Evaluation report of applied research institutions
The extramural, applied research institutes of the Baden-Württemberg Innovation Alliance are indispensable to small and medium-sized companies, where their contributions considerably boost competitiveness. These institutes take on a role that neither university institutes nor institutions of the Fraunhofer Society perform.
On behalf of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, a group of experts led by Dr. Helmut Hügel with the help of the Fraunhofer Institute of Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) evaluated all the institutes that are part of the Baden-Württemberg Innovation Alliance and which receive annual institutional support. The evaluation committee, consisting of representatives from industry and research, was tasked to identify and assess the position and future missions of ten research institutions as well as to show how the institutes specifically benefit companies and the economy.
The key statements from the evaluation are:
* All institutes’ strategies are based on clearly defined goals.
* All institutes evaluated are well/outstandingly positioned in their specific markets.
* The science binding of the institutes is generally good to excellent.
* The institutes’ transfer competence is very good.
NMI receives highest recognition
Commissions hardly ever rhapsodise about anything. However, the evaluation committee of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs has heaped praise on the NMI in Reutlingen: the institute has a top national and international profile, it exploits the synergies between electronics, microsystems technology, material sciences and biology in a highly efficient way. The commission was hugely impressed by the clear strategic orientation of the institute, which is the result of professional market and competition analyses and is based on the realistic assessment of own skills.
“It is clear that our work has brought us the success we were seeking,” said Hugo Hämmerle, director of the NMI in Reutlingen. “And it goes without saying that such a positive evaluation is a further incentive for us to improve even more.” In times of diminished levels of confidence, Hämmerle places importance on the commission’s assessment of the NMI’s reliability. “The NMI is perceived as an honest partner that acts according to the rules of good scientific and technical practice and according to internationally recognised ethical codes.” The commission also found that the NMI’s close contacts with its clients are reflected in sustainable relationships, which are not purely focused on short-term advantages.
The NMI's entrepreneurial spirit is also reflected in the establishment of numerous spin-off companies. “Some of them have achieved an excellent reputation worldwide,” said Hämmerle. In this respect, the report also pointed out that the NMI boosts the innovative spirit in the region.
Two years ago, the American World Technology Institute carried out a worldwide survey that classified the NMI as a highly innovative institute. “That an independent and highly renowned expert jury has come to the same conclusion demonstrates that we have been able to maintain our high level of quality over the years. This is the best attestation possible,” said Hämmerle who, as a result, has no concerns about the future of the institute.
The NMI has plans to establish biomedical technology as one of the institute’s major priorities, and this plan is fully supported by the commission. The commission has therefore made a recommendation to the Baden-Württemberg government to increase the basic financing of the institute and concluded that, as a part of the Baden-Württemberg Innovation Alliance, the NMI makes an indispensable contribution to strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium-sized companies and securing highly qualified jobs in the area, and is a valuable investment for the future of Baden-Württemberg.
Source: NMI - 26 November 2008