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VDI initiative "Future Germany 2050" aims to strengthen Germany as a centre of business and technology

The transformation tasks are enormous: What should Germany's economic and technological future look like? What key industries, resources and infrastructures does the country need to be economically successful in the long term? And what measures are needed to ensure future viability in global competition? The "Future Germany 2050" initiative launched by the VDI aims to find answers to these questions. To this end, the VDI, with its 130,000 members, is mobilising not only the expertise of renowned experts from business, science, industry and technology, but also that of honorary members, specialist societies and networks.

The largest economy in the European Union, which has earned worldwide recognition for its economic strength and innovative power thanks in part to its "German engineering", has gradually lost its technological leadership in recent years. A recent meta-study conducted by the VDI (evaluation of comparative studies by the OECD, EFI and the World Bank, among others) shows that Germany has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to radical innovations and (digital) key technologies. A complicated bureaucracy is also an obstacle to innovation, and the structural shortage of skilled workers must be permanently resolved. Germany still compares favourably with other countries, but it is unclear how long this will continue to be the case in the context of current and long-term political and social challenges. A representative survey conducted by the VDI last year also confirms the need for action: only half of those surveyed (54%) consider their home country to be (somewhat) competitive.


Joint project of the VDI and external partners

The VDI has therefore launched the initiative "Future Germany 2050". "Far too often, our society is highly polarised. We need more expertise in the economic policy debates of this country, based on facts and technological expertise," says VDI President Prof. Lutz Eckstein, the initiator of "Future Germany 2050". "As an independent and non-partisan membership organisation, we want to provide strategic impetus for Germany's future. Politics and economic interests are often dominated by short-term cycles. Our goal is to objectivise discussions and to show concrete ways in which Germany can position itself as a leading economic and technology centre in the future.”

The new initiative "Future Germany 2050" is being developed together with the VDI specialist societies, VDI regional associations, district associations and networks. In addition, the initiative benefits not only from the know-how of engineers from the VDI, but also from the expertise of numerous external experts from other disciplines. "The VDI is ideally placed to make an important contribution to Germany's future viability," says VDI Director Adrian Willig, who is responsible for implementing the initiative together with a project team. "With a community of 130,000 members, the VDI forms a unique multidisciplinary network that brings together technically inspired people who want to make a difference together. With their innovations, engineers have made a significant contribution to the success and prosperity of Germany – and we will continue to do so in the future.”


Multi-stakeholder dialogues: future energy supply as the starting point for the VDI initiative

The development of a positive vision for Germany in 2050 will be accompanied by a comprehensive package of measures that the VDI will roll out step by step and communicate. In the coming weeks, the VDI will launch various multi-stakeholder dialogues on important topics, including the technological implementation of the hydrogen ramp-up and the fight against the shortage of skilled workers in technical professions in a changing world of work. To launch the initiative, the VDI is focusing on the energy supply of the future and, on the occasion of the European elections, is publishing a paper on the challenges of transforming the German and European energy system.