German government backs ‘electronics you can trust’

FILE PHOTO: German Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek attends a news conference on the 2020 report of the expert commission on research and innovation in Berlin, Germany February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government said on Tuesday it would commit millions of euros in funding to electronics research and development, as part of a wider effort to reduce its reliance on imports of equipment used in its critical infrastructure.

Berlin has resisted U.S. calls to exclude Chinese supplier Huawei from its telecoms networks on national security grounds, but the ensuing debate has raised awareness that its technology shortcomings pose a threat in their own right.

“It’s important for us to maintain our international competitiveness and our sovereignty in these key technologies,” Research Minister Anja Karliczek said, highlighting fields such as healthcare, smart automation and self-driving cars.

Karliczek announced a first award of 25 million euros ($28 million) in funding from her ministry’s “Technology You Can Trust” initiative, for one project working on processors for edge computing and two on artificial intelligence.

She issued a call for applications for a second tranche of 20 million euros. Overall, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has earmarked 400 million euros to back research and development in microelectronics.

Although the sums pale by comparison with the amount China and the United States are ploughing into electronics R&D, the programme symbolises Germany’s preference for pragmatic problem solving over political posturing in the trade arena.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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