Cover Advanced Success Monitoring

The backbone of Germany’s economy is its highly innovative small and medium-sized enterprises – the famous “German Mittelstand” which accounts for more than 52 per cent of the overall economic performance of the country. Much admired and envied for its strength during the recent economic and financial crisis, it is of no surprise that is has been the cornerstone of R&D funding activities of several ministries of the Federal Government since decades.

The plethora of existing funding programmes for SMEs regularly calls for the evaluation of their efficiency and effectiveness especially in comparison to each other. This was the challenge we faced when we were commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs for the evaluation of Germany’s “Industrial Collective Research”, a SME research programme which is based on more than hundred regionally networked industry and/or technology sector oriented research associations (so-called “Forschungsvereinigungen”), most of them existing since the 1950s. The overall aim of the evaluation was to document and support the already started fundamental organisational change in the traditional Collective Research system.