Winfried Kretschmann: “A fertile ground for innovation”
How can Baden-Württemberg assert itself as a leading European location for mobility?
The automotive industry in Baden-Württemberg has traditionally been a central pillar of our value creation. But through electrification, digitization, autonomous driving, and flexible usage concepts the car is being reinvented. There is much at stake for us: our technological pioneering role, our economic power, and our jobs and climate protection. To face these challenges, the state government initiated the strategy dialogue for the automotive industry in Baden-Württemberg. Because we can only successfully meet the requirements of the new mobility in the close cooperation of politics, business, science, workers’ organizations, consumer organizations, environmental associations, and civil society.
What role does the network of higher education institutions have in the country?
The special strength of Baden-Württemberg lies in our geographical structure: we have a decentralized university landscape and a decentralized economic structure. This distributed excellence keeps providing new inspiration across the state – not just in the metropolitan areas. We have the most diverse university landscape in comparison to the other German states. Through this, science constantly brings its innovative impulses on site – in order to trigger the developments and changes that our economy needs to stay successful. And our research institutions have a strong focus on the areas that play key roles for the mobility of the future, such as artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and energy research.
How welcome are young researchers and start-ups from all over the world?
Very welcome of course! It is not significant where someone comes from, but what he or she wants to achieve. Disruptive technologies are a key to competitiveness. That is why our universities already promote start-up culture in their studies and apprenticeships. The transfer of disrupting knowledge is not only achieved by the cooperation of research and industry – but also by scientists contributing their ideas to their own businesses. That is why we do a lot to create a positive start-up climate, such as the research campus “ARENA2036”, its accelerator program “Startup Autobahn” or the “Cyber Valley”. As part of the Start-up BW launch offensive, there are seven other Start-up BW accelerators and ten start-up ecosystems nationwide. These are ensuring that innovative ideas fall on fertile ground here in Germany.