Ursula Staudinger at the Research Summit 2018

400 decision-makers, experts, opinion-leaders and newcomers from science, business, society and politics met at the Research Summit 2018 in Berlin to consult about the future of the German research and innovation system. Ursula Staudinger joined the panel discussion on “Perspectives for German research and innovation politics”. She said that to strengthen the innovation capacity in societies of longer lives, several stumbling blocks had to be overcome.

There was still a widespread prejudice that innovations were connected to a specific chronological age, she said. However, research demonstrated that innovations were not linked to age per se, but rather to specific stimulating conditions and to the ability to engage people – through learning – in the actual development. Moreover, research suggests that the most exciting and sustainable innovations take place in age-heterogeneous development teams. “Innovation occurs where new knowledge and grown experiences and capabilities are brought together and integrated,” she stated.

Staudinger praised Germany’s educational system in its entire variety as one of its major strengths. “It is my hope that we will give as much attention and investment to adult training – be it work-based learning or outside the profession – as we have done so fantastically for the first 20 years of education at the beginning of our lives,” she said. It was the responsibility of societies of longer lives to ensure continuous education in the same quality throughout our longer lives. “If not, more and more people will be left behind – and our country will lose its innovative capacity.”

The panel discussion on YouTube (Video 4, Forschungsgipfel 2018, Diskussion Inner Circle 1)