Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation – The Programme

While to date it has been a question of the development of the New German Länder, the focus of the promotion by the BMBF is now increasingly on the future of this region. With the development programme “Zwanzig20 – Partnerschaft für Innovation” (Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation) the BMBF is supplementing the promotion programmes of “Unternehmen Region” (Entrepreneurial Regions) with a new approach which is geared to national, inter-, trans- and multi-disciplinary cooperations between the partners, and which is committed to openness and transparency.

The guiding idea behind Entrepreneurial Regions is being consistently pursued with Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation: the ability to create innovations has a considerable impact on the development of regions’ economic strength and employment levels. And: innovations come about wherever widely differing partners from the business, scientific and educational spheres come together.

With Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation it is intended to systematically expand and develop the outstanding economic and scientific competencies in the New German Länder for the future through national, inter-disciplinary cooperations. In this respect it is necessary to overcome accepted mind-sets. And at the same time also the limits placed on technologies, scientific disciplines, industries, markets and organisational cultures. Through new forms of networking, through open, transparent and reflective processes in network management with project implementation it is intended to create novel innovation structures. In this regard the focus is on the joint identification of future topics and future essential areas, as well as the corresponding elaboration of concrete, economically viable solutions. Twenty20 is a programme that is part of Entrepreneurial Regions.


Through numerous promotion programmes with varying points of focus the federal government and federal states have contributed to the innovation landscape in the New German Länder since 1989 undergoing a very positive transformation.

There are a number of outstanding protagonists: Facilities in basic research and application-oriented research, excellent universities, numerous innovative companies, and functioning regional alliances with various partners, all of which successfully cooperate with one another. This demonstrates that the focus of the BMBF on an innovation policy oriented to the regions has been successful through its strengthening of regional competences.

As a result of this development and the many years of “preliminary work” it is now possible, and also necessary, to network the existing protagonists beyond their own regions in a cross-border manner, for as a consequence of the economic structures in the New German Länder these lack the critical mass for further growth and the regional value-added chains remain incomplete. Scientists at the new high-tech sites and entrepreneurial pioneers are only gradually forming new networks for strategic cooperations across all borders.

It is this hurdle to innovation which the new promotion program Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation is to tackle. It supplements the current, ongoing regionally-oriented promotion programmes of Entrepreneurial Regions with a new approach geared to national, inter-, trans- and multi-disciplinary cooperations between the partners.

What was sought were consortia which form strategic networks across all the New German Länder with one or more partners from what was West Germany, and also at international level, and which position themselves accordingly. With their multi-disciplinary know-how they are to be in a position to identify a future problem of great societal and economic relevance and offer innovative solutions. The resulting inter-disciplinary and inter-sector alliances are ultimately to create and lead new markets. The visionary concept which unites all the partners and on which all work together, has to be plausible in economic and scientific terms, while at the same time presenting the solution to a problem at a high innovative level and the path towards such a solution.

With Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation the BMBF is, at the same time, also treading new paths: what are sought are open and transparent partnerships and consortia that are open and transparent in both the application process and the promotion phase. “Closed shops” are not desired, but rather consortia which are open to additional partners and which are continually working on the strategy and implementation phase so as to find a solution and a strategy, and which react to changes in the relevant environment.

Here you can find further information on the Twenty20 project consortia and on the Twenty20 forums (in German only). We have also made available downloads on the programme (in German).


Contact Persons

  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research

    • Referat 114 "Regionale Innovationsinitiativen; Neue Länder"
    • Hannoversche Str. 28-30
    • D-10115 Berlin
    • Telephone: +49 30 18 57 - 5273
    • Fax: +49 30 18 57 - 85273
    • E-Mail Address:
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