International cooperation gives Germany innovative edge

Germany's healthcare industry sectors are global innovative leaders. Many attribute this to Germany being a prime location to study and carry out research – not only for Germans, but for foreigners as well. A recent German government report has noted that global cooperation and excellent international networks contribute to the country's capability to develop and market new technologies in many fields, including healthcare.

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Commissioned by Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the "Report on International Cooperation in Education, Science and Research 2014-2016" shows the significance of international cooperation for Germany. It outlines German government plans and programs to promote this, noting that in 2015 alone the BMBF spent more than EUR 800 million on it. The report also noted that several years ago more than 85 thousand researchers from other countries were working at the country's universities and research institutes and 43 thousand of their German counterparts were working abroad.

One of the main emphases of cooperation, says the BMBF, is with the European Union. At this level, adds the ministry, German researchers are working together with European colleagues on a range of projects, including research into Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative nerve diseases.

Recent examples of such cooperation are the German Biobank Alliance, which is aimed at streamlining R&D in Germany and abroad. Another international initiative is the Merck accelerator program in Darmstadt and Nairobi, which is dedicated to innovations in medicine and healthcare. In Germany the team is working projects such as highly sensitive laboratory sample carriers and hydrogels. In Nairobi researchers are cooperating to develop data management systems for global health supply chains and monitoring counterfeit drugs.