Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded Dietmar Harhoff the honor on 2 September 2019 on the suggestion of the Federal Ministry in recognition of Harhoff’s professional work. Since many years, he has offered his expertise to providing independent and scientific advice on research and innovation to the Federal Government. With his commitment, Dietmar Harhoff makes significant contributions to developing innovative ideas, particularly in the realm of digitalization, in order to ensure prosperity and quality of life in Germany.
From 2007 to 2019, Harhoff chaired the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (Expertenkommission Forschung und Innovation - EFI) which provides scientific advice to the German Federal Government and annually delivers reports on research, innovation and technological productivity in Germany. Furthermore, he is member of the steering committee of the Innovation Dialogue of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Since 2019, he is chair of the Commission for the establishment of the new German Agency for Disruptive Innovation (SprinD) which is to promote innovations with radically new technologies and a great potential for changing markets with new products, services and value chains.
Furthermore, he chairs the Commission “Lower Saxonia 2030” which is to develop options for action on how the federal state can respond to current major societal and technological challenges.
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the highest tribute the Federal Republic of Germany can pay to individuals for services to the nation and is the only honor that may be awarded in all fields of endeavor. The Order of Merit may be awarded to Germans as well as foreigners for achievements in the political, economic, social or intellectual realm and for all kinds of outstanding services to the nation in the field of social, charitable or philanthropic work. In awarding the Order of Merit the Federal President wishes to draw public attention to achievements that he believes are of particular value to society generally.