Germany's ruling Red–Green coalition celebrated a narrow victory in the national election on September 22, and last weekend the Social Democrats and Greens accepted the new coalition agreement. What is in it for research? The agreement promises a continuation of policies that favour biotechnology and boost research. The new government says it aims to:

• Enhance the international competitiveness of public research institutes;

• Intensify co-operation between public and industrial research institutions;

• Translate basic research into medical and biotechnological applications;

• Promote innovation as a means to economic recovery.

This all sounds fine, says Peter Stadler, Managing Director of Artemis Pharmaceuticals and Chairman of the DIB (German Biotechnology Industry Association), but he believes the general principles laid out in the agreement send the wrong signal and are more likely to inhibit, rather than encourage, innovation and competitiveness.

Facing the difficult task of getting the country's ailing economy back on...

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