allow high-level representatives of European science and industry to provide firsthand advice to European Commissioners on the challenges facing the world today. 

The European Sounding Board on Innovation is a transparent, impartial forum for open, evidence-based discussion in a climate of trust. Working groups will address strategic, structural and social innovation questions and formulate concrete recommendations and policy options for innovation measures to enhance Europe’s competitiveness, with the ultimate goal of strengthening innovation in Europe. 

The European Sounding Board on Innovation is co-chaired by Mariya Gabriel and Jan Wörner. The meetings are organised by acatech’s Brussels office.

Events for parliamentarians 

acatech am Mittag: Bundestag deputies discuss digital healthcare 

acatech Executive Board member Ortwin Renn presents the results of the 2022 TechnikRadar survey. (© acatech) 

What do people in Germany think about electronic patient records and what issues do policymakers need to consider? acatech discussed these questions with a group of Bundestag deputies and their staff at a parliamentary discussion event about the 2022 TechnikRadar survey. acatech Executive Board member and Scientific Director at IASS Potsdam, Ortwin Renn, presented the findings of this representative survey’s latest edition, which focused on the future of healthcare. Sebastian Zilch, head of eHealth at the Federal Ministry of Health, outlined the current strategic process for healthcare digitalisation, using the example of electronic patient records to illustrate the challenges.

Energy Systems of the Future: Bundestag deputies discuss electricity market design 

At the beginning of December, the Academies’ Project Energy Systems of the Future (ESYS) and Epico (Energy and Climate Policy and Innovation Council) hosted a breakfast for parliamentarians at the German Bundestag. The discussion revolved around the question of how to design a future electricity market that is secure, affordable and sustainable. The topic was introduced by Andreas Löschel (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) and Justus Haucap (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and chair of the Electricity Market of the Future working group). They explained the different ways that the electricity market can work and the market interventions currently being discussed at European level. The ESYS experts stressed that Germany and the EU do fundamentally have a functioning electricity market. Consequently, the high electricity prices currently being experienced are not due to a failure of the electricity market – they are a product of the natural gas shortage caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. It would thus be inadvisable to tinker with the electricity market’s basic principles. However, there are some aspects of the electricity market design that do need to be addressed. In order to enable the energy transition, the electricity market must provide incentives to expand renewables and ensure security of supply in a climate-neutral electricity system.

acatech President Jan Wörner with staff from the Energy Systems of the Future project office in the Paul Löbe building.  (© acatech) 

North Rhine-Westphalia Innovation Award  

The North Rhine-Westphalia Innovation Award recognises individuals who have made outstanding contributions to sustainable change in science, business and society. Awarded by North Rhine-Westphalia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy, the total prize money of €180,000 makes it the second most valuable award of its kind in Germany, after the German President’s “Deutscher Zukunkftspreis” Award for Innovation in Science and Technology. acatech coordinated the review and jury process until the end of 2022.  

The 2022 prizes were awarded in May by Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst, and Andreas Pinkwart, State Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy (until June 2022). 

Jury chair and acatech President Jan Wörner, CEO of Pixel Photonics GmbH Nicolai Walter (representing Wladick Hartmann, CTO of Pixel Photonics GmbH/Young Talents category), Christoph M. Schmidt/ Honorary Award category, Gabriela Figueroa Miranda/innovation2business category, Minister-President Hendrik Wüst, Viviana Rincón Montes/innovation2business category, Antonello Monti/Innovation category, State Minister for Economic Affairs and Innovation, Andreas Pinkwart 

The winner of the “Innovation” category was electrical engineer Antonello Monti (E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University). Monti is a globally renowned expert in the application of modern IT methods to power distribution grids. He and his team developed the SOGNO software platform that optimises the control, distribution and utilisation of the electricity supply.  

The winner of the “Young Talents” category was the physicist Wladick Hartmann. He and his team at start-up Pixelphotonics received the award for outstanding achievements in the field of quantum technology. Hartmann and his colleagues develop ultra-fast, demonstrably secure quantum communication systems based on superconducting nanowires. These systems are an important step on the way to the quantum Internet. 

2022 was the first year that a prize was awarded in the new “innovation2business” category. The winner was the bioelectronics researcher Gabriela Figueroa Miranda. Together with her colleague, Viviana Rincón Montes, she developed a quantitative rapid diagnostic test for malaria that can detect the disease at an early stage and distinguish between different malaria parasites. 

The “Honorary Award” went to acatech Vice-President Christoph M. Schmidt, President of Essen’s RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and Professor of Economic Policy and Applied Econometrics at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Professor Schmidt received the award for his achievements in the fields of applied energy, healthcare and labour market economics.

Public dialogue events 

Engaging in a reciprocal dialogue on controversial topical technology questions forms a key part of acatech’s mission to provide advice to the general public.  

“acatech am Dienstag (acatech on Tuesday) is a series of regular events hosted by the Academy where representatives of science, industry, government, the media and other organisations engage in discussion with interested members of the public. Experts give talks about and discuss issues such as food, biotechnology, space travel and collaboration with robots. As well as some of the key innovation questions of our time, the programme also covers new topics that are not yet part of acatech’s work. “acatech am Dienstag” also provides a space for new, experimental and fun formats such as the science slam “Kann Wissenschaft witzig?” (Can Science do Humour?).

Once more, most of the “acatech am Dienstag” discussion events in 2022 were held online. However, some face-to-face events did take place again this year, including one at the Salon Luitpold in Munich that asked “How can we design artificial intelligence responsibly?”. More than 4,200 people took part in the 27 “acatech am Dienstag” events in 2022. acatech organises events with a wide range of partners – the collaboration between “acatech am Dienstag” and the further education colleges platform “vhs.wissen live” is just one example. Other public dialogue events were held in conjunction with the Deutsches Museum, the “Münchner Wissenschaftstage” science festival, the Futurium in Berlin and the Catholic Academy in Bavaria.

acatech President Reinhard Ploss, Corina Apachiţe (Continental Automotive Technologies) and acatech Member Peter Dabrock (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg) with moderator and acatech Member Wolfgang M. Heckl (Technical University of Munich and Director General of the Deutsches Museum) at an “acatech am Dienstag” event in the Café Luitpold. Photo: acatech

In 2022, acatech also continued the series of dialogue events on “Innovation and Responsibility” in partnership with the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing and LMU Munich’s Technology-Theology-Natural Sciences Institute. This year’s event focused on the future of digitalised medicine.  

acatech devises innovative science communication formats to pass on experience and knowledge to young scientists, engineers and communication professionals. One example is the “technology communication workshop” that the Academy organises in conjunction with Wissenschaft im Dialog. 

On 22-23 April 2022, acatech and the Akademie für Politische Bildung in Tutzing hosted a joint conference on “Digital Sovereignty for Europe”. Ursula Münch (Director of the Akademie für Politische Bildung) and acatech’s Presidents discussed dependencies in a connected world and ways of strengthening digital sovereignty with an interdisciplinary group of experts.

Technological change 

The tendency for people in Germany to be sceptical about the digitalisation of healthcare is also being addressed by one of the two working groups in the project on Shaping technological change. In a series of focus groups held in 2022, lay people and experts were asked about their opinions and needs in relation to electronic patient records and the associated barriers, risks and opportunities. A website due to go online in spring 2023 will provide a digital guide to help people form opinions on this subject. The website will provide light-hearted explanations and information about the risks and opportunities of electronic patient records. The outputs of the focus group discussions and of the website evaluation and impact assessment will be fed back to relevant stakeholders in the healthcare and communication sectors. 

The benefits of medical data can only be fully leveraged if data from multiple hospitals and medical practices is pooled and made available to research institutions. Obviously, this should not happen without patient consent – it must be up to patients to decide what happens with their medical records. At present, there are a lot of fears and concerns about this issue among patients. I hope that, during the project phase, we are able to find ways of communicating a couple of basic facts about the proper use of medical records to the general public.  

Olaf Dössel 
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 
Co-chair of Working Group 2

The project’s second working group is examining the Resilience and performance of digital infrastructure in Germany. These factors are key to all the digital applications that we use in our everyday lives. But many local authorities and members of the public are still unsure about the level of digitalisation they should aim to achieve. Over the course of the year, the “Technological Change” project organised a series of focus group discussions to explore people’s concerns and wishes:  

  • In the town of Wittenberge in Brandenburg, members of the public and representatives of municipal enterprises are sharing their opinions and preferences about the digitalisation of local government with the municipal authorities. The town council plans to use the outputs of this dialogue to expand its digital services as part of its measures to implement the Online Access Act (OZG). The focus groups mark the beginning of a longer-term dialogue with the public.  
  • In Wuppertal, on the other hand, the focus is on civil protection. Several groups comprising members of the public are discussing how digital technology should be deployed in the event of a disaster and how people with varying levels of ability to protect themselves would like to use this technology. The city council is feeding the outputs into the ongoing development of its smart city strategy. 

Both of these local government projects are being evaluated so that the working group can determine the extent to which focus groups can contribute to pertinent, well-founded opinion-forming that helps to achieve an appropriate, widely-supported level of technological change in local government. The two case studies are providing the working group with insights about digitalisation and infrastructure requirements and the conflicts and challenges associated with ambitious digitalisation strategies.

If they wish to push ahead with the digitalisation of local government in Germany, local authorities must take the public’s wishes, objections and concerns seriously. For instance, it is perfectly legitimate for people to be worried that, in the future, they may no longer be able to speak to anyone at the council in person. Local authorities can address this fear through well-functioning services. However, other concerns and needs require more in-depth discussion and constructive negotiation processes.

Bettina Opermann 
Leibniz University Hannover 
Co-chair of Working Group 1


The 2022 TechnikRadar survey (German only) published by acatech, the Körber Foundation and ZIRIUS (Stuttgart University) explored what people in Germany think about digitalisation in the healthcare sector. The representative population survey was accompanied by an online survey of medical practitioners. The findings of both surveys showed that some doctors and many patients believe there is not enough transparency about the processing of medical data.

This can be clearly seen in people’s views about electronic patient records. Some people in Germany are receptive to the idea, with 46.8 percent of those interviewed saying they intend to use them. However, 20.2 percent of respondents said they will not use them due to data privacy concerns (50 percent) and a lack of transparency about who is allowed to access different types of data (53 percent). A sobering finding for proponents of electronic patient records is that a quarter of those surveyed didn’t know about them at all. And while five percent of respondents claimed they already use them, actual usage is currently less than one percent. 

The TechnikRadar survey also provided the starting point for a conference at the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing in October 2022. The subsequent discussion focused on the “future of digitalised medicine”. acatech Member Olaf Dössel of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology highlighted one key benefit of electronic patient records – their introduction means that patients will have control over how their medical data is managed and will be able to decide for themselves who can access it. But not everyone in Germany is equally comfortable with managing their medical data. While people with good digital health competencies welcome the opportunities of electronic patient records, other groups refuse to use them. 

Many less-educated people with traditional values are missing out on these opportunities.

Cordula Kropp, TechnikRadar project manager

According to acatech Executive Board member and TechnikRadar project manager Ortwin Renn, this is why it is so important to take people’s different needs into account in the ongoing development of the healthcare system. This includes the wishes of medical practitioners. Just under one third of the 200 doctors who took part in the TechnikRadar 2022 survey said that digitalisation is jeopardising the doctor-patient relationship. Six out of ten doctors believe that patients struggle to use and interpret digital tools. 

Schnieder-Preis JUNGE MACHERIN  

Entrenched conventional stereotypes make it harder for young women to enter professions in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As a result, they are less likely to choose degrees and careers in the STEM subjects. And the percentage of women declines steadily the higher up the academic ladder you go, reaching its lowest level among professors. acatech has established the “Schnieder-Preis JUNGE MACHERIN” to support female talents in the technological sciences and encourage them to advance their careers. acatech’s Members nominate female science and technology graduates for the €3,000 prize, which is awarded annually and forms part of the Academy’s efforts to promote gender equality in the technological sciences.  

Fighter pilot and PhD student awarded 2022 Schnieder-Preis JUNGE MACHERIN   

acatech presented the “Schnieder-Preis JUNGE MACHERIN” to Ulrike Fitzer at the Hannover Messe on 2 June 2022. Fitzer was the first female fighter pilot in the German air force and is currently studying for a PhD at the Jade University of Applied Sciences in Wilhelmshaven. The jury felt that she met all three of the prize’s criteria to an exceptional degree. In her prizegiving speech, Tamara Bechtold made special mention of the winner’s determination. She obtained the top mark in her Master’s degree course even though she was working for the Germany army at the same time. Bechtold, who leads the Microsystem Simulation group at the University of Rostock, supervised her ambitious Master’s thesis on energy converters. 

What motivates me is the thought that the results of my PhD could help people. And I love the work.

Ulrike Fitzer, winner of the 2022 Schnieder-Preis JUNGE MACHERIN

In addition to Ulrike Fitzer, two other female Master’s graduates received a special commendation: Charlotte Büchter, a PhD student at RWTH Aachen University, and Lara Pauline De Broeck, who is studying for a doctorate at the Technical University of Darmstadt. The standard of the nominees was so high that the jury decided to publicly commend these two outstanding graduates as well. It felt that these exceptional young female researchers and dynamic individuals also met the prize’s criteria. 

Prizegiving video: The Schnieder-Preis JUNGE MACHERIN was presented to Ulrike Fitzer (left) by founders Antonio and Katharina Schnieder (centre, right).

acatech HORIZONS  

acatech’s HORIZONS series makes topical, environmentally and socially significant technology issues accessible to interested members of the public. Each edition is devoted to a technology field that opens up new horizons, is economically important and enables social change. The acatech HORIZONS publications provide a clear, well-founded overview of these topics that reflects the latest research. They set out the facts and discuss the relevant social, economic and policy issues and the options for addressing them. The edition published in 2022 focused on horizons in the field of biotechnology. 

Other platforms for the topics addressed by the HORIZONS series include events for specific target groups, the HORIZONS logbook and social media. This is where project group members share their experience and personal views on topics such as why our society needs to talk more about biotechnology.

Biotechnology techniques are now used in the development of almost every drug that comes onto the market. Without biotechnology and genetic engineering, there would be no coronavirus vaccines today. The development of mRNA technology was a particularly important breakthrough. Its application in gene therapies could soon help the fight against the horrors of cancer. But this will only be possible if the healthcare system allows personalised treatments and if society openly discusses the pros and cons and develops a vision of what is desirable and should be permitted in the future and where to draw the line. 

acatech HORIZONS explains what happens when you get the coronavirus vaccination. 

Unlike in the field of medicine, biotechnology in food production is nothing new. Biotechnology developed thousands of years ago from observing natural processes. Humans have used this knowledge to improve or preserve foodstuffs and make products like bread, sauerkraut and wine. However, people often think that food produced using biotechnological methods is “artificial”. This kind of distinction between “natural” and “artificial” can make it significantly harder to accomplish the transition to sustainable, environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient food production for a rising global population. It should therefore be challenged in the public debate. 

acatech HORIZONS shows how much biotechnology is already in our food.

This is exactly what happened at an acatech am Dienstag (German only) event where a group of experts from the acatech HORIZONS team led by Andrea Büttner (FAU Nürnberg-Erlangen/Fraunhofer IVV/acatech Member) discussed what literally tastes good to consumers and the extent to which enjoyment plays a key role in healthy eating. 

Meanwhile, scientific advisors Christina Müller-Markus and Sandra Fendl explained the link between biotechnology and urban mining in a social media video.

PUNKT prize for journalism

acatech’s PUNKT prize for journalism aims to strengthen public discussion of technology and innovation. More than 2,000 journalists and photographers have submitted entries featuring outstanding technology journalism and exceptional technology photography since its launch in 2005. In this time, acatech has awarded 55 prizes including 7 photography grants. The category in which prizes are awarded each year alternates between the written word and multimedia and photography. Comprising leading figures from science and industry, the independent jury places particular importance on good research, original presentation and novelty.

Good communication with and about science and technology is more than just information. It must explain the information content in a way that is easily understood but accurate, and enable engagement by promoting informed discussion. The high-quality, independent journalism recognised by the PUNKT prize exemplifies this approach.

Jan Wörner, acatech President and advisor to the PUNKT prize for journalism

Prizes go to entries on carbon farming and humanoid robots

The 2022 prizes were awarded for outstanding written journalism in the “topical” and “background” categories. Both of the winning entries were on highly topical issues. Matthias Thome and Bertram Weiß wrote a piece published in GEO magazine on “Humanoid Robots: Elon Musk’s ‘Tesla Bot’ – a big promise with a lot of question marks”. The prototype humanoid robot in Elon Musk’s live demonstration was ultimately more human than robot. The jury commented that the GEO magazine journalists skilfully used the demonstration as the starting point for a deeper dive into the subject that cut through the multi-billionaire’s hype.

Joshua Kocher won the “background” category for his article “Die Erde mit Erde retten” (Saving the Earth with Earth), published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine. The article analyses the underappreciated role of carbon farming in efforts to tackle climate change. In his prizegiving speech, Volker Banholzer said that the jury had been captivated by the combination of outstanding scientific research and a gripping storyline, making the article very hard to put down.

A well-attended prizegiving

Bremen, 17 October 2022: The National Academy of Science and Engineering awarded the 2022 PUNKT prize for journalism to the winning journalists at the Universum Bremen. Award presenter Volker Markus Banholzer, (left to right) prize winners Matthias Thome and Joshua Kocher, acatech President Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Wörner. Photo: Karsten Klama

In addition to the coveted PUNKT trophy and €5,000 prize money, acatech also seeks to offer the winners of the PUNKT prize for journalism an opportunity to network. In 2022, the WISSENSWERTE Bremen congress provided the perfect venue. At the industry conference’s popular evening event, acatech President Jan Wörner and award presenter Volker Banholzer recognised the winners’ achievements in front of a packed audience of journalists. Entries are now open for the 2023 prize, which will be awarded in the technology photography and interactive online media categories. 

Category: Photo
Category: Multimedia
Category: Text

Driving the Human 

Art, science and technology all reimagine the future in their own way. Launched in 2020 with the aim of bringing these different disciplines together, the interdisciplinary Driving the Human project received over 1,000 applications. The seven projects eventually selected from a shortlist of 21 presented their concrete prototypes in November 2022.

The participants obtained ideas for the development of their prototypes at a mentoring event in mid-2022. acatech Member, Professor of Applied and Molecular Microbiology at TU Berlin and freelance artist, Vera Meyer, discussed the theme “Towards Eco-social Renewal: blueprints for collaboration between science and the arts” with Stefan Böschen, Chair of Technology and Society at RWTH Aachen University’s Human Technology Center and Director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg: Cultures of Research.

The discussion revolved around the question of how to develop integrated solutions in an increasingly complex world. The panel’s main response can be summed up in one word: transdisciplinarity. Many problems are too big to be solved by a single discipline on its own – it often requires experts from different disciplines to fully elucidate a complex situation. However, the trend towards increased specialisation is an obstacle to transdisciplinarity. How do you find a common language when every discipline has a different way of doing things? One answer provided by the Driving the Human project is to work together and reflect on one’s own work in small transdisciplinary groups. The seven teams combined artistic and scientific methods. Stefan Böschen argued that the strengths of these two disciplines complement each other. Science is good at focusing on individual questions, while art helps to place the answers to these questions in a social context. Vera Meyer went further still, suggesting that we should not just think in terms of a symbiosis between the two separate disciplines of art and science. She pointed out that artists and researchers actually have a lot in common. Both are inquisitive and share a desire to explore relevant questions and communicate their findings. 

Driving the Human mentoring event 2022
© Camille Blake

At the mentoring event, artists and researchers gave the seven project teams ideas for their work, the results of which were presented at the end of 2022 in Berlin.
© Camille Blake

Driving the Human mentoring event 2022
© Camille Blake

Experimentation and discussion were the order of the day at the project wrap-up event, the three-day Driving the Human Festival. The seven prototypes included room installations, architectural models and video games. One prototype asks “Do AIs Dream of Climate Chaos?”. It looks at how artificial intelligence can mitigate rather than exacerbate climate change. “The Backpack of Wings” project presented a short film that reflects on how humans use animals to carry geolocators. The prototype video game “Monsters and Ghosts of the Far North” allows players to experience the Arctic from the perspective of birds or bacteria. The event also featured tours, discussions and performances. Event-goers could build and program an environmental meter or learn how to communicate complex scientific topics on TikTok, while a workshop offered children and adults the opportunity to create materials or artworks from mushrooms.

The event was organised by the mentoring platform Forecast and acatech in partnership with the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG) and the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM). The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.

© Driving the Human Festival 2022, Foto: Camille Blake

© Driving the Human Festival 2022, Foto: Camille Blake

© Driving the Human Festival 2022, Foto: Camille Blake

Bavaria imagines the future

© Fraunhofer CeRRI

Bavaria is a high-tech region, but also has more farms than any other state in Germany. Remote rural districts are as much a part of the region as its two metropolitan areas. How can bridges be built between urban and rural areas in order to provide opportunities to promote Bavaria’s development? How do the people of Bavaria imagine their future? What do the public think new technologies can do for them and their region? Funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry and launched in April 2021, the project Bayern denkt Zukunft (Bavaria imagines the future) sought answers to these questions by engaging in a dialogue with the public:

  • In February 2022, two regional inspiration workshops held in Lower Bavaria and Lower Franconia explored the opportunities for rural areas arising from the changes in the world of work brought about by the coronavirus pandemic – particularly the increase in remote working. Is it worth promoting co-working spaces in local communities and municipalities? The workshop participants felt that co-working spaces can help to revitalise the centres of small communities, boost the local economy and strengthen community life.. 
  • Over 80 members of the public took part in a virtual BarCamp in March 2022. The event included sessions on topics such as the food of the future, mobility and innovative living solutions for young and old. The participants identified a number of areas that are vital to regional development. It is important for people who don’t live in big cities to be fully aware of the opportunities offered by universities as centres of science. Abstract research topics must be made more accessible by relating them to people’s day-to-day reality. An equal dialogue between practitioners and researchers is key, as is a common language.

The Bayern.Denkt.Zukunft series comprised virtual participation and dialogue formats. It aimed to facilitate an equal dialogue between the Bavarian public and representatives of industry, government and the public administration, identify opportunities for innovation and engage the public in shaping regional innovation ecosystems that can deliver lasting success. As one participant put it, these dialogue processes are important for building public trust in innovation processes and democratic structures.


*Content only available in German

European and international cooperation

© Shutterstock/Kzenon 

European policy advice

acatech is the voice of the technological sciences, representing them at national, EU and global level. At European level, the Academy organises the Sounding Board on Innovation, is a member of the umbrella organisation Euro-CASE and coordinates the EU SAPEA project.

European Sounding Board on Innovation

European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, visited acatech’s Munich office in November 2022 to launch the European Sounding Board on Innovation together with acatech’s Presidents and Executive Board.

acatech President Jan Wörner, European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and her Cabinet Expert Isidro Laso Ballesteros (© acatech / David Ausserhofer)

Mariya Gabriel with acatech President Jan Wörner (left) and former acatech President Reinhard Ploss (right) at the launch of the European Sounding Board on Innovation (© acatech / David Ausserhofer)

Portfolio conference on 23 November 2022 in Munich, with European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel (© acatech / David Ausserhofer)

Established by acatech, the European Sounding Board on Innovation is an instrument for providing direct policy advice at European level through which it can make a significant contribution to shaping the European research landscape. Further information is provided in the chapter on “Technology in government and society”.


acatech is a member of the European umbrella organisation Euro-CASE, which brings together 22 academies of science and technology with a total of 6,000 experts. acatech President Jan Wörner sits on the Euro-CASE Board. In 2022, Euro-CASE worked through its European expert platforms on topics such as “Challenges for European Science and Technology Driven Innovation in Europe” and “Integration of Early Career Professionals”. Euro-CASE also represents the technological sciences in the European Academies project SAPEA – Science Advice for Policy by European Academies.
Together with the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Euro-Case organises the annual EU-US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium to promote transatlantic cooperation. The symposium provides young engineers from Europe and the US with an opportunity to discuss ways of making even better use of innovative technologies for the benefit of society. The 2022 symposium for young engineers in Bled (Slovenia) focused on topics including prosthetics & AI and post-lithium-ion batteries.
The theme of the 2022 Euro-CASE Annual Conference in Brussels was “From Open Science to Innovation. An engineering challenge for Europe”. The conference opened with a video message from European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.


SAPEA – Science Advice for Policy by European Academies 

The five European Academy Networks Academia Europaea, ALLEA, Euro-CASE, FEAM and YASAS bring together the expertise of more than 100 academies in over 40 countries across Europe. Through the SAPEA – Science Advice for Policy by European Academies project, they form part of the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM). The SAPEA project is funded through Horizon Europe and is coordinated by acatech. The aim is to ensure that scientific evidence plays a stronger role from the earliest stages of the European policymaking process. 
The European Commissioners ask the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors questions on scientific issues that are directly relevant to policymaking. The academies prepare reports that bring together the available knowledge and formulate evidence-based policy options through an independent, interdisciplinary approach based on the best available scientific data. The SAPEA Evidence Review Reports provide the scientific basis for the Opinions presented to the European Commission by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.

In 2022, SAPEA published two Evidence Review Reports. The findings of the report on “Improving cancer screening in the European Union were fed into the European Council’s updated recommendation on cancer screening. Against a backdrop of multiple recent crises, the second report focused on “Strategic crisis management in the European Union. The working group included acatech Executive Board members Claudia Eckert and Ortwin Renn.

Building on the SAPEA report A sustainable food system for the EU, experts from the academies are currently working on a new report entitled Towards sustainable food consumption. The report will be published in mid-2023 and will provide the basis for a review of the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy.

SAPEA also expanded its podcast series, which includes an interview where acatech Member and Chair of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE), Barbara Prainsack, discusses “Ethics advice in a crisis”.

Presentation of the reports on “Strategic Crisis Management in the EU” to European Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Janez Lenarčič at the European Parliament in Strasbourg (left to right: Mariya Gabriel, Janez Lenarčič, Joanna Drake (DDG for Research and Innovation), Tina Comes (Chair of the SAPEA working group), Maarja Kruusmaa (member of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors)
© European Parliament


In mid-2022, acatech expanded its Brussels office and initiated an operational and strategic realignment. The office will now help to reinforce the Academy’s role in providing evidence-based policy advice at European level, strengthen the competitiveness of German science and industry and raise acatech’s profile on the European stage.

Global cooperation and activities

It is acatech’s firm conviction that international thinking and cooperation are key to Germany’s future success and competitiveness and to the achievement of global goals. The Academy maintains bilateral relationships with engineering academies, foundations, think tanks and other organisations around the world. This cooperation allows acatech to place the national issues that it addresses in an international context and incorporate ideas from other countries into its own work. The Academy’s international activities in 2022 focused on energy and innovation, Industrie 4.0 and education and knowledge.

Engagement in CAETS

acatech has been a member of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences CAETS ever since it was founded in 2005. CAETS is an international association of 31 academies of engineering and technological sciences. 2022 was a year of close cooperation between the members of this global organisation.

The annual CAETS Symposium, which took place from 26 to 29 September 2022 in Versailles (France), focused on “Breakthrough Technologies for Healthcare”. Over 200 science and industry experts from 32 countries discussed healthcare technology trends and challenges. In her keynote address, acatech Member and Director of the Center for Life Ethics at the University of Bonn, Christiane Woopen, spoke about new digital technology applications in the healthcare sector, including algorithmic systems, and called for “Ethics by Design in Technologies for Health”. Woopen identified a number of challenges in this area, including the development of innovative technologies, the acquisition of the necessary technical skills and data security. She called for ethical considerations such as autonomy, privacy, justice and solidarity to be designed in from the outset. Her appeal was discussed in the final session on “Ethics and Societal Impacts for Technological Breakthroughs”, which was facilitated by Woopen and the French astronaut and politician, Claudie Haigneré.

Christiane Woopen facilitated the final discussion at the CAETS Symposium. (© Gael Kazaz).

European Commissioner Thierry Breton addressed the global challenges.
(© Gael Kazaz).

In painting a picture of the major challenges currently facing Europe, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, highlighted the importance of engineering in creating groundbreaking innovations.

acatech Members Frank Behrendt and Ulrich Wagner are among the 69 members of the CAETS energy working group that published a CAETS Report on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. acatech was also involved in work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), diversity and inclusion and the CAETS Communication Prize.

Cooperation with sister academies

Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA).

Led by the King of Sweden, the Royal Technology Mission has been organised by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences since 1984. The study trips aim to explore topics of interest and promote networking and knowledge exchange. The theme of the Royal Technology Mission that took place in May 2022 was energy and digitalisation.

The mission visited the EU’s two largest economies, Germany and France. The German programme was organised by acatech in conjunction with the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. The thirty-strong high-level delegation led by King Carl XVI Gustaf visited a range of scientific institutions, start-ups and established companies: Adlershof Science City, Volkswagen, EUREF-Campus, Siemensstadt Square, TenneT, 50 Hertz, Solytic and TERAKI. The visits were followed by a discussion with scientific experts at the “Energy Transition and European Competitiveness” symposium in the Swedish Embassy in Berlin.

Royal visit to the EUREF Campus in Berlin: (left to right) Reinhard Müller, CEO of EUREF AG; King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden; Karin Teichmann, Member of the Board of EUREF AG.
Photo: © Andreas Schwarz
National Academy of Technologies of France (NATF)

On 12 and 13 April 2022, the Presidents of the German and French national academies of technology, Jan Wörner and Denis Ranque, met in Paris to conclude an agreement on strengthening cooperation between the two organisations. The academies wish to focus their future cooperation on joint projects and events and on a regular exchange of information on the promotion of young talent in the STEM subjects, sustainability, energy and resources, security, and information and communication technology. They held their first joint workshop on the future of mobility and the energy supply in Munich in February 2023.

Meeting of the academies in Munich: (left to right) Patrick Maestro (NATF), Stephanie Dachsberger, Yves Bamberger (NATF), Claudie Haigneré (NATF), Gérard Creuzet (NATF), Jan Wörner, Karen Wagner, Denis Ranque (NATF).
Photo: © Stephanie Thiene
Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)

acatech has also strengthened its cooperation with the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW). A meeting on 5 October 2022 (German only) provided an opportunity to discuss early identification of themes and trends and new ways of communicating.

Participants in the joint workshop on early identification of themes and trends. Photo: acatech

Other international activities

During the course of 2022, acatech Members attended numerous international conferences where they presented the Academy’s themes and outputs and gained new insights. For instance, keynote addresses were given by acatech President Jan Wörner at the Global Engineering Innovation Forum 2022, by Henning Kagermann at the Robot Revolution & Industrial IoT International Symposium 2022 and the Japan Productivity Center’s Japan Management Forum, and by Michael Dowling during China Week

*Content only available in German

Developments at acatech

© acatech/Ausserhofer


Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter






Senatorinnen und Senatoren




Executive Board



Board of Trustees


acatech’s Members are scientists from the fields of engineering, the applied sciences, the humanities, economics and the social sciences who are invited to join the Academy on the basis of their outstanding scientific achievements. acatech had a total of 630 Members as of December 2022. The General Assembly elected ten new female scientists and twelve new male scientists to the Academy on 18 October 2022.

Our General Assembly’s vote was unanimous. I am delighted that all of the elected scientists accepted their invitation to join the Academy. Their exceptional expertise provides the foundation for acatech’s science-based advice to policymakers and the public. At a time when the challenges facing research and innovation have grown enormously, I would like to thank our new and existing Members for their active engagement with acatech.

acatech President Jan Wörner

At their annual meeting (German only), the Members set the course for acatech’s future development and the themes of the Academy’s work. The discussions focused on interdisciplinary collaboration and ways of strengthening strategic sovereignty, while the newly elected Members had the opportunity to introduce themselves and their research.  

Members adopt more flexible cooperation arrangements

The Members also adopted a number of changes to acatech’s statutes. The upper limit on the number of ordinary acatech Members shall be determined by a resolution of the General Assembly at the instigation of the scientific President. There shall be no limit on the number of associate Members and Members freed from duties. In addition, the Management Board shall now be permitted to make and register editorial changes to the statutes in its own right. The General Assembly specifically resolved to implement gender-sensitive language changes that will require a revision of the statutes.

New ordinary acatech Members in 2022

  • Prof. Dr. Monika Aidelsburger
  • Prof. Dr. Gianaurelio Cuniberti
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefanos Fasoulas
  • Prof. Dr. Veronika Grimm
  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Groll
  • Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Stefanie Heiden
  • Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Doris Heinrich
  • Prof. Dr. Katharina Hölzle
  • Prof. Dr. Niels Hovius
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Krause
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ilka Parchmann
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Richter-Gebert
  • Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Tobias Schäffter
  • Prof. Dr. Christine Selhuber-Unkel
  • Prof. Dr. iur. Hartmut Weyer
  • Prof. h.c. Dr. h.c. Dr. ir. Wil van der Aalst

New associate acatech Members in 2022  

  • Prof. Dr. Myles W. Jackson
  • Prof. Sami Kara
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrike Kuhlmann
  • Prof. Dr. (Univ. Florenz) Elisabeth Merk
  • Prof. Dr. Helga Rübsamen-Schaeff
  • Prof. Dr. Chi Zhang

acatech Members who passed away

  • Prof. Dr. Roland Bulirsch
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Elsner
  • Prof. Dr. phil. Reinhold Nickolaus
  • Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schipanski
  • Prof. Dr. Frank Träger
  • Prof. Dr. Eugen Woschni


acatech’s Senate forms the second pillar of the Academy, alongside the Members. The Senate includes leading figures from technology companies, industry associations and the major science organisations. The members of the Senate advise the Academy on strategic issues and complement its scientific expertise with practical, business-focused perspectives. Comprising staff members who they designate themselves, the “Senate Network” provides the Senate members with strategic content, communication and policy support.

Once a year, the Senate members come together for their annual meeting in Munich. At the July 2022 meeting hosted by Siemens AG, they discussed how industry is changing in the age of digitalisation.

© Peter Himsel

The virtual events in the “SENAT digital” series provide acatech Senate members with a regular opportunity to discuss specific topics. In 2022, members of the Senate and Senate Network discussed the role of hydrogen in tomorrow’s economy and the transformation of the healthcare system.

The acatech Senate comprised 106 members as of 31 December 2022.  

New Senate members in 2022

  • Markus Blume
  • Yasmin Fahimi
  • Lisa Gradow
  • Jochen Hanebeck
  • Matthias Hartmann
  • Stefan Hartung
  • Jörg Hofmann
  • Donata Hopfen
  • Dr. Sabine Klauke
  • Matthias Kratzsch
  • Dr. Volker Meyer-Guckel
  • Markus Schäfer
  • Dr. Jochen Weyrauch

Executive Board and Management Board  

The Executive Board is responsible for directing the Academy’s scientific activities. To ensure that it represents both pillars of the Academy, twelve of its 18 members are elected from the General Assembly and six from the acatech Senate. The Executive Board includes acatech’s Presidents and Vice-Presidents and its Managing Director.

In response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, acatech brought out an IMPULSE publication on the policy goals of security, resilience and sustainability. It concludes that strategic sovereignty and international cooperation are key to achieving these goals. This perspective framed the Executive Board’s in-depth discussions of acatech’s internationalisation and European strategy at its September meeting in Schloss Hohenkammer – its first face-to-face meeting since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. These discussions reached their initial culmination in November, when the European Sounding Board on Innovation (ESBI) was launched by the Academy and the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, at a portfolio conference in Munich’s Amerikahaus. The ESBI is organised by acatech.

In March 2022, Karl-Heinz Streibich handed over the Presidency of the Academy’s business side to Reinhard Ploss, who himself stepped down for personal reasons in December 2022. Thomas Weber was elected to succeed him as one of acatech’s two Presidents in March 2023. As of 31.12.2022, acatech’s Executive Board comprised a total of 21 members (18 of whom are voting members). The Academy’s Management Board consists of the two Presidents and the Managing Director.

New Executive Board members in 2022  

  • Prof. Dr. Peter Dabrock
  • Prof. Dr. Karen Pittel
  • Frank Riemensperger
  • Prof. Dr. Katja Schenke-Layland

Board of Trustees 

The acatech Board of Trustees comprises prominent figures from academia, industry, government and civil society. Chaired by Henning Kagermann, it helps the Management Board to determine the Academy’s strategic direction. The Board of Trustees meets at least once a year and had 17 members in 2022.

New members of the Board of Trustees in 2022

  • Karl-Heinz Streibich

acatech offices  

The acatech Office in Munich is the Academy’s headquarters. It is home to the Academy’s senior management and the majority of its staff in the support, organisation and administration functions, as well as those responsible for specific priority themes. acatech also has a Berlin office and an office in Brussels that coordinates the Academy’s networking activities at EU level. In 2022, a total of 219 members of staff were employed at acatech’s offices, approximately 65 percent of whom were women. During this period, the Academy was also supported by 41 student assistants.


acatech is a non-profit organisation. Its institutional funding is shared equally between the Federal Government, the 16 German Länder and the State of Bavaria. This is supplemented by public and private project funding.