06 Oct 2010   |   News

DFG opens new era of collaboration with industry

The German Research Foundation has opened a new era in collaboration between science and industry, signing a cooperation agreement with software manufacturer SAP.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has opened a new era in collaboration between science and industry, signing a cooperation agreement with software manufacturer SAP AG, under which universities can conduct DFG-funded research projects together with SAP.

These collaborations are primarily intended to support emerging talent in science and industry and facilitate promising research activities on both sides through the mutual use of resources.

The agreements signed last week will also serve as a model for further collaborations between businesses from other branches of industry and universities.

The first joint research projects to employ the new cooperation model are being undertaken by the Technical University of Dresden, the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), each together with SAP. In the joint projects, doctoral researchers from the universities and employees from SAP will work on mutually agreed research topics in the area of computer science and related areas, and in doing so will earn their doctorate. The projects will also be performed in part in the development departments of SAP.

While the university projects will be funded by the DFG, the results will be passed on to SAP. In exchange, the universities – as per the cooperation agreement – will generally receive from SAP compensation totalling 50 per cent of the funding provided by the DFG, though in some instances it may exceed this amount.

On top of these additional funds, the cooperation agreement also grants the universities permission to continue to use the results that are obtained for both internal research projects as well as collaborations with third parties. The agreement also states that the results from the research projects must be published.

As the largest public funder of research in Germany, DFG believes these collaborations are a substantial contribution to knowledge transfer, and are the foundation for DFG plans to strengthen this area as a whole in the coming years. “A more intensive exchange between basic research and application is very important to us. Such transfer is in the interest of both parties. In no way does it serve to strengthen only the application side. Rather, it is reflected back to research, where it can provide new and important impetus," said DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner.

The cooperation agreement between the DFG and SAP is a, “reliable framework for such an exchange, giving equal consideration to the interests of science and industry” and can now be completed by the universities and the company. "This framework and the joint funding of the projects are a good indicator for a strategically oriented partnership between science and industry,” said Kleiner. Further collaborations are welcome in all scientific disciplines.

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