IGF Industrial Community Research
IGF is the forum for industrial collaborative research. It may not be a pure welding issue, but it is nevertheless an important factor for strengthening the innovations of the almost exclusively medium-sized companies in this sector. Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cannot really afford basic research. This is the Federal Government’s approach, to be able to offer a programme that provides support at this point. Research upstream of actual product development is important for SMEs to keep up with new trends.
However, as reported, they often cannot afford the financing themselves. This is where the “Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung” (IGF) programme comes in. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is currently funding outstanding research projects and networking between SMEs and research institutions with around 169 million euros. The financial support gives companies access to practice-oriented research at the pre-competitive stage. Through membership in a research association and participation in its committees, companies can determine research directions and priorities.
The participation of industry representatives enables the early transfer of knowledge to the companies. With the help of IGF, SMEs can continuously gain the latest knowledge for the further development of products, processes and services, as well as on questions of quality assurance, environmental protection or standardisation. The results are available to all interested companies. In our case of welding technology, the DVS is the relevant organisation. The IGF approach is based on an industry-driven selection of project ideas and their quality assessment. The research associations and around 140 AiF volunteer reviewers from industry and science are involved in this.
In this context, industry finances the infrastructure required for the public funding of its research projects.