Comparisons are often made with the legendary "economic miracle" of the 1950s and 1960s. Since December 2018, however, the news of the end of the boom has not come to an end. The forecasts of the economic experts and the Federal Minister of Economics give little indication of anything good. The means of choice for counteracting crises is the increase in research spending by companies and the state. The appeal to set innovations in motion is also directed at the BMBF.
At no time did the DGM have its own "research budget", but through its various exchange forums did it have instruments of a special kind to promote innovation. Shortly after it was re-established in 1947, it set up several new specialist committees; by the end of the boom phase of the "Economic Miracle" in 1966, its number had risen to sixteen. Eight more were added by 1972. In these specialist committees, the concept of the DGM founding fathers of 1919 was realised: namely that of building bridges between science and practice. A further indication was the development of membership figures, which increased from 260 in 1947 to over 1100 in 1966.
The journey through time to the country of the "Economic Miracle" shows us that even then innovations were primarily dependent on state technology policy. In the 1950s, for example, the German government launched a titanium research program. The "Stifterverband Nichteisenmetalle" was founded as an intermediary between the "Wirtschaftsvereinigung Nichteisen-Metalle", the government and research. Last but not least, the DGM was supported by the "Wirtschaftsvereinigung", which provided the means to establish a professional office. Even if the amount of this office seems to be very modest, it managed to overcome the crisis of the 1960s.
So hopefully we can also face the crisis today, in the 100th anniversary year of the DGM foundation. With this in mind, I wish you a stimulating and fruitful reading of our newsletter.
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Helmut Maier
Ruhr University Bochum
Head of DGM Committee of Experts History