In July 2019, the founding commission chaired by Dietmar Harhoff had issued recommendations for the new Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation (SPRIND). Based on these recommendations, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy have appointed the software entrepreneur and open source pioneer Rafael Laguna de la Vera founding director of the new Agency. The SprinD GmbH was founded on 16 December 2019, with headquarters in Leipzig. Sole shareholder is the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
The Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation is closing a gap in the German innovation landscape. SPRIND identifies new, groundbreaking technologies for the major challenges of our time and ensures at the same time that the added value of emerging companies and industries remains in Germany and Europe.
On 22 September, the Supervisory Board of the Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation was inaugurated. The board consists of up to ten members who both represent the Federal Government as 100% shareholder and bring expertise from science and industry to the board.
The Members of the Supervisory Board are:
- Yasmin Fahimi, German Bundestag
- Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Ph.D., Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
- Dr.-Ing. E. h. Peter Leibinger, TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG (Chair of the Supervisory Board)
- Dr. Kristina Klas, Federal Ministry of Finance
- Susanne Klatten, SKion GmbH
- Ronja Kemmer (designated), German Bundestag
- Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Lukas, Federal Ministry of Education and Research
- Dr. Ulrich Nußbaum, Federal Ministry for Economic Affaits and Energy
- Maximilian Viessmann, Viessmann Werke GmbH & Co. KG
- Prof. Dr. Birgitta Wolff, Goethe University Frankfurt (Vice Chair of the Supervisory Board)
Chair of the Supervisory Board is Dr. Ing. E. h. Peter Leibinger, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Vice Chairman of the TRUMPF Group Management Board. He emphasizes, “In Germany, the cooperation between fundamental research, applied science and innovative companies should be expanded. We will be able to tap the full potential of our country if our research leads to marketable products, new jobs, and an international competitive edge in new industries. The Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation can make an effective contribution to this.”
Vice Chair of the Supervisory Board is the President of the Goethe University Frankfurt, Prof. Dr. Birgitta Wolff. She explains, “We spend more than three percent of our gross national product on research and development, which puts us at the top in Europe. With SPRIND, we want to build a solid bridge from science to industry – a meeting place for outstanding minds in our country who not only want to think up the future, but also want to help shape it as researchers and entrepreneurs.”
At the inaugural meeting in Leipzig, the Supervisory Board has already made the decision to found a first project company, which is to drive a radical innovation in the generation of wind energy. The ground-mounted generator of the “Bendix wind turbine” can take full advantage of stronger winds without overloading the generator, which currently limits the performance of conventional wind turbines. “This is not only highly innovative from a technical point of view, but also economically gratifying”, says Raffael Laguna de la Vera.
Further innovation projects are currently in the validation phase. So far, almost 300 project proposals have been submitted and are being reviewed by a committee of experts.