the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Fact Sheet: U.S.-Germany Science and Technology Cooperation

The United States and Germany highly value science and technology (S&T); both have committed to spend 3% of GDP on S&T research and development.  More than 50 bilateral cooperation agreements exist between U.S. and German government agencies and scientific institutions along with over 1,500 university partnerships.

The United States and Germany entered into an S&T Cooperation Agreement in 2010, and the first Joint Committee Meeting stemming from this agreement will be held in Berlin in September 2011.  U.S. priorities include collaboration with Germany on advanced manufacturing; production of lightweight materials; use of modeling and simulation to enhance manufacturing efficiency for development of automotive, defense- and energy-sector products; and building ties between U.S. federal laboratories and German research institutes.  Key ongoing collaborative activities include:

Building the Future through Renewable Energy Research and Green Jobs

  • Under a U.S.-German Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on solar research, the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and three labs under the Hermann von Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers (Germany's largest scientific research network) will work on fundamental research on solar photovoltaic materials and systems, solar fuels, and solar concentrators as well as performance and reliability.
  • The Fraunhofer Society, which runs 60 research institutions in Germany and has seven research centers in the United States, has joined with the State of Massachusetts to open the Center for Sustainable Energy Systems.  Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Center focuses on the commercialization of clean technologies.
  • Germany's Federal Institute for Vocational Training and the U.S. Department of Education cooperate on internationally competitive qualification standards in the automotive industry, especially focused on electric car technology and "green" occupations.

Medical and Agricultural Breakthroughs

  • The Max Planck Society, an independent, non-profit association of German Research Institutes funded by the federal and state governments has a research center in Palm Beach County in collaboration with Florida Atlantic University, one of only three foreign Max Planck branches.  Research focuses on imaging biological systems; it is expected to create 1,800 jobs.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture collaborates significantly with Germany in biotechnology, biochemistry, plant genetics sequencing and breeding, and bioenergy.

Using Technology to Strengthen National Defense and Security

  • The Department of Homeland Security has a bilateral agreement with the German government to promote science and technology cooperation on Homeland/Civil Security Matters which covers information sharing, vulnerability/risk assessments, software beta testing, and visualizing and analyzing data for critical infrastructure protection and crisis response.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense works with German suppliers to develop lightweight armor materials for use on vehicles and body armor now being used by soldiers in Afghanistan.  The Department of Defense is also cooperating with German agencies in nanoelectronics, quantum computing, oceanography, and energy-dense materials, as well as lightweight ship design, and unmanned vehicles.

Cooperating in Space and Understanding our Universe

  • The United States and Germany also work directly together on space projects, such as the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite that measures variations in the Earth’s gravity field, and on fundamental science, including dense plasma physics.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Prediction Center and the German Aerospace Center cooperate in the field of space weather.