An analysis of Germany's competence in printed and plastic electronics was completed at the end of October 2008.
The project is funded by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council and is one of a series of projects considering options for public policy to increase levels of innovation in the UK. The Competence Matrix has been prepared by Cathy J Curling (an independent technical consultant with extensive experience in thin film and plastic electronics, in collaboration with Dr Zella King, of the University of Reading).
The Competence Matrix for Germany comes in two sections, each in a separate file. Section 1 covers universities and institutes, including the Fraunhofer institutes which appear first, and section 2 covers companies. Please read these files with their supporting documentation.
According to Dr Zella King of the University of Reading, a quick glance at the Germany Competence Matrix reveals a number of differences relative to the UK. (For the UK matrix click here)
- Less innovative development, especially in materials, inks, and technology and design, and more activity in process scale-up and prototype development
- Entities covering more thin-film processing steps, and higher levels of activity in back-end integration
- A wider range of applications covered, with more activity in RFID, smart cards and packaging, games, and disposable electronics
- Lower levels of supply of materials and inks, and greater activity in the manufacture and supply of complete systems (in relatively low volumes)
- Fewer small companies, lower dependence on government and venture funding, less use of licensing business models, more established companies.
These preliminary observations support the commonly held view of Germany as a more industrialised nation, with greater levels of government support for coordinated activity across the value chain (through the Fraunhofer institutes for example). The author comments that they also demonstrate the UK's continued leadership in the innovative development of components and materials that fuel the early stage of the plastic electronics value chain.
Top image: Dr Zella King